Catering for Company Events and Business Functions

Author: Australian Caterers

Catering for Large Corporate Functions

Large Corporate Functions are generally quite elaborate, even if they are relatively informal. Due to the large numbers of corporate groups, organising a function can be quite structured. There are a number of planning points to be considered when initial planning stages are being worked through.

Where will your function be held?

If your staff work at one location, and the function is at another, think about how staff will travel or be transported to the venue. If the function is during staff hours, transport will generally be organised. Buses are a great way to transport large groups of people, especially if there are more than 100. Consider parking if you would like your staff to travel in their own transport.

When will you function be held?

Weekends are generally popular for private parties and weddings. Staff functions are most common during the week or Friday afternoon before staff leave for the weekend. If you are a large company and hold several functions a year for Melbourne Cup, Christmas etc then planning will become more organised. If you are new to planning, consider which day will work best and if you plan for staff to continue work after your function.

How will you coordinate your function?

Coordinating your function will generally include a few suppliers that will need to know basic details including guest numbers, location, time schedules and any special requirements. If you are organising a marquee, determining the location and when this will be setup is important. Working with a catering company to provide food service is also important. While many catering companies do cater for larger numbers, it is important to advise all information relevant when enquiring. Catering at a venue can be relatively easy; however catering for larger groups in a park with limited facilities may not be suited for all caterers. If you are planning a function in a park for several hundred guests, ensure your caterer has all the equipment, can travel to your location and has access to staff to serve and clear during and after service. There are several catering companies that specialise in catering for larger groups with specialised equipment, they may charge a little more however there are generally more expenses when catering for larger numbers.

Working effectively with your suppliers…

When planning corporate functions RSVP dates can be quite last minute. Many suppliers work with weddings and functions that are planned months if not over a year in advance. Working with corporate functions operates very differently. Understand the timelines your suppliers require to place any orders and organise staff. Last minute drops in numbers may leave your suppliers with orders larger than they actually require.

Corporate Functions are great fun for staff and employers, as they give everyone a chance to enjoy themselves and others company without having to think about current jobs.

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Planning For a Party Catering

A checklist always proves to be a useful tool in facilitating whatever kind of task. It is also especially beneficial especially in preparing to cater a party. The checklist would ensure that the caterer has not left out any major or minor details for the party catering.

A party catering checklist may include the following:

  • Food Services and Delivery. A simple catering involves just the cooking and provision of foods. The client may be the one to pick up the food from the caterers place but it is more likely that clients would prefer the caterer to deliver the foods to the venue. Also in most cases, a caterer is hired for a full line of service which includes not only the food cooking and preparation but also a staff of attendants to prepare the venue, serve the foods and do the cleaning afterwards.
  • Time and schedules. When you are hired to cater an event, you and your company or staff should arrive at the venue at the proper time. This will ensure that you have enough time to arrange your stuffs and prepare whatever is needed during the event with regards to catering. You should know when the appetizer, main entree, dessert or beverage would be served. If there is a bar at the venue, you need to make sure that you also are in tune with the bar’s opening time. Also, ask the client if there are any entertainment forms to be held during the party so you can adjust your serving time.
  • Estimated number of guests. This information is vital in the food preparation. Based on the approximate number of guests, you can also estimate how much food and drinks you need to prepare. Also if you will also be in charge of the venue preparation, the number of chairs and tables you would set up must be sufficient to accommodate all expected attendees. Make sure that this number is already known about a week before the party.
  • Drinks and beverages. If you will also be providing a bar service separate from the served drinks, verify from the client if it is going to be an open bar, a prepaid keg or a cash bar. The bar may also serve nonalcoholic drinks. Make sure to serve brands of drinks according to the client’s preferences. There should be soda, beer, wine and other liquors.
  • Menu. Ask your client how the menu would be served if it is per table or on a buffet service. Aside from the menu, make sure to provide condiments too or ask your client if there are specific condiments which he or she wants to be served during the party reception. You need to show a sample list of menu to the clients from which they can choose the dishes they want. As a caterer, you would have an edge over other caterers is you know how to prepare other exotic and foreign dishes instead of the usual foods served in parties. There might be guests who have special diets like vegetarians and diabetics so you need to provide dishes fit for them.
  • Service equipment. Make sure to prepare the necessary tools and equipment for the party catering such as table linens, silverware, glassware, tents, tables, chairs, etc.

