From weddings and parties to corporate meetings and conferences, catering is an important part of event planning. Finding the right catering option can help make your event a big success. Whether you need full service event catering or buffet tables, the following tips can help you tackle this part of event planning.
Consider In-House Catering vs. Outside Catering Service
Some event venues offer in-house catering, while other venues require you to hire your own catering service. Hiring a catering service for your event means you can explore a wider range of options, such as custom menus or menus that follow dietary restrictions. This might be helpful if an event venue’s in-house catering has limited options available. However, in-house catering can be a more convenient option. When you use a venue’s in-house catering, you don’t have to worry about finding outside caterers for your event. In-house caterers are already familiar with the venue’s setup and other details as well, which can make event catering planning go more smoothly.
Choose the Right Service Level
When you’re exploring options for catering, make sure the caterer you choose offers the level of service you need. For a formal or upscale event for a few hundred guests, you might choose full-service catering, which includes having servers bring plates of food out to guests while they’re seated. For a more casual event, you might choose to have buffet tables set up, which allows guests to fill their own plates with food.
Explore Menu Options
One of the most important tasks on your catering checklist should be finding the right menu options. This depends on different factors, such as the time of day your event takes place and whether it’s formal or informal. For example, your catering needs might include a full-course meal along with appetizers served beforehand and desserts served afterwards for an evening event. Afternoon events might require a lighter lunch menu with fewer meal options and more appetizers. Morning events might require a breakfast or brunch menu.
Consider a Custom Menu for Dietary Restrictions
If your event needs to accommodate guests with dietary restrictions, make sure you find a caterer who offers custom menus with these options. For example, you might look for a catering service that includes gluten-free options, vegetarian options, or other options that accommodate those with food allergies, such as egg or dairy allergies. Providing menu options for those with dietary restrictions is a thoughtful way to ensure all guests are able to enjoy the foods served at your event.
Plan for Multi-Day Events or Multi-Room Usage
If your event takes place over a few or more days or involves setting up multiple rooms, planning the menu can be a bit more challenging. Look for event catering options that offer a variety of menu items. This allows you to switch up the menu on each day for multi-day events or set up different kinds of foods in multiple meeting spaces or rooms.