There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but catering plays a crucial role in any event – and complimentary food and refreshments will no doubt be welcomed by attendees. Event catering not only encourages attendees to make an appearance, but it also provides the perfect opportunity to show off the generosity and professionalism of your brand – which can have a significant impact when it comes to connecting with potential clients on the day.
Today, we’re taking a look at how event catering can make all the difference to the success of an event, as well as bringing you a handful of tips on how to use finger food and complimentary drinks to your advantage during your next event.
1. Prepare enough food and refreshments for all guests
As any event organiser will know, there’s nothing more embarrassing than under-catering for guests. An event is the perfect opportunity to show off your brand and the values it holds, meaning generosity should be kept in mind – and there’s no doubt that guests will be quick to notice any attempts of cutting back on the catering. While it’s customary to allow for an average of 8 -12 canapés per head, preparing a plentiful spread will ensure that your event runs without a hitch – and it will demonstrate your business’s strengths in organisation. Make a good impression from the start by welcoming guests to your event with complimentary drinks, and put attendees with specific drinks requirements at ease by offering an array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks options.
2. Interact with attendees over coffee
After welcoming attendees to the event with a glass of bubbly or an alcohol-free mocktail, consider incorporating a twist into the traditional beverages that are on offer. Whether you’re hosting a daytime event or looking for an appropriate after-dinner drink, offering flavoured coffee options will be a welcomed alternative – especially for those coming from a long day in the office! From providing a much-needed caffeine boost to sparking conversation about the different mouthwatering flavours, serving up traditional tea or coffee is a great way to get your guests talking.
3. Consider the event type – and cater for that
Whether it’s a sit down dinner for 500 guests or a more informal afternoon of networking over champagne and canapés, the type of event that you’re hosting will determine the catering requirements. Catering can be a hefty investment for many businesses, and while the quality of the event should never be compromised, there are methods of minimising unnecessary expenditure. As well as organising a more intimate event with a selection of well-chosen guests, changing the start time and length of the event can be pivotal when it comes to economising on refreshments – which is why event organisers may wish to adapt their timings and event format to subtly ensure that the catering suits a more modest budget.
4. Keep things simple
While eclectic cocktails and gourmet cuisine will no doubt impress in restaurants, when it comes to event catering, a simplistic approach will ease stress behind the scenes – and a minimalist approach can be just as tasteful. It’s the execution and high quality that counts when it comes to catering, so focus on the presentation and timely serving rather than producing complicated recipes.
5. Remember that timing is everything
When it comes to events, the art of timing must be mastered in order for the day to run smoothly. For event organisers, keeping your guests entertained and well fed is key, which is why kitchen and waiting staff must be perfectly synchronised in their work. When it comes to a sit down meal, table etiquette determines that food should come out at a similar time to ensure guests aren’t kept waiting – and it’s just as vital that dishes are served hot. For a canapé reception, waiting staff should serve the room frequently with an array of offerings – while making sure that guests with specific dietary requirements have been catered for simultaneously.
From enticing attendees to make an appearance to ensuring the day was remembered by all, there’s no doubt that effective event catering can make all the difference to the overall success. A well executed event will show off a business in its best light, and by adopting these 5 catering tips for your upcoming event, your brand will be remembered by attendees long after the day is over.
Phil White is Managing Director at Novell Coffee – bringing Nespresso compatible capsules to coffee lovers across the UK and beyond.