Oftentimes, catering selections are an afterthought in event planning. Menus are chosen on a whim, typically based on price point alone. In this case, the food that you serve is unlikely to be cohesive, let alone enhance the event. But, if given thought, your catering selections can turn an ordinary event into extraordinary for little to no additional costs.
Consider these tips when making your food and beverage selections while planning your upcoming event:
The style of catering should match the style of your event. If the event is formal, the catering should be as well. Paper products and a buffet in disposable chafers is appropriate for casual events; china, cloth napkins and a served meal reflect a more formal event. Many events fall somewhere in between. For these types of events, family style starters and entrees and action station buffets are fun and innovative.
Keep your selections interesting but cohesive. A modge-podge style buffet may seem eclectic, but can be a turnoff for guests. For example – I recently attended a function of a buffet with all mismatched appetizers, including a cheese and fruit spread right before a mashed potato bar served in martini glasses. A mashed potato bar does have it’s place – but should likely accompany an entree buffet that includes meats and vegetables. An eclectic mix can certainly be fun, but should follow a specific theme and still include a well rounded selection.
Most caterers will provide a custom menu. Start by making a list of your requirements, and decide your per person budget. Ask the caterer to help you create a menu based on 10% less than your budget. A custom menu will often offer upgrades, as a caterer might have left overs of a certain hors d’oeuvres from another party, or a fancy dessert, etc. A custom menu will often be more cohesive in style and palate than one that you select on your own.
Don’t forget the linens. Most catering companies have an in-house selection of colored linens and napkins, including floor length and overlays. Floor length ivory linens or black napkins can really change the experience of the event for minimal cost.
By spending extra time on your catering, you will increase the perceived value of your event, and leave a memorable impression on your guests. This attention to detail will further your brand and keep your guests returning.