April 07, 2015

Catering at your event

Venue, check. Selling tickets, check. Artists/band/special guest, check. Catering … erm. Not to worry organisers. We fully comprehend that the life of an organiser isn\’t as smooth as silk. Like everything else, you’re bombarded with various caterers telling you they’re the best. What we\’ve done is create a filter in your decision making process.

In this blog we share tips in for choosing the right caterer at your next event, as well as identify the different catering options available to you.

How to pick the right right caterer
Know who your target audience is, and what they like. Never lose sight of this in your decision-making. Let’s be fair, you wouldn’t serve Swahili food at a Wild West themed party, would you?

A good recommendation will go a long way in your final decision. Word-of-mouth is an extremely powerful tool and find out more from other people that have used the cater you’d like to use

Conduct a little research as to whether the catering company specialises in large-scale catering or small-scale. You want to make sure the caterers are suitable to handle your requirements.

Over the years, the quality and expectation of food at events has increased. The very last thing you’d like is to serve preserved food to guests … talk of standards dipping. This occurs when large quantities are ordered, but only a fraction is eaten. Question the quality of ingredients.

Contact the local health department and enquire about any violations for your desired catering company.

Once you’ve made the final decision as to the caterer, carefully read all aspects of the contract. Both sides will know what is expected of them.

Make sure you cater for different dietary requirements such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or others. As you know guests can be very picky. Have different flavours/specialties available (Maybe some of the guests prefer Decaf). Go the extra mile, it’ll pay dividends in the long term.

Keep your eyes on the organisational side. Ensure and double check that everything will arrive on time. The catering company won’t get upset with the calls, they’ll probably enjoy it..

And finally taste it, taste it, taste it
“Ooooooo a quiche, that’s nice”. It sounds nice, but does it taste nice? You’ll find catering companies showering you with all types of tantalising canopies and gorgeous meals, however, before any final decision is made, ensure you taste everything to make sure it’s up to scratch. This will be a task you’ll thoroughly enjoy.

Types of services you could offer:
Alternative Service.
Guests are served food around the table. It’s usually two options per course. This option matches will with weddings and larger parties.

Traditional Buffets
Guests are welcome to fill their plates full of as much (or as little) food as they like. While this option isn’t designed for all types of events, it can fit in well with lunches, conferences and corporate hospitality events.

Table Buffets
The table buffet is becoming quite the trend as of late. A table buffet is served on a big platter at the table and guests are welcome to pick and choose as they like. This option is popular in family-based events.

Set Menu
A plated meal delivered to your guests. Ensure prior to service that catering knows of certain guests requirements. Set menus are usually done for corporate events.

A La Carte
Guests are given a menu at the table, and you place your order with food being delivered swiftly. This option is rare for events, unless it’s occurring at a smaller scale at a restaurant.

Mingle over cocktails
This option is a networker’s delight. This option allows guests freedom and not be confined to one area. In recent years this option has become popular at weddings.

Food Stations
Food stations are ideal for parties as well as weddings. Food stations allow guest to pick their food (usually smaller portions from the food section) and simply walk away.

Foot trucks:
Last, but by no means least is the craze that’s taking over the world. Whether its mouth-watering Mexican to succulent seafood, food trucks are a great addition to any event.

Raj Jilka