Business meetings have changed considerably over the years. Meetings are moving out of the board room to new off-site locations, offering better menus, and utilizing better technology. Sure, it’s still about crunching the numbers and motivating the team for the company’s future successes; but it’s also an opportunity to reward the hard work of employees or even high profile clients.
So business meetings, and all corporate events really, have taken on a kind of social atmosphere at varying points of their timeline. Some meetings offer a form of entertainment to breakup brainstorming sessions and speakers, as well as refreshments to keep everyone’s energy up while promoting a little goodwill and camaraderie.
When it comes to catering an important business event, it is vital to have a plan of action. Rely on a caterer’s advice as the event is planned, but laying out some of the groundwork beforehand so you understand what you want and need before the catering staff is involved. Let’s review a few simple catering tips to help make your next business event a refreshing success.
Hiring a Caterer
Depending on your business and the type or frequency of events you host, it can greatly benefit a company to engage a single catering service for all events. For example, if your business stages quarterly events, working with one caterer can help streamline the planning process because the event specialist you are working with will already be familiar with you and your company. The caterer can use their past records of previous events in order to be able to keep their service fresh and make great recommendations of new menu choices.
Start with a Head Count
Guest count matters. It’s tied directly to budget and which spaces are best for the number of guests you’ll host. Before you can start making any major catering decisions, you need to have a rough idea of how many people will be attending your event. The total doesn’t have to be final when you beginning making arrangements, you’ll want to have a some flexibility, but an approximate head count will help you and your caterer work within a budget and design a menu.
Say Yes or No to the Bar
Depending on the event, you may or may not want to provide an open bar. If the event you’re planning is a business meeting or training seminar, you’ll probably want to forego the alcohol. However, if you are planning a sit down dinner with presentations designed to woo new contracts or business partners, an open bar might be a good thing. Either way, a decision is needed so the cost can be figured into your overall budget and total costs.
In most cases, the day’s activities are part of the preparation for your event. Timing is important, and if you are hosting multiple speakers and presentations, you’ll need a timeline or schedule for food service to take place around those activities. The sooner your event’s itinerary is set the better, as it allows your caterer to do everything on their part in terms of preparing, plating and serving your meal in an efficient and timely manner. Obviously the day’s business takes precedence and the timeline might change slightly as the day progresses, but remember to keep in communication with your catering captain and event specialist so they can communicate with the culinary team. Do your best to stick with your timeline, but recognize that it is a guide to the day and flexibility is must.
Plan a Variety of Options
Corporate events of size can play host to hundreds of people, each with their own dietary wants and needs. It’s important to provide variety to satisfy your guests and take care of those with special diets. A reputable catering service will be able to deliver a diverse menu and accommodate the dietary concerns of guests at a reasonable cost. Yet another reason to find a caterer you like and trust, and work with them exclusively.
Planning any corporate event can be a handful, but your catering decisions shouldn’t add to the stress. If you plan ahead, make a few key decisions early, and book a catering service with a great reputation, you can state a business event that is both productive and satisfying. These few catering tips should help to get you started, and ensure that your budget is well spend and your event well remembered.