Corporate Event Catering: 7 Tips About How to Plan Catering for a Large Event
Updated: Oct 6, 2022
By 2028, the events industry in America is expected to be worth $1552.9 billion, so it's fair to say that we like a good party. Whether you organize a corporate event, wedding, or private party, you want your event to go off without a hitch. This is why people start event planning months or even years in advance!
However, to succeed, you need to cover all of your bases thoroughly, and organizing your catering well is essential. Even before you've considered your menu, more than 56 million people across the country have special dietary requirements. So this can feel like an overwhelming task.
This is why getting help from a seasoned professional is essential. Well, you're in the right place! Read on to find out our top seven pieces of advice about corporate event catering and planning catering for a significant event.
1. Get a Grip on Your Numbers
Rule 101 of how to cater to a large group is to nail down your numbers as soon as possible. A caterer will need to know these before they can give you an accurate quote. So make sure you create a guest list and request RSVPs as soon as possible.
Once you have heard back from everyone, add a contingency of five to ten guests. Of course, this depends on your event's size and the budget you're working with. But it means you'll have wiggle-room for last-minute attendees.
2. Set Your Budget Early
Knowing your budget is also essential as this will dictate the types of menus that you can go for. Most caters will charge per head but may offer a discount on bigger groups.
Of course, the critical piece of catering advice for a large group is that you can save money by choosing a cheaper menu. For example, vegetarian options will always be more affordable than red meat or fish at a wedding.
3. Create a Schedule for the Day
Not all of our tips for corporate event catering are about the food itself. Knowing the schedule for your event is also key, as your caterer will need to work around this.
If you have set times for speakers or activities throughout the day, you want your food to fit with this. So nibbles should be ready to serve once the speakers have finished, and dinner will come out after your drink's reception, for example.
4. Choose Between a Buffet or Table Service
When it comes to serving a large group of people, the big question is: do you go for a buffet or table service? This will depend a lot on your budget as a buffet is much cheaper than table service.
However, with a large group, this can result in very long queues and impatient guests. A good middle ground is to serve each main and then provide the sides on warm dishes along with your tables. This makes it easier for your chefs, your wait staff, and your guests.
5. Take a Look at Your Menu Options
Your menu choice is critical for your event, and your caterer will offer you a range of different options. The right one for you depends on your budget and the type of event that you are throwing.
For example, dinner menus tend to offer more courses than lunch or breakfast menus. They will also provide a range of different side dish options and desserts. It's up to you to decide how much your guests will need to eat.
You should also use this opportunity to discuss options for canapes if you are having a drinks reception.
6. Check on Dietary Restrictions
Checking on dietary restrictions is an absolute must-do for your guests' comfort and safety. You should include this on your invitations and request details with each RSVP.
It's also a good idea to reply to the RSVP double-checking if a guest hasn't mentioned requirements at all, as some people forget to share theirs. This will avoid drama on the day!
When you speak to your caterer, make sure you ask about their deadlines for knowing dietary requirements. This will affect the amount of food they order, so they will need to know in plenty of time.
All quality caterers should be able to accommodate your guests' dietary requirements. However, it is worth checking whether or not this will add to the cost of the meal.
7. Opt for Plenty
The last thing you want is to throw an event and have people walking away from their tables feeling hungry. If alcohol is in the mix as well, then this could be a recipe for disaster!
Because of this, it's a good idea to opt for more food rather than less if your budget will manage it. Trust your caterer's judgment and experience on how much people tend to eat at events. If you have paid them to cater to 400 guests, all 400 people should leave the table feeling satisfied.
If you are working with a tight budget, offering your guests multiple courses and expensive mains might be a challenge. In this case, bulking up on side dishes is the perfect solution. These will fill your guests up and are much cheaper than mains or additional courses.
Sort Out Your Corporate Event Catering Today
There are plenty of things to consider when it comes to organizing a wedding, party, and corporate event catering. Keep these top tips in mind, and you can't go wrong!
Are you ready to book a catering company for your event? Then get in touch today to speak to a member of our team. We're here to help!