When hosting an event, catering can be one of the most important parts of the planning process. Food is usually enjoyed around others, during celebration, and it tends to spark great conversation. So, choosing event catering services can be a very important task. However, choosing the best event catering provider doesn’t have to be difficult.
We have put together six steps for you to follow to ensure you will make the best decision with your event catering. These steps will help you feel secure and confident in your decision.
Catering can be one of the biggest costs of any event, apart from the venue. Your budget should be the very first thing to consider, as it will change the rest of your decisions revolving your event catering. Think about what you get in return for hosting the event, and set your budget accordingly. Whether this is a great business deal or just happy memories, think about how much the catering is worth to you. Once you have set a realistic budget, you are ready to move onto step two.
The venue you are having your event at will have a large impact on your event catering. Does your venue have a kitchen? If not, your food will probably need to be delivered. How much room does your venue have? Different catering styles require different amounts of room, so this is something to be aware of. If you have not seen the venue, making a quick call to ask for room dimensions will get you all of the information you need. Although, it might be a good idea to request a tour of the event space.
The catering style you choose should match how formal your event will be. If you are hosting a seminar for employees at your company, you won’t be required to have formal catering. However, if you are hosting a gala, you will need your catering to be very formal, with servers and passed appetizers. Making sure your event catering matches how formal the event and venue are is one of the most important things to consider.
If you are struggling to evaluate how formal your event will be, think about what people will be wearing. Thinking about the dress code is an easy trick to know how formal your event will be. Will people be spending hundreds of dollars on their attire? If so, you are likely hosting a formal event. Are people going to be wearing their everyday, casual clothing? Then, your event will probably be on the casual end of the spectrum.
Now that you know how formal your event will be, you are prepared to make a decision on catering style. Perhaps the least formal event catering is having a restaurant deliver food to your event location. This option is ideal for work meetings, casual baby showers, and other small casual get-togethers. If you know your event is too formal for this catering style, you will need to consider other options.
Buffet catering is another catering style that is typically used for more casual events. However, buffet catering can be dressed up through the use of decorations and personalization. It is a great option for very large events where you are wanting to avoid having to pay for wait staff. Buffets can also be used for casual and semi-formal weddings, as they are a great way to save money. If your event will be more casual or semi-formal, you may want to consider having a buffet for your event catering.
For galas, balls, and very formal weddings, most people do not prefer buffet-style catering. This is because these events are very formal, with cocktail hours and hors d’oeuvres. They also typically have passed appetizers, where servers walk around with trays and offer up-scale snack options to guests. So, if you are hosting a formal event, you should consider a plated catering style or a cocktail reception catering style for shorter events. Keep in mind that these catering styles are usually more expensive, so make sure they fit your budget before requesting their services.
Next, you must choose your food options for the evening. Again, this will depend on how formal your event is and your budget. As you can guess, steaks and lobster are appropriate for formal events and venues, while pasta dishes and casseroles are appropriate for semi-formal events. The more food options you have, the more expensive your event catering will be. With that being said, many people recommend asking guests what their dietary restrictions are before deciding on food.
Accommodating any food allergies or dietary restrictions your guests have can potentially save you money. This is because you will know exactly what to ask your caterer to make and no food will go to waste. To be safe you may want to consider offering one vegetarian option, and perhaps even a vegan option. Another common food allergy and intolerance is gluten. To avoid this, try to offer a gluten-free option if possible.
Your caterer will ask you how many guests you plan to serve at your event when you initially speak to them about their services. A great way to estimate this is to ask your guests to RSVP to the event a few weeks in advance. This gives your caterer plenty of time to prepare for the number of people who will be eating. Always round up and plan for more people to show than who RSVP’d. This is to ensure there is plenty of food for everyone, and no one will be left without food.
We hope the steps above help you with planning your event. Remember, the best event catering is one that will fit your budget and is just as formal as your event is. When you follow the steps above, you should have no problem deciding on the perfect catering for your event.