Catering for Events
Catering at an event is a very important part of the occasion, we work with local caterers, so we know what caterers are suitable for the different event requirements.
Hotel venues have an executive chef and a banquet department to make life easy for clients. Unique venues mostly do not have on site catering services, so there is additional work to carry out in hiring caterers. As event planners, we are always ready to book the perfect venue and call on our professional network to execute the event in style.
Before you hire a caterer or catering company to work the event, it’s helpful to have some initial ideas about the catering menu.
It’s crucial to establish a good balance with your menu from the beginning. You can choose to go down the route of ordering canapes/finger food or arrange for a full sit-down meal, or even a Farmer’s Market style which is more popular now with events. It’s also important to remember that you are feeding a diverse group of people, so most people like to recognise what they are eating. This doesn’t mean everyone has to be served plain chicken but be cautious with something very exotic.
The season of the event also matters, and event planners frequently hold discussions about future events during a completely different season. For example, you may be discussing your menu during winter, the actual event could be held in June.
Perhaps you already have ideas for the catering menu in mind, then the next step is to hire a catering company for your event. We recommend you talk to your Event Planner about what type of caterer is best for your type of event. They have experience with crowds and foods that work best or are a favourite and know what to execute best.
Catering pictures will give you a good sense of the caterer’s aesthetic. Photos of past events can give you an insight into how their events are generally set up and the finishing touches. Ask yourself: is it the style you would like for your event?
Lastly, viewing pictures of a caterer’s past work is also a great way to explain to the caterer what you like with references. Ask yourself: what would you like to see repeated at your event, and what you would like to leave out?
When it comes to signing off on your catering proposal, it’s important to review and understand every detail.
- Is your proposal all-inclusive of everything you asked for?
- Is tax included?
- Will the price vary per person if your guest count goes up or down?
- How does the service charge for labour work?
- What other costs are there, equipment hire etc?
When you compare proposals from one caterer to another, it is important you are comparing apples to apples and understand all your costs associated with the proposed event.
Many venues have a preferred vendors list, which will likely include caterers for those venues that do not offer catering services. You may be required to work with one of the listed caterers, but even if you aren’t, it can be to your advantage. If you use someone on that list, they will be familiar with your event venues and all that goes with it from the rules to room set-up. You might have fewer mishaps on the day of your event. Preferred vendors may also have other privileges that they can pass on to you. Caterers who are not familiar with a venue may be cheaper at first glance, but you may have post-event charges from your venue because the caterer didn’t remove the trash as required, or some other penalty for not understanding the venue policies.
Good caterers will work with you on special requirements. Great caterers anticipate them. Either way, be sure to ask your caterer how they handle special requirements like dietary restrictions, on-site changes, and late additions. Even the best planners are usually faced with at least one on-site surprise. Ask yourself: will your caterer be able to pull together a gluten-free request? If the welcome speech goes 15 minutes late, will the kitchen be able to roll with a new timeline? Flexibility and a can-do attitude from everyone involved in an event is crucial.
Most times the person with whom you are working with during the sales and planning processes will not be your primary contact on the day of the event. If you want to make changes or have questions that day, it is important to know who to contact.
Catering is always one of the main parts for any event so choose carefully.
If you’d like to learn more, why not contact us today to start planning and catering for your next event.