Whether you do event planning as a profession or are holding an event for the first time, there are a few pointers that you need to address before hiring the right caterers to provide the food and service.
Some is common sense, but it is no surprise on how people leave everything to others hoping that their project will run smoothly on the day. There are many responsibilities one has to take on board, and one, is to get the right team around them to pull off a successful event.
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Here are a few tips:
1. What is your budget?
Once you know how much money you can spend on the event it gives you a better picture of what you can or cannot afford when it comes to the catering, decorations, entertainment and so forth. A small budget does not necessarily mean you have to compromise and have a less formal event.
2. What is the occasion for the event
Are you planning a wedding reception, office party or a cocktail drinks and dinner with friends? Is it a formal or a casual party? Sometimes you can have a formal friends’ get together or a theme based wedding ceremony. There is no hard or fast rule to how your guests should dress for the occasion, time of day and whom you are inviting should give you a good idea of whether to have a formal sit down meal or a canape style catering.
3. When will you be having the event and where?
Look at the time of day and the season in which you will be holding this event. If it is a mid day party then a lunch will need to be supplied to your guests and likewise, if it is an early afternoon start to the event then a drinks, canapes and snacks type of catering would go down well with your guests. Also, the season in which you hold the event will determine whether you could have an outdoor event or look into supplying extra heating.
4. Are there any special dietary requirements or specific allergies to foods that any of your guests may have
This is very important and all too often can be completely over ridden. Why? Because if you don’t have any allergies yourself than its not something that would cross your mind when thinking of the catering. A good catering company will ask about this in which case you can then look into it with the guests you are planning to invite.
5. What time do you want the food to be served?
You must give enough time from the start of the event until the serving of the food so that there is a wide time frame for your guests to arrive in. Not everyone comes on time, especially, for a social event and therefore, some time to mingle and have drinks during this time is a good way of meeting with the guests and making them feel welcome.
6. What type of food do you want at your event?
There are many different ways to entertain guests, from buffet style meals to a full service sit down multiple course meal. Depending on what time of day and the formality of the occasion will give you a clearer picture of what you would like to serve. If you are on a tight budget then a buffet may be the ideal solution so that you can cut down on the number of staff required to serve the meals. Also, the space within which you are holding the event will also give you an indication of whether you can cater for a lavish, sit down meal.
7. What beverages do you want to have
From teas and coffees to wines and spirits the choice is entirely yours. An afternoon children’s party is not going to be requiring alcohol instead, soft drinks and juices type of beverages and maybe coffee, tea or hot chocolate for the parents.
8. Will you need to hire cutlery, glassware, plastic plates, tablecloths, napkins etc.
Talk with your catering company and see how much they will be providing and what you will need to get from your end.
9. When choosing a catering company, look at their terms and conditions
This is very important because you don’t want to have any hiccups on the day of your event.
- As planning an event can take months, it is important for you to know when the deadlines are for providing the guest numbers and menu selections.
- Look into what types of beers and wines they have and whether they have a corkage fee.
- How are they going to set up the room? At which part of the room will they have their buffet tables etc?
- Will you be required to pay a deposit and what is their procedure in case of cancellation.
- Do they have a portfolio, review or testimonials showing their credibility? Or do they have any other customer satisfaction guarantees?
- How far are they willing to travel? There’s no point hiring a catering company and then realising they can’t travel with the food to your event!
- Will they pick up plates and clear up after, and how long will they require to do this? If you have a set time frame for hiring the venue then you must allocate time after the guests have left for the catering company to pack up unless you don’t mind them doing it while your guests are still in the midst of having a good time.
Once you have a clearer vision of what it is you want for your event, and what type of catering you wish to have, then approach the right catering company from what you have researched and let them know what it is you want for your event.
This way the catering company will have a head start in knowing exactly how to cater a bespoke service and be able to provide you with the best produce and service. Many a times the catering company can advise you or suggest a dish or something else that you would not normally have thought of. So, having a good working relation and rapport with your caterers will be the most important thing you can do in achieving a successful event.
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