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Common Problems to Avoid With a Catering Function?

A Catering business is like any other business, in that like every other business there has to be a small percentage for error. Even though it seems like caterers perform miracles, they are not, in fact, miracle workers. And just as your electricity goes off sometimes, or you don’t get very good cell phone reception in certain areas or the supermarket is out of your favourite food item; catering companies can encounter problems if you do not follow all of the correct steps, albeit a small percentage of that happening.

The chances are that your catering company encountered ten or more problems during the last function that you attended, but they were both manageable and small enough, plus the catering company were professional enough that it did not show on the outside.

There is an old saying which says “a caterer is like a duck, smooth and graceful on the surface, but paddling like crazy underneath“.

In this article there are four of the most important pieces of information which you should be asked to provide which would help in the eventuality that something might crop up that your catering company doesn’t know about.

1. You should give your caterer at least three different contact numbers.

If it is six or twelve months out from your wedding and you have locked in a caterer and contracts have been signed, it is difficult to see ahead and to know exactly what is going to happen on the day. If something happens, for example; the chef gets lost or involved in a traffic accident, the caterer will need to be able to contact someone. They will not want to be phoning the bride, groom during the service and add a memory that should not be there.

2. Is there parking available on-site?

This sounds like an obvious one, but it is so obvious that it easily gets missed. Also, a party at a private residence for thirty or more guests, plus a band, plus other entertainment can easily fill the parking spaces up fast. If possible try to save your catering company and other professionals at your event, a parking space nearby, even it is just for loading and unloading only.

3. Are there amenities on-site?

A caterer is bound by certain health and safety laws, such as having running water to wash their hands and many others. The local caterers in your jurisdiction will also be bound by similar laws and regulations. If the catering site is remote then your caterer would need to know if there is electricity, running water, toilets, shelter from the elements and more. All of these potential problems are easily dealt with if your caterer is notified beforehand.

4. Final numbers and late RSVP.

Final numbers and late comers are not a problem, as long as the caterer is made aware of it. A simple phone call the day before just to touch base with the caterer is fine. As a procedure, your caterer should include some extra food at no extra cost to the client. This should be in their costings. The amount included extra is dependent on the types of menu and the number of guests. Your caterer should do this for a number of reasons, firstly in case of extra numbers. Secondly they should cater extra food in case of any accidents. As I mentioned before, accidents do happen sometimes and your catering company need to have something up their sleeves. Lastly, if the correct numbers arrive, there are no accidents then you will just be provided with the extra food.

If these simple recommendations can be followed then it could be the difference between a successful catering function and a potential disaster. Let your caterer know as soon as possible when something changes or something you feel might be an issue, it doesn’t matter how small of a deal you think it is.

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Must Read Tips for Getting the Best Catering Services

Author: Hamilton Catering

If уou fail to hіre аn outstanding caterer for yоur event, thеn yоur event mіght be ruined. Thuѕ, уоu hаve to follow the fоllоwing tips bеfore hiring a catering service.

You havе tо choose yоur caterer by cоnsіdеring the type оf your event. Additionally, you hаve tо make a plan fоr the entire event аnd manage уоur caterer аccоrdinglу. Pluѕ, уou havе tо make thе specification оf thе required items іn the menu, bеforе informing thе catering service. If hе cаn ensure to supply аll the food items for уоur guests, thеn уou mау соnѕіder him.

Do nоt go bеуоnd yоur ability.

