If you don’t have a great plan for food, you’re likely not going to have a successful party. Why? It’s a fact that people like to eat, and if your guests aren’t properly fed, your party may just affect your party planning image. So today, I’m going to discuss party food, particularly catered food. Catering, while not always cheap, may just be the easiest choice when planning party food.
Caterers have a very important role in the party planning process, and choosing a good caterer is essential in the assurance that your party food is completely covered. The first thing to know is that a caterer can provide different elements of food service for your party. If you’re only looking to have the main meal catered, a caterer can help to provide a plated dinner or buffet style service for your guests’ meal, or if you only need appetizers, your caterer will be able to provide appetizers for your guests. You can opt to have your caterer provide beverages or you can choose to provide the beverages for your guests. Catering does not have to be done one way. There are a variety of catering options that are made to fit into your budget, while giving you great food service for your party.
Before hiring a caterer, you should first check with your venue to find out if they offer catering. It’s possible that hiring an outside service may not be necessary. In the event your venue does not offer catering, they may be able to make reputable recommendations. However, never assume that a recommended caterer is the best caterer for your party needs. Check out the caterer for yourself. Contact the caterer for several references that you can communicate with for a well-rounded picture of the services the caterer provides. Just because one caterer may work wonderfully for one particular event doesn’t mean it will work the same for yours. An example of this would be hiring a caterer for a large crowd who may only have experience in working with smaller parties. Always get an idea of the types of events your caterer has serviced so that you’re not unpleasantly surprised with the outcome.
When contacting your caterer, you should have preliminary information ready, such as what style catering you require. Will you want to have a seated dinner, buffet, or cocktail style catering? There are many reasons to select any one or combination of these styles, depending upon your budget and/or party planning needs. A cocktail party menu alternative mostly consists of appetizers, but also may include some sort of beverage selection. This can be used as a stand-alone choice for something like a traditional cocktail party or small gathering, but it is also commonly used as a starter before a main meal. Catered main meal options involve choosing from either a seated or buffet style meal.
A seated dinner will provide your guests with a small selection of options to choose from, such as beef, chicken or fish. The menu pre-selection usually takes pizza restaurant place at the time of the invitation RSVP, and assists the party planner with providing the final head count to the caterer. Seated dinners are generally a less flexible option, and they require more equipment and servers to accommodate guests who will all be served at the same time.
When choosing a buffet style dinner, your guests have more options to choose from and can be more creative with their selections. Your guests will be able to choose multiple meats, veggies, or starches on the same plate, which is oftentimes a great option if there are guests with special dietary restrictions. Buffet style dinners present a more flexible dinner that also enables guests to go back for seconds. Even further, fewer servers are needed to serve a buffet, which means less staff, and oftentimes, a lower cost.
Since catering is such an important part of the party planning process, there are many questions that you should be sure to ask your prospective catering service. Here are a few that you will want to ask to narrow down your selection: