For corporate events and special occasions, the catering service has an important responsibility of preparing and serving food to attendees and guests. While the concept of catering as a whole, is very straightforward, the finesse and technique required to pull off an on-time, on-budget catering event requires food skill, attention to detail, and experience. Make the most of your next catering event with these simple do’s and don’t by Restaurantware.
Know the Numbers
Confirm and reconfirm how many people will be eating your catered food. Double and triple check, whether or not there are special dietary requests or alternative options needed. Be ready to adjust if the number goes up or down significantly before the event. Be prepared to communicate with the guests about ingredients, approximate calories, and food prep processes. Always speak of your food and cooking in the best possible light and keep an ear out for ways to improve.
Take Marketing Materials
Make the most of every catering opportunity by bringing business cards, flyers, fee schedules, and contact information. Events can be hectic and it can be difficult for attendees or planners to remember every detail. Keep your prospective clients informed with your readily available marketing materials. Before you leave the venue, make sure that you leave a few cards or flyers with the front desk, event supervisor, or host.
Ease Into the Clean Up
As the event draws to a close, do not rush the guests or make them feel uncomfortable with noisy or awkward clean up activities. Before draining or dismantling your equipment, make sure that everyone has had the opportunity to enjoy your offerings. Try removing pans or steam tables in stages. Caterers, servers, and bussers should seamlessly blend with the flow of the event. Keep a steady serving and busing pace throughout the event, to prevent a clean-up frenzy at the end.
From planning the menu, securing the food, to arriving at the venue, allow yourself enough time to get the job done. It is better hurry up and wait than to keep the guests or your employer waiting. Build in time cushions to allow for the unexpected. Should something go wrong communicate immediately and openly with your client. Don’t make excuses, overcome your mistakes, and don’t neglect the details.
Tolerate Chatty Servers
Don’t let your serving staff interfere with the event. They are there to serve food, offer hors d'oeuvre, replenish beverages, and assist guests in special circumstances. Conversations between guests and servers should be limited to answering questions about the food or providing for special requests. No other conversation coming from the serving staff is appropriate.
Take Chances with Food Safety
Make sure that you are doing everything in your power to keep food at safe temperatures. Throughout the event, coordinate with your client about timing. Many events can run over or get off schedule. Keep foods cold before cooking and serve cooked food when it is hot. Stay on top of drips and spills, and be sure to keep your steam table equipment and trays clean. Don’t leave rags or cloths lying around. For best results, keep your catering business clean in practice, and also clean in appearance.