One of the greatest things about working in the catering industry is the variety of your day-to-day life. Now we don’t necessarily mean this in a workload sense, because washing dishes, setting tables and plating up food – those can all become rather routine, and like the majority of routines, a little laborious.
The variety, the thing that causes so many people’s love for catering, comes in the form of the people you meet and the places you see. When you’re an off-premises catering company, you travel from venue to venue and deliver different food choices and drinks selections almost every day. There are never quite two events the same. Though the fields in which those events take place are always similar.
What fields would those be? We hear you ask. Well, you came to the right place, because you’re about to find out.
Social Events And Gatherings
This is perhaps the widest market in catering, and is without a doubt the one that presents the most opportunity. There’ll never be a time in the human lifespan in which social events aren’t tied in with good food and flowing drinks. It’s just the way we humans are, the way we always have been.
Things that fall under this category vary from wedding receptions and birthday parties, to graduation ceremonies and bar mitzvahs. Social events will always be there for caterers, and one thing’s for sure, where there is a social event, there will always be a need for good food.
Who doesn’t love an exciting plate of food to spice up a boring meeting? Corporate catering is becoming more and more popular nowadays and this is primarily because of increased workloads, and subsequently, less time for preparing food.
The main duties for the caterer here are to prepare breakfast and lunch platters, and get them to the hungry office workers before they chew their fingers off mid meeting. It is convenience that benefits the client in this context, which is exactly why corporate catering will continue to multiply steadily over the years.
These can be very similar to the types of catering that take place within social events, only the context of the duties can vary a little. Think of cultural catering taking place in more public domains as opposed to privately-organized gatherings.
Things like opera and playhouses, where more cultured things are taking place. Because of the venue, the menu tends to change to a more formal sort of vibe, with increases in the quality and finesse of the dishes.
That Covers The Bases
Consider yourself clued up now, and use this information wisely if you are considering breaking into the catering industry. It’s definitely a market that is growing at an impressive rate, and will likely continue at a strong pace indefinitely.
It’s like we said, if it’s anything to do with food, there’ll never be a shortage of business opportunities. People are literally obsessed with food, and that’s why, as a good caterer, you should be too!
So you’re planning for that big event and have most of the things on your list covered. You have your occasion, you have your venue and you have your guest list – the next thing to get sorted is your catering service.
There are many things to consider when choosing the perfect caterer for your event (you can check out some ways to do find the right caterer in this article – link to other article I wrote here) and you have to make use of what information you already have. That being said, there are also many mistakes you can make when choosing a catering company too, and mistakes you cannot be doing with, not when planning the event of your dreams.
Luckily for you though, we’re here to give you some guidance on the matter, and have selected three potential pitfalls so you can avoid these mistakes when making your selection. Get your notepad and pen out, it’s time to take some notes.
1: Overdoing The Food Choices
Variety is the spice of life, as they say, but in circumstances such as at a social event, variety can also be your gravest enemy.
There is a limit as far as menu variety goes, and that limit tends to fall somewhere between ‘it’s a tough choice’ and ‘pass me page twenty-three of the menu.’ There’s nothing quite worse than having too many options, sometimes it’s less tragic to not have enough. Your guests should feel as though they have a nice wide-range of choices, but shouldn’t be swarmed with thirty different options and combinations.
Keep things fresh but don’t go crazy. Have a look at some of our sample menus.
2: Going Way Over Your Budget
Your budget should always have a little leeway, but when you start creeping over it by more than a couple hundred dollars you’re asking for trouble.
One way to avoid this is to select your caterer in the early stages of your event planning. Beside your venue and guest list, your caterer is the next most important thing, so making sure you leave room in your budget to hire the perfect caterer is imperative.
3: Failing To Provide Enough Food
This all ties in with your budgeting and is just as important as anything else.
If your guests are left unfed, it doesn’t matter how glorious the rest of the event is, it’ll end up being a total disaster. No guest wants to go to an event where there isn’t enough food for them all. This is the 21st century, there’s no longer room for sharing!
Make sure you choose enough food from your caterer and if it’s an all-day event, make sure there are regular snack intervals and enough finger-food for everybody. There’s nothing worse than a bunch of hungry guests, especially if there’s alcohol on the go too…
Now You Know
There’s no need to fret anymore, you now know of three things that you must absolutely avoid, so essentially, you’re three things smarter than you were five minutes ago. Of course, there are many other things to avoid when selecting your caterer, but we don’t want to reveal all of the possible places you could go wrong, do we? What would be the fun in that?
When it comes to those big events in life – wedding parties, christenings, birthdays – you always want to get everything just right. More than that in fact. Most of the time you want things to be more than just right, you want them to be perfect, and as the organizer of such gatherings, you see anything less as a huge failure.
One of the most crucial factors in getting these types of events right is the food, because we humans are obsessed with food. Think about it, what are the main two things that feature at any sort of social gathering? Yep, that’s right, food and alcohol. And because they’re so important, getting them right can mean the difference between an average night and an unforgettable night.
One way to guarantee that these factors are perfect is to hire a professional catering company. Not just any old company though, you must choose the company that is best suited to your type of event. Sound difficult? Don’t worry. Just keep reading and take some notes, here’s what you need to think about.
1: Can They Cater Your Type Of Event?
Of course they can on a physical scale, but will they be perfect for it? That’s what we’re shooting for here isn’t it?
Much like any sort of profession, there are caterers out there who are best suited to specific events and formalities. Some might soar in wedding parties and high-class birthdays, while others might be experts at good, old-fashioned BBQs and finger-food. So it’s best to do some digging. Give some caterers a call, find out what they’re best at and base your final decision on a company who is best suited to your event.
