Organizing A Catered Event At Your Workplace?
Consider These 5 Things…
What do you do when you have been tasked to organize the food for a training, company picnic, recognition ceremony, etc.? It can be tempting to just do an internet search for the nearest caterer and book a date—leaving everything to them.
“That approach,” according to Bill Dixon, “is a recipe for disappointment, if not disaster — not to mention looking incompetent in the eyes of your colleagues.”
As the founder of Qcrew Catering, Dixon has 30 years of experience in food service and a few tips for those who want to organize a successful workplace event with BBQ catering in Bucks County, PA — or wherever you may be located.
“It’s not that you have to be an expert on catering. It’s just that there are potential pitfalls lying in wait that can be avoided if you take the right approach from the beginning.” Below are the five important things Bill suggests that you consider.
UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF YOUR CATERED EVENT
A day of training with a half hour scheduled for lunch is different from a midday meal on team-building day. In one event, the goal is to refuel and get back to work, while for the other, eating together is part of helping people bond.
For the event you are planning, ask yourself: Is the food for refueling or to be savored? Do you want people to eat all at once or in shifts? Do you want snacks for before/after the main meal? Are there special meal considerations (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, food allergies)? How many guests need this consideration? Do you want left-overs?
THINK ABOUT THE SPACE WHERE THE FOOD WILL BE SERVED
Will the food service be in the same room as the event will be taking place? If so, where do you want the food set up? Is there a place nearby where the caterer can stage the food service from? What are the safety/fire regulations that might affect the food service? (i.e. many municipalities do not allow open flame or “sterno” heaters). What is the process for entry to your business? Some businesses require everyone — including caterers — to sign in, get a badge, and be escorted into the building. How long will that take? Not preparing for this can delay the timing of the food delivery, as well as diminish the quality of the food when it arrives.
NUMBERS AFFECT FOOD SERVICE — AND WHO YOU HIRE TO DO IT
The pizza place around the corner may make great slices — and be perfect for a meeting of 12 people. However, the same caterer might have a real problem feeding 125 people pizza at the same time because they are not built for that kind of service.
“Serving a large number of people in a defined period of time requires ballet-like coordination,” says Bill. “When we once fed 400 people in 30 minutes, I’m sure that our customer that day did not know that we had spent weeks planning every detail of that event. All they knew was that the people ate and they were happy—and that’s all you should need to know if you choose the right caterer.”
KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL CATERER
When you are thinking about catering, you naturally think about food, as well. But you should also be thinking about the competence of those who will be serving that food. Ask things like: Have you done this before? Can you name three client references for us? How will you decide how much food will be provided for our group? Use these and other questions in the checklist below. This approach will guarantee that your potential caterer will give your event more attention because you have demonstrated that you expect both quality in the food service as well as good food.
WHEN NOT SURE OF HOW MUCH TO ORDER, USE PACKAGES!
The “how much to order” question is a vexing one. A group of firefighters may eat considerably more than a group of administrative assistants. One great way to get around this is to choose a caterer who offers packages. It then becomes their responsibility to make sure there is enough food. When packages are offered, they usually include the most popular selections from the caterer’s experience, so you can know that your group will also probably enjoy them. Finally, they often come in at the best price point — especially for large groups.
In short, your event can be stress-free and enjoyable if you consider these areas in the process. Our checklist is designed to help you do just that!
If you have any other questions about catering or our business lunch delivery services in Mercer County, NJ, get them answered for free! Just call Bill at 908-731-6900 or reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.