The aim of organising a corporate event could be to treat hard-working company staff, promote a new product launch, establish new partnerships, and more. While it may seem that catering is not in the limelight, it is actually key to the success of the entire event.
In order for the organisers and the guests to focus on the main reason behind the occasion, catering should be both invisible and at hand’s reach. However, this can be quite challenging to achieve at large-scale events organised in multiple square metres, with a multitude of staff members, and even more guests.
Furthermore, with events of this size, hardly ever is just one person in charge of its execution. In fact, catering is just one piece of the puzzle and seamless communication with other departments is imperative.
Owing to our years of experience, Fast & Fresh Catering knows what it takes to carry out such an intricate event. In the following article, we outlined some of the most crucial factors to consider when catering an important corporate or office event.
Large-scale events are hardly ever organised in a single space, or they are placed in a large reception hall. Depending on the formality and the type of the event, there will either be a dedicated dining area where all guests are seated, or you’ll have to think of the best way to strategically place the buffet table(s) so that they are not in anyone’s way, but easily approachable.
- If the guests are seated at dining tables, then there should be enough space for the waiters to move around without disturbing the guests.
- If all food is placed on buffet tables, it is advisable to keep them adjacent to the wall so that guests can mingle unobstructedly.
2. Get Your Staff in Order
The larger the event, the more manpower you’ll need. However, this also means a greater crowd and more room for mistake. To avoid creating a hectic and stressful atmosphere, it is best to categorise the staff based on their skillset and have everyone responsible for a particular job.
Especially during the rush hour in a large and crowded dining hall – you’ll want to minimise the number of caterers circulating the room but still have enough waiters to be at everyone’s disposal. For this reason, it is best to segment your staff into:
- Hostesses or head waiters who can help guests find their seat or to answer food-related questions.
- Servers responsible for food and adding more to the empty buffet platters.
- Servers responsible for drinks solely.
- Bussers who will clean after the meal.
Alternatively, you can re-organise your staff based on the defined zones and have a group of caterers responsible for a specific room or segment of a larger hall.
Large-scale events can also last long hours, which means you will need a detailed timetable containing each members’ working hours. This ensures you have enough people operating at all times without guests even noticing the change in shifts.
3. Deciding on the Menu
While a catering company might be famous for some of its unique gourmet specialties, serving at large-scale events means pleasing a variety of tastes and dietary preferences. Furthermore, it is common practice to accommodate the menu in accordance with the fresh seasonings, and the concept of the event.
Local ingredients and seasoning
Over the years we have had a number of business owners insist on preparing a few local dishes when the aim of a corporate event is to meet and impress international partners. Aside from introducing them to the local cuisine, using seasoned produce also means serving fresh dishes bound to leave a mouthwatering aftertaste.
The menu you’ll ultimately come up with largely depends on whether they will be served on a buffet, waters’ platter, or at the dining room table. It’s a given – finger food is much more appropriate for events where people are expected to mingle, as in such situation the meals which require the use of cutlery are considered impractical. Just ensure there are always clean plates and napkins on the side.
When serving food on buffet tables, it’s also critical to opt for the dishes that are tasty even when served cold. Since there will be guests circling the food for hours, you will be unable to maintain everything heated up.
Special dietary preferences
As we’ve recently covered the topic of catering for special dietary preferences, we would just briefly like to emphasise once again the importance of offering alternative menu options that would tend to a variety of guests’ tastes and needs.
It is always more difficult to predict the amount of leftover food at larger-scale events. But remember – it’s certainly better to have some of your guests pack up a few boxes to go than have a few unsatisfied hungry mouths.
4. Expect the Unexpected
We’re only human, which means that it is highly likely something will go wrong at some point during the event. Whether we are talking a few broken glasses or a missing staff member, if you prepare for the mishap, it’ll be easy to handle it without disturbing the rhythm of the event. To stay on top of the catering game, be ready to improvise and evade panicking at all costs.
It is imperative to have a few extra staff members ready to jump in at the last minute in case someone gets sick, stuck in traffic, or cancels for whatever reason. Additional glasses, plates and cutlery are also essential, as broken dishes at large-scale events are common on both the guests and waiters’ side.
5. Tend to the Aesthetics
Finally, know that in order to leave a lasting impression, the visual presentation of the food has to compliment excellent service and divine taste. While it may seem trivial to mention in the first place, the cleanliness of the dishes is imperative, and then food decor will come as the cherry on top of a delicious cake.