There are lots of things that make a business event great, from expert speakers and important celebrations to useful resources, but one of the biggest things to get people talking will be your catering. It might seem unimportant in the grand scheme of things but when you get it right, it can really set the tone for your event and help to make a good impression.
To make sure your next business event is a hit, we have put together our top tips on how to handle your catering.
1. Be prepared
We are sure you are planning well in advance for your business event, and your catering will need just as much thought. You need to carefully consider the numbers that you are expecting and whether there are any special dietary requirements that you need to take into consideration.
When it comes to getting the food ready, do as much preparation as you can in advance to avoid any unnecessary stress on the day, when you will have plenty of other things to worry about. Look at what foods can be prepared in advance, such as meats that need marinating or desserts that can be kept in the fridge.
2. Mix hot and cold
Trying to offer everything hot can be difficult at a busy event, so take the stress out of the preparation by offering a mixture of both hot and cold food. This minimises what you need to heat up and stops you worrying about things going cold or drying out once they have been served.
3. Have plenty of hot water
Hot drinks are likely to be in heavy demand during the day, which means you will need a constant source of hot water. A commercial water boiler can be a great way to make sure you always have hot water whether you are in a board room, church hall or the middle of a field. It will continually heat the water so that you have it for tea and coffee as well as any recipes that might need it and the all important washing up.
4. Create a menu
When you are planning your business event, it is a good idea to create a menu in advance to make sure that your food is appropriate and you have covered all of your bases. If you are providing a formal dinner then make sure that there are several appetisers followed by a salad or soup, then a main with a choice of side dishes and a dessert. For a lunch you can follow a similar theme but in a slimmed down version, or a grab and go menu that keeps the focus on business by simply offering things such as sandwiches and wraps. A popular new trend is the corporate breakfast, which typically includes a range of pastries, a main breakfast dish and some smaller plates.
You should also think about the type of people attending and how they will experience the event. A business meeting needs to be something that is easy to eat with minimal mess. Try including some brain boosting food like fruit and salad to help people get the most from the meeting. At a conference, make sure there is a wide variety of sweet and savoury foods to cater for range of different people. If you are planning a trade show, then choose foods that can be eaten on the move, such as bite-sized appetisers.
5. Hot drinks
Almost every guest at your event is likely to want tea, coffee or hot chocolate at some point, so a table top hot drinks machine can be invaluable. These machines offer a wide range of high quality drinks that guests can make for themselves, saving you spending all your time making drinks. The amount of favourite coffees and teas that are on offer means that everyone will be able to find something that they love whilst saving a lot of time.
6. Pick a theme
It can often be a good idea to pick a theme for your food that ties in with your event. Look at whether it should be dishes from a particular part of the world, something upmarket and sophisticated or something that matches your brand. If you have a focus on being green and sustainable then make sure your food is from organic, sustainable sources and not served using disposable plastic. If the event is formal, then invest in wine glasses and not plastic cups.
7. Hire a professional
If food is not your thing, then don’t be afraid to hire in the professionals to cater your event for you. This will make sure that everything goes smoothly and they will not only take care of the cooking but also the serving and the cleaning up afterwards. This can be a good way to ensure that you serve up food of a suitable quality and takes a lot of the stress out of the day for you. Professional caterers could offer a sit down meal, a buffet or possibly even food trucks offering street food and sandwiches around the event. This can be a more expensive option, but it is often worth it to avoid the pitfalls of catering the event yourself.
8. Looks matter
Your food needs to taste great, but it also needs to look good. We eat with our eyes so make sure everything is well presented in order to make a good impression. The way you plate and style your food can also make it look a lot more luxurious and expensive that it really is.
Whilst your event needs to be remembered for many things, you don’t want it to be for a lack of food or poor food. Your catering can set the tone for your whole event and help to relax your guests and maybe even give them a whole new experience. Follow these tips and you will make sure that your event remains a talking point for a long time to come.