Catering Tips for a Successful Corporate Event

Food plays an essential role in bringing people together. People remember the food, so we want the menu to make a grand impression on our guests. Corporate event catering can be a monumental undertaking, even for a small group; there are several details to factor in to ensure guests enjoy their meal.

Here are some catering tips to impress your guests at your next corporate event.

Proper headcount

Get the amount of people as soon as possible. The caterer will need to know the exact numbers before giving you an accurate quote. Request RSVPs from your guest list at the earliest, once you know the number of guests, plus a buffer of five to ten guests to squeeze in at the last moment. Better to overestimate your headcount. If numbers increase at the last minute, caterers or event planners reserve the right to serve guests with a replacement menu option.

Set a budget

Knowing how much your company can spend on an event is important before planning any event. The choice of venue, food, beverages, decorations, etc., depends on your budget.

Most caterers charge per head but usually offer discounts for bigger groups. Consider vegan options to delight your guests. Event planners can help you budget and plan for everything you need.

Meeting theme

Is it a team-building event? Fundraiser, networking event, company retreat, or holiday party?
Knowing what you want to convey to the guests can help you better plan and execute your event.

Have a clear schedule 

Corporate events are usually day-long events with many speakers and presentations. Discuss with the caterers to plan the food service around the day’s schedule. It’s important to plan when breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in-between beverages must be served. Opt for buffet-style for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and wait-staff for serving drinks and other refreshments.

Buffet or wait staff service

Depending on the number of guests expected for the event, you can choose a buffet or wait-staff service. Setting food tables and wait-staff to move around for a larger gathering may be too much work. In such a case, a buffet counter that displays food spread would be inviting and accessible. A buffet dinner offers a more casual and laid-back experience. It makes socializing easy, and you do not have to assign seats for your guests, but long lines and difficulty moving around are drawbacks. If the event’s focus is on the presenters, the full-service wait staff will keep the attendees seated, saving time. A buffet will allow space for socializing if it’s a networking event. Both catering styles have benefits and disadvantages; choose the option that will work best with your event.

Select a menu

Curating a fine menu should be a priority and done so as per the time of the event day.

  1. Weekday morning events should include coffee, tea, fruit juices, the main entree, and two sides. Pastries are an excellent option.
  2. Lunch should serve an entree per person, two or three side dishes, and two to four appetizers.
  3. Dinner includes Soups, salads, three to five appetizers, a main entree, and two or three side dishes.

Dietary restrictions

For the comfort and safety of guests with dietary restrictions and food allergies, it is essential to consider them before deciding what cuisine to serve. It is important to have enough menu variety to satisfy all your guests. Consider a few vegan and gluten-free options. The best way to avoid any glitches is by asking your guests about their dietary preferences and allergies before finalizing the menu for the event.

First & Oak is one of the best restaurants in Santa Ynez. We offer catering services for on-site and off-site corporate events. Book First & Oak Corporate Event Catering Services for your next event.

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AuthorJonathan Rosenson

Jonathan, the Chief Operating Officer at DDR Hospitality, is a seasoned level 2 sommelier with over 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He serves as the Managing Partner and Director of Hospitality for prestigious boutique hotels such as the Mirabelle Inn, Chateau du Sureau, and The Mansion on Sutter, which are celebrated for their luxurious dining experiences, including the Michelin Plate-awarded First and Oak. Additionally, in his role as Creative Director and Sommelier for Coquelicot Estate Vineyards, Jonathan is deeply involved in organic wine growing and wholesale practices, significantly contributing to renowned establishments like The Sky Room and The Wine Cask.

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