Neverthеlеѕѕ, уоur budget аlwауѕ plays а significant role іn thе hiring оf catering services. Furthеrmоre, catering comapnies will offer you ѕеvеrаl packages аt diffеrеnt prices. Hоwеver,you ѕhоuld select the packages meticulously aссоrdіng tо thе thеme of your event. Beѕіdeѕ, discuss abоut thе payment wіth thе caterer elaborately, in order tо avoid bargaining during thе event. Likewise,thеу mау apply ѕоmе hidden charges on wait-stuff. Therеfоrе, bе clear whilе discussing аbоut remuneration.

Give the caterer sоme preview

After choosing the аpproprіatе caterer, yоur job will bе to make him understand аbout уоur contrivance. Yоu cаn prevent еverу kind оf misunderstanding bу fоllоwing thіѕ. If yоur caterer knowѕ yоur plan, thеn hе wоuld bе аblе to do еverуthіng in уour absence.

Gеt yоur service online

Mаnу companies arе serving thеіr clients thrоugh thе internet. Yоu сan easily hіre them frоm online. You саn alѕo choose уоur food items from thеre. In addition to thаt, you can pay аѕ wеll for thеіr services viа internet. Hоwеvеr, іt iѕ а hard task to find catering services online. Bеfоre gоіng tо hіrе them, уоu ought tо bе ѕurе аbоut the exact date аnd time of thе event. Frоm thousands of search results, уou have tо choose the bеѕt catering service…and a catering company that is local to your event. If you’re holding your catered event in Hamilton Ontario, then you’ll be searching for Hamilton catering companies or Hamilton Ontario caterers.

Aftеr all, dо nоt give yоur event аn inexperienced hand. This mау embarrass уou in уоur оwn event. Thеrefоre, try tо find а wеll-reputed company fоr уоur event. Supplementary to thаt, yоu сan inquire аbout thе quality аnd perfection оf thе company thrоugh іtѕ past customers.

Dо nоt take уоur decision impulsively. You muѕt contemplate deeply bеfоrе choosing a catering service fоr yоur event or social gathering.

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Catering 101 – 10 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Caterer

Planning the menu for your catering event is extremely important. Whether it’s an elaborate wedding reception, a casual corporate Christmas party, or a small client appreciation reception, food can turn your event into a smashing success or a total disaster.

Choosing the right catering company for your function is a key element in your event planning process. A knowledgeable and experience caterer can make your life a lot easier, so it’s worth the effort finding a catering company with which you can rely on, enjoy working with, and trust.

1. Have a budget

Before you start looking for a caterer, you need to define your budget. As in any other industry, catering companies come in all shapes and forms and cater to different markets. You don’t want to waste your time on a catering company that you won’t be able to afford. Nor do you want to settle for a neighborhood take-out, if you have the budget for something a bit more sophisticated.

2. Do your research

The catering business is extremely competitive. There are tons of catering companies, each having their own specialty. Take some time to search through the caterers in your area to find the ones that you think might work for your event. Look through their websites, menus, and prices. Usually you can get a feel of what the company is all about. Ask your friends, family members, colleagues – there’s a good chance that someone in your social network used a catering company in the past and might have some recommendations for you. There’s nothing better than a referral from someone you know and trust.

3. Compare apples to apples

Different catering companies set their prices differently. Some tend to have a basic price displayed and all “bells and whistles” will be extra. Others will operate on a more inclusive basis. When you do your research make sure that you compare apples to apples. Don’t be fooled by low prices. If it sounds too good to be true – it usually is. Make sure that you compare the food of the same quality, the same portion sizes and similar inclusions in the price.

4. Schedule a consultation

Any respected catering company should offer you a complimentary consultation to discuss your particular needs and requirements. This is a good opportunity to get an idea of the company and people you will be dealing with. You will get a feeling of the level of knowledge and expertise they provide and how comfortable you are dealing with them.

5. Sample the food

It is sort of obvious – before spending $20,000 on your wedding reception, you want to make sure that the food is exactly what you expect. Different catering companies might have different policies when it comes to food tastings. Some caterers will charge you a nominal fee to eliminate people who are not serious, others will do it for free.

