Choosing the right menu can be pretty stressful at times as there are lot of things to consider. Depending on the event, the meal may not only be the most important part of the event but may also be one of the most costly. It is very important to determine how much emphasis should be placed on the meal. Below are some questions that you should ask yourself as