Top 10 Menu Catering Tips

When planning an event, menu development is an essential part of your to-do list. It is critical to communicate with your catering company at all times and take into consideration your budget, venue and the dietary restrictions of your guests when choosing your menu. Here are some quick tips and ideas for selecting a fabulous menu, while still staying within your budget and ensuring your guests are happy.

  1. It is important that you know who your guests are. For instance, you wouldn’t want to feature several meat items for a guest list that predominantly features vegetarians. Your menu should reflect the event you’re planning as well.  If you’re organising catering for an office cocktail event, finger food and easy to eat food should be the focus of the catering menu.
  2. It is critical that you speak with guests to find out if they have any special needs, such as food allergies or religious requirements. Inform your catering company, so that they can plan to address these needs prior to the actual event.
  3. Remember, it is always necessary to provide your guests with choices. For instance, provide two or three entree options that cover vegetarian, non vegetarian and a fish option. Another great way to provide guests with choices is to provide a variety of condiments and salad dressing options (low-fat options for the calorie conscious), so that guests can flavour their meal according to their palate.
  4. Speak with your caterer and discuss locally available produce and ask for ways to incorporate this into your menu. Using fresh, seasonal produce is so much better than frozen food and will really vamp up your event.
  5. Setup a  tasting appointment with your catering company.  A tasting will give you the chance to try out dishes that you’re not too sure about, before actually ordering it. It also gives the caterer the chance to get your feedback on a particular dish, sauce or recipe and refine it to meet your needs.
  6. Your guest list and event type should dictate how your caterer serves the selected menu. For quick conference lunches or a brainstorming session, boxed meals are a fast and easy option that only requires 30 minutes.  Catering companies advise clients to choose plated meals, when time is not a factor as they usually take up to one or two hours from start to finish.
  7. If you prefer to serve your meal as a buffet, rule of thumb is that if your guest list exceeds fifty, your caterer should set up duplicate buffet tables.
  8. Your table linen and decorations should complement your menu. If you have opted for an Asian themed menu, Chinese lanterns can be used as centerpieces.
  9. Whether you opt to serve plated, buffet or boxed meals for your event, remember that your catered meal should be both aesthetically pleasing, as well as fragrant. Speak with your caterer regarding the presentation of the food and discuss ways to vamp up even a simple boxed lunch with food placement etc.
  10. Keep it simple! Try not to insist on overly complicated food fads like foam decoration. What works for a small group of five, may not always translate well for a crowd of 200.
Posted by Jessica on September 18, 2012 at 02:35PM