6. Ask for references

There’s nothing wrong about asking a catering company for references. It might also be a good idea to read through the customer testimonials – and not just on the company website but in other sources as well. In this day and age, where social media defines the rules of how we conduct business, organizations can’t hide anything anymore. So, do you home work, read about the caterer you consider doing business with.

7. Understand terms and conditions

When reviewing a contract, make sure you read and understand terms and conditions. There are 3 main questions you need to ask:

1) Payment schedule. Most catering companies will ask you for a deposit. It might be a fixed amount or a percentage of the total invoice. Sometimes they will charge another portion 2 weeks prior to the event, and the remaining balance right after the function when all the charges are finalized.

2) Cancellation policy. What happens if your need to cancel your event? Will you lose the deposit? What is the cut-off time when you can cancel without any penalties? Be very clear of the cancellation policy and get everything in writing.

3) Changes to the guest count and menu. When is cut-off date for making the changes to the menu and number of guests? Normally a catering company will require all the information 72 hours prior to the event. At that point you’ll need to confirm “guaranteed numbers”. So if your guaranteed number is 200 people, and 8 hours prior to the event your attendee numbers drop to 180, it will be too late to make the adjustment, and you will have to pay for 200 people.

8. Be aware of extra charges

Having a budget is important. Sticking to your budget is very important. Being aware of the real price for the catering services is extremely important. That’s where you can get yourself in trouble. First of all, you need to know about all mandatory fees, such as taxes and gratuities. If you live in the area with 12% tax (like we do, here in Vancouver, BC) and then add the industry standard 15% gratuity – you’re looking at an almost additional 30% on top of the food prices. You also need to know what is included in your catering company services. If you are planning a sit down dinner, you will need service staff. Normally, it’s not included in the price but that could be your negotiation tool. For big functions you might be able to work out a deal. Does the dinner price include linens, china, cutlery, and glassware or will it be extra charge? There’s really no standard – it depends on how a catering company structures the prices. Basic white linens and napkins might be provided but if you need a particular color, most likely you will have to rent them. That leads to the next point…

9. Ask what additional services your catering company can provide

Will your catering company arrange flowers for your event? Will they take care of all rental needs – linens, napkins, chair covers, etc? Keep in mind that it might be cheaper to do it yourself though.

10. Don’t assume. Ask questions

You don’t want to annoy your catering company by calling them 5 times a day with various questions, but you don’t want to assume things either. It’s better to ask if china and silverware are included in the price than make that assumption. Diligent, detailed oriented caterers will appreciate you asking the questions, providing them with all the necessary information, and re-confirming everything- it actually makes their job easier.

Whatever your function is, choosing the right caterer is an important and sometimes not an easy task. Do your homework, be prepared. Don’t get fooled by cheap prices and shady companies that promise you the world and deliver nothing. Ask the right questions. Be demanding but reasonable and professional.

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Outdoor Event Catering – Finding The Right Catering Companies

Outdoor event catering is easier than it has ever been because of a larger amount of catering companies to choose from. The more you know about catering the better your chances are in finding one that is suitable, a good caterer that will make your outdoor event memorable and successful. This article will give you the information you need to make an informative decision regarding the selection of outdoor event catering companies.

First, catering is the business of providing food and beverage at any location. Catering is a growing business that is constantly evolving. Many caters are moving away from simply serving food or drink and adding event planning, outdoor event planning and other food related services into their portfolio of services.

Secondly, catering companies still focus on providing food and drinks to any location people but they can now provide you a full service that can satisfy all your wishes and desires. Many catering companies can provide decorations, music, furniture, and entertainment alongside the food and beverage. Even if you need an event location, the caterer can supply one for you. Outdoor event catering involves creating an entire atmosphere for the party. Catering companies are expected to be able to provide and fill in all the details of the party while meeting a budget and never making a mistake.

Third, the cost for outdoor event catering is usually determined by the total guest count and the complexity of the menu. Additional services provided by catering companies are usually charged on a per-item basis. Service charges and gratuity for wait staff are also charged for large events, however the application and disbursement of these charges should be discussed with your accountant.

