5 Easy Steps to Corporate Catering Success
If you’re planning a corporate event and need some catering inspiration, we have just the list for you. Our many years of experience in Sydney’s corporate catering scene has taught us everything.
Now, we want to share some of the most important factors with you. Your upcoming AGM, summit, board meeting, launch or party deserves to be an absolute success – and this is your cheat sheet.
1. Have a corporate catering strategy
First, you’ll need to figure out the basics. We’re caterers, so, from our perspective, you need to figure out the who, the what, the when, the where and the how of your food plans. We can be very helpful for you when deciding on the what and the how for your catering. The answers to these questions are essential to understanding what kind of catering will best suit your corporate event.
Other important considerations are:
- Your budget
- The feel you want your catering to achieve
- The space where you will be serving food
- The timeframe over which your guests will be at your event.
Do real research on these points. While you’ll want caterers who have the menu to suit all your guests, you must also find caterers who are versatile enough to work around the unique aspects of your event.
2. Who are your event guests?
Guess what the most important factor is when planning a corporate event? The people, of course!
Ask yourself how many guests you will have and who they are. Are you feeding bean-counters or tradies? Are you feeding them at breakfast, lunch or dinner? Moreover, is the session before lunch likely to run over thus leading to an utterly famished horde descending on your meals station all at once?
As well as thinking about appetite, keep in mind that 1-2% of Australians suffer from some type of food allergies. When choosing a caterer, you need to consider whether they offer vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan and even dairy-free options.
More importantly, you must ensure your guests who have special diets aren’t left with cucumber slices on plain rice crackers. A great caterer can deliver delectable options to meet any dietary requirements.
3. Your venue, your muse
Take a good look at your venue. Let its layout guide you. Will your AGM be held in breakout rooms or in a large open theatre? Will your guests be taking refreshment outdoors? Will they be snacking as they mingle? Will they be sitting at tables? Will they be taking meals-to-go back to their seats? Do you have the space to set tables for a full three-course meal?
Understanding your venue will give you a good idea on what kind of catering will be most appropriate for the event you’re going to hold there.
If you don’t have the space for a sit-down lunch, perhaps hot boxed lunches that guests can eat while standing is a good option. All they’ll need is a noodle box in one hand and fork in the other.
For venues with more space, buffet lunches are the classic option. Let your guests do the hard work of serving!
4. Food factor
This is the fun part: choosing the menu!
The food you serve at your event will have a big impact on your guests and your timetable. Your food should be tasty and also suit the schedule.
Lunches should be satisfying but not heavy. Finger food should be tantalising and fuss-free and yet substantial enough to suit the time of dining. A spicy and aromatic dish that might be fine at end-of-day drinks won’t be a great choice at an early-morning meet-and-greet.
Once you’ve sorted out your rules, you can get creative. How about a Mexican menu or a burger stand or a DIY meal station?
The right caterers will be able to bend and twist their menus to fit your ideas too. It is part of their job to create the atmosphere your event requires.
5. Cheap catering tastes like it
Every event budget is too small. That’s a given. However, catering really is one of those times where you get what you pay for. There are two secrets here:
- Great food doesn’t cost a great deal, but…
- Cheap food is never great food.
No, not everything has to be caviar and saffron. Actually, our view is that luxury ingredients can sometimes be pointless. A good chef can make magic out of basic ingredients. Flavour comes from kitchen skill, not ingredient price tag.
So, while price is important when choosing a caterer, pay more attention to what you’re actually getting for your spend. If you’re serious about serving your guests high-quality food, look at the track record, reviews and experience of the caterers you’re considering.
Successfully sorting out the corporate catering at your next event comes down to finding a team that impresses both you – in terms of flexibility, reliability and price – and your guests – in terms of an appetising menu, great service and sufficient volume.
If you resolve the five key aspects in this cheat sheet, you are well on your way to doing just that.