As you might expect, one of the many reasons people look forward to seasonal events and family holiday party is the food. When planning food and drinks for an event, it is essential to go beyond the most obvious menu, and to provide your guests with a delicious meal to enjoy. Unfortunately, the food at most seasonal events is substandard and is often not very imaginative. For special events, catering should be flawless and creative. The following tips will help you make your event’s menu stand out, and give your guests a reason to appreciate you more.
Let’s break it down.
Know Your Guests
Before planning the food and drinks for a seasonal event, it is essential to understand the guest profile. For example, corporate leaders are used to attending at least a couple of events every month. They have grown accustomed to overcooked chicken and wilted vegetables as the standard. As a responsible host, it is your job to plan a menu that creates a sophisticated dining experience. To make this happen, think about the answers to the following questions.
- What is the professional level of the guests?
- How many times a year do they attend events like ours?
- Which area do they live in?
- What are dishes that might be new and interesting for them?
Know Their Preferences
Your event caterer can better decide the menu by understanding your guest profile. The following tips will make things easier for you and your event catering company.
- Senior individuals prefer a mild and straightforward menu.
- Health-conscious individuals prefer seafood and green vegetables over something oily and spicy.
- The young and energetic like to have something adventurous, with a slight spiciness to please their taste buds. For the younger crowd, holiday party catering items like healthy wraps or turkey lettuce cups should be crowd pleasers.
The goal here is to identify the food items your guests would like to have, depending upon the theme of your event.
Give Them Choices
Regardless of how much time and money you invest in planning the event’s menu, you won’t be able to satisfy the guests if you only have a single entree. To ensure your guests’ enjoyment, your event caterer should come up with multiple food options. If you are stuck in such a situation, the following guidelines will come in handy.
- Offer your guests at least two or even three entrees to choose from.
- For the salads, offer different salad dressings.
- Condiments such as salt, black pepper, ketchup, soy sauce, and mustard should be kept on the side of the table.
- Offer at least two desserts. One being indulgent and the other being healthy.
Take Special Diet Needs Into Consideration
Due to increased health awareness nowadays, guests have more dietary preferences than ever. So, before planning a menu for your seasonal event, it is essential to make sure whether your guests have any special nutritional needs. This will allow the catering manager to address those needs before placing an order. Some of the most common dietary considerations are listed below.
- Vegetarianism and dietary preferences by choice
- Religious preferences
- Food intolerances
- Food allergies like lactose or gluten
Include Seasonal Items
When determining the food items and beverages, it is crucial to take into consideration the season and the time of the year. Take special care if you are planning an event in winter or spring. Also, take note of the location of the event venue. Adding native dishes to your menu is a great way to give it a touch of innovation. To add extra flavor to your event’s menu list, make sure to include fresh seafood and some regional produce. Not only will it enhance the menu but also add a touch of the locale to it.
If your event has a particular theme, it allows the event manager as well as the chef to incorporate regional and international foods and beverages to your event’s menu. It will make your event stand out, give it some flair, and please the guests at the same time. Some of the most common ethnic and regional cuisines are mentioned below.
- South Asian
The Menu Should Fit the Event Schedule
Sometimes the best thing that can help you decide the menu for your seasonal event is the date and time. Try introducing foods and drinks that perfectly suited to a specific time of the day. Here are some meal examples.
If the duration of the event is 30 minutes to one hour for eating and drinking, arrange lunch boxes. They are handy and easy for your budget.
Buffet meals are perfect if the eating and drinking time is one hour or a little over this duration.
Breakfast and Lunch
If you are planning a lunch or breakfast, arrange food items that can sustain your guests for a long time, especially if your event goes well into the day.
The Setup Should Be Comfortable
The venue of the event should be comfortable, as should the event, as well as the catering. If you have arranged for a full-service meal at a corporate event, the tables will soon be covered with plates, glasses, notebooks, pens, and pencils. In the case of a cocktail reception, round tables can only accommodate a small number of drinks and plates.
Because of this, consider the following setup tips.
- If you have a boardroom, it should not have more than 15 people, or it will become congested.
- U-Shape tables are comfortable, but they are not suitable for buffet meals.
- For presentations that go through lunch, the classroom setup will be perfect.
- For panel discussions, arrange a banquet setup.
When planning the menu for a seasonal event, try not to skimp on any of the guidelines mentioned above. The most important thing that will make your event menu stand out is the presentation of food. Regardless of whether you have arranged a buffet or a plated meal, the appearance should be colorful and vibrant. It should also tempt the guests to dig in, right off the bat. This is your opportunity to win over your guests.