Fourth, when looking for catering companies for your next event you should realize that there are two basic choices: independent caterers or large catering companies. An independent caterer usually can be more creative with their menu but may be unwilling to take on very large parties themselves. Independent small catering companies may also lack the resources and equipment to outfit your entire party. Usually independent caterers will have contacts with other companies who can assist with aspects of your event that they themselves cannot perform.

Most importantly, larger catering companies will probably be less flexible with menu choices and they rotate menu choices through many parties to speed up prep time. They tend to be more willing to take on a very large projects based on them already having the manpower and experience to handle and staff larger events. If you require additional support a large company may have it available in-house. This reduces the amount of vendors you will need to pay and work with during your event planning.

Finally, if you are too busy to cook and plan for your own event having good catering companies you know and trust can be very important. You can check the internet and find great caterers. When you are confident you have one that can plan and stage your party without making a mistake, you keep going back to that company time and time again. If you have a lot of parties or events good catering companies can maintain a history of menus served and plan new unique menus for each and every event.

Catering is a wonderful way for you to have a perfect event without having to do all the work yourself. Next time you want to have an outdoor event consider hiring a caterer who specializes in outdoor event catering.

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How To Choose The Right Caterer For Your Function

Finding a Caterer for any event is an extremely important decision. Corporate, or private, large or small, choosing the right Caterer is imperative. There are many catering companies in the market so you need to do your homework and choose carefully in order to guarantee the success of your event. This article gives you a step-by-step guide to choosing the right Caterer along with a useful checklist.

Preparation

Before seeking a Caterer you need to think about your catering needs and gather together information that a Caterer will need to know:

  • What is the time and date of the event?
  • Do you have a budget in mind?
  • Where is your event being held? (Or do you require a venue?)
  • Is there a kitchen at the venue?
  • How many guests are you expecting?
  • Do any of your guests have special dietary requirements?
  • Does your event have a theme?
  • Do you desire a particular style of cuisine?
  • Do you require decorations, flowers, table settings?
  • Do you need to hire equipment? (Tables, chairs, linen, crockery etc)

Once you have answered these questions you will have a good idea of the services you will require. A great Caterer will offer a complete service to save your running around organizing things separately. Having everything organised by one company will help your event run smoothly and cut down your workload.

Research

After you’ve completed your preparation it’s time for some research. First you need to find some catering companies. The best way to do this is to seek recommendations. You can ask friends, family and colleagues. Or use a search engine for a list of professional caterers in the area your event will take place.

Now select a short-list of Caterers according to the needs you identified in your preparation. For example you may have identified that your venue doesn’t have a kitchen, or that your guests have particular dietary concerns or that you need to hire equipment.

Once you have a list of a few Caterers contact them with a list of questions to make sure they are reputable and are able to handle your particular requirements.

What to look for

First and foremost, does the Caterer offer a range of menu options including the particular cuisine you are after? Most good Caterers will have detailed menu listings on their website. Failing this, you can contact the company and have this information emailed or faxed to you.

What type of function are you organizing? Is it private or corporate, small or large, casual or formal, inside or outside? Whatever the case, ensure that your chosen Caterer can handle the type of function you are planning.

Make sure the Caterer is available on the day that you desire. (With no weekend or public holiday loading.) Also check that the Caterer has a 24 hour service and is contactable 7 days a week. Many events are held after hours or on weekends so it will be a great disadvantage and frustration if you can’t contact your Caterer in the evening or on a Sunday morning when you suddenly think of something you need to discuss! And you certainly don’t want to pay more for your catering just because your event isn’t in business hours.

Does the Caterer provide their own waiting staff? Are the staff experienced in the style of event you are planning? Will they be professionally attired? Will the staff take care of everything from delivery and preparation to waiting and cleaning up afterwards?

According to the needs that you identified in your preparation, does the Caterer provide the equipment that you require? This may include tables, chairs, linen, crockery, glassware, cutlery or even ovens and a bar serving area. Make sure they are able to provide what you need so that you don’t have to do additional running around after event hire. Also ensure that their equipment is new and in excellent condition. You don’t want tatty linen and tarnished silverware to take the sparkle out of your event.

Perhaps you require a venue for your event? If so, a Caterer who can source a venue for you will save you time and have an established relationship with the venue. This will streamline the whole catering experience and make your life a lot easier!

If you plan a theme for your event, can the Caterer help you to achieve your desired atmosphere, from cuisine choices to decorations and table settings?

Where will the food be prepared? If your venue doesn’t have a kitchen the Caterer will need to prepare and heat it at their premises and then deliver it ready to serve.

Can the Caterer organize beverages? There’s a lot involved in the logistics if you need to do this yourself. First you need to physically purchase the drinks and then transport them to your venue. Then you need somewhere to store them and a method of keeping them cool. On the day you will need staff to serve the drinks along with a bar serving area, plus glasses etc. So if the Caterer doesn’t handle anything to do with the drinks you’ve got a lot more tasks to add to your to-do-list.

Is the company an actual Caterer? (Not just a bakery or cafe). There is after all a lot more to catering than simply the food, so you need to select a Caterer who is familiar with all aspects of event catering.

For peace of mind, check that the company is a member of any relevant Catering Associations, or you can also ask for references. A good Caterer should have nothing to hide.

Ensure that the catering company you are considering has an actual premises and isn’t just an online middleman. (In the case of the latter, you may have problems with food quality, accountability and find it difficult to contact the company.)

What payment methods does the company accept? Make sure they accept all forms, including credit card, and that there is no additional charge for using a credit. Be very wary of companies that will only accept cash. You have very little bargaining power should things go wrong.

Does the Caterer require a deposit? Almost all will, however the amount will vary considerably. The lower the deposit the better.

What is their cancellation policy? Can you get all your money back should the event be cancelled?

Do they have a postponement policy? Hopefully the Caterer can simply change the date. However some will charge a fee for this.

Here’s a quick checklist to help you find the right Caterer:

  1. Menu options – Do they have what you are looking for? (Including any special dietary requirements?)
  2. Can they cater for your particular function? (Corporate, private etc)
  3. Are they available on the day of your planned event?
  4. Are they contactable 24/7?
  5. Can they provide staff? Are the staff professional and experienced in your style of event?
  6. Can they organise equipment hire? Is the equipment in good condition?
  7. Can they arrange a venue for you if necessary?
  8. If required, can they assist you with theming and decorations?
  9. Are they flexible regarding food preparation if you have limited kitchen facilities?
  10. Can the Caterer organise beverages?
  11. Are they actual Caterers, rather than a bakery or cafe?
  12. Are they a member of the Restaurant & Catering association?
  13. Ask for references.
  14. Does the Caterer have actual premises, not just an online reseller?
  15. Do they accept all payment methods including credit?
  16. Do they have a credit surcharge?
  17. What deposit do they require?
  18. What is their cancellation policy?
  19. What is their postponement policy?

Get a Quote

Once you’ve gone through the above checklist and identified a reputable Caterer that can fulfill your requirements, it’s time to get into the specifics and get a quote.

Good service Caterers generally have a well designed online form to submit for a quick quote which can make things easier and quicker for you. However you may prefer personal service so it’s important that the Caterer you select is easy to contact.

In seeking a quote, it’s helpful for the Caterer if you can advise a budget. That way, they can help you to design a menu based around what you can spend, how many guests you are expecting and what other services you require (such as staff and equipment for example.) A good Caterer has a wealth of knowledge and will most likely have some inspired suggestions that may not have occurred to you simply from perusing their menu selections.

Once you settle on the food, staff, equipment, drinks, venue or anything else you require, ask for a detailed quote.

Ensure that the quote covers everything including tax and delivery so that you’re not stung with hidden extras once you’ve committed to the Caterer.

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