2: Are They Willing To Let You Sample Things First?
A sure-fire sign of a caterer that isn’t confident in their food is a caterer who doesn’t let you try before you buy. What are they hiding? Why are they so against people tasting their food before booking their services?
It all comes down to confidence in their product. If they aren’t willing to let you sample at least a couple of things from their menu, what does that tell you about their menu? You want a caterer who brings you great-tasting food and a refreshing selection of drinks – these things are important, remember?
3: Do They Have A Bunch Of Great Reviews?
Now, we always advise against taking online reviews as gospel, but they can shed some light on things.
A better way still is to try and get in touch with some previous customers and talk to them about how their experience went. It’s always good to get in touch with people who have actually used the service because online reviews could be fabricated or even fictitious altogether. If your caterer has a flawless client satisfaction rate that they can back up through actual means, you’re on to a winner – and from there it’s time for dinner!
A Few Of Many
Those were just a few of the many things to consider when choosing your caterer, so use the three things mentioned in this list and also construct a list of your own, this way you’ll have your best chances of choosing the right caterer for you. Perfecting your event is what matters most here, and selecting the right caterer is one substantial step towards your utopia.
Catering comes in many different styles and formats, and of course, each different style is appropriate for different sorts of gatherings and events.
Types of catering, meaning the types of foods and drinks that are served and in what quantities, and also decorations, layouts and inclusions, can be more structurally complex than people first think, and that is the exact reason behind us creating this list.
So here you have it, four different types of catering and what sorts of thing to expect with them.
We’ve all been there, gathered in the meeting room or in a conference or just in the office block in general, thinking that we could really use some nice finger food and a selection of tasty drinks right about now. Well, this is where corporate catering comes in.
The benefits of having food taken care of for you are many. With having food delivered to the workplace, it takes the thought of it off your mind, leaving you to focus on the more important tasks at hand and allowing you more time to work.
Popular food types in this sort of catering include: box lunches, a selection of traditional buffets and continental breakfasts – sounds tasty!
Basically a more laidback, fun version of the above form of catering. Catering for social events places a little less stress on speed and ease, and a little more on entertainment and the fun-factor of the venue. Things that wouldn’t quite go down to well in an office environment. At least not if you actually wanted to get some work done…
Whether it is a BBQ, a birthday, a christening – whatever the occasion: expect balloons, appetizers, good food and of course good drinks, with your very own bartender. Fancy!
This is catering on a whole new level, and should not be handled by anyone other than the pros.
In this generation, and in most generations before, wherever there are a lot of people, there’s also a lot of food. Catering of this type tends to cover major sporting events and public gatherings like parades or carnivals.
Expect burger stand foods: burgers, hotdogs, bacon cheese fries, ice cream, donuts – pretty much anything delicious you can think of, it’ll all be there.
Wedding After Parties
A spin of finesse comes into play where wedding catering is concerned.
The last thing a bride or groom wants is a sloppy service at their wedding, which is why catering companies work very hard alongside them and with their direct instructions, in order to create the day of their dreams.
From the drinks menu and the cake, all the way down to the decorations and what type of small fruit the dessert will be topped with – all of these things must be considered when catering for a wedding. And that’s not even the half of it!
Consider Yourself Educated
Now that you’ve had the rundown of what the different types of catering are and what they cover, you can select what sorts of things you’ll need with more confidence. So you can go on positively, and select the type of catering you need to make the amazing event you’re planning even more amazing.
One of the first items on a to-do list of planning a big event like a wedding is to pick the venue. It needs to suit your style, accommodate the number of anticipated guests, and can have a significant impact on the overall feel of your special day.
Here are some things to look for when choosing your venue:
This may be obvious, but if you know you’re going to have 200 guests and fall in love with a space that can only hold 60, it’s likely not going to work. You can always ask the venue if they have alternate spaces on site but don’t waste your time, and then get disappointed, visiting a space that literally won’t fit your needs. And if you are hosting a smaller soiree, a large event space will seem too empty. You don’t need to know exact numbers before you book, but having a rough idea (50? 150? 300?) will help you narrow your options down.
Many people have a pretty tight budget and wedding costs add up quicker than you’d like to think! Like with size, cost is a factor that can help you rule out certain venues immediately. How much of your budget is allocated to the venue is ultimately up to you. Just keep in mind if you do go over-budget here, you might have to cut costs somewhere else. According to The Knot, you can expect your reception costs (venue, food, drinks, etc.) to account for around 50% of your total budget.
Have your heart set on a summer wedding? Be prepared for many venues to book up quickly and far in advance! This is especially true for the popular summer “wedding season”. If you’re flexible with your dates, you’ll have more options. If you are visiting the venue during a season other than the one you plan to get married in, make sure you ask to see pictures of the space in your anticipated season. If your wedding is during a hot or cold time of year, make sure you ask about heating or air conditioning!
If you envision a romantic traditional wedding ceremony and reception, you might be more attracted to a venue like a vineyard or golf course. You’ll probably steer clear of a modern industrial-style space!
Accommodation & Transportation
Are you getting married in a rustic barn in the countryside? Sounds lovely, but make sure your guests have access to convenient accommodations and transportation! If your venue is difficult to access or out of the way for most people, you can offer a shuttle bus. Your guests will be partying and you want to make sure they get home or to the hotel safely! Hotels often offer deals for booking blocks of rooms designated for your guests so call around to nearby hotels. Other options include bed and breakfasts or see if local guests are willing to take in out of towners!
The first thing you need to find out is whether the venue is full-service or not. Either way, some venues require you use certain vendors such as caterers and rental companies. This doesn’t give you the flexibility to shop around. Also consider the style of service – family style, plated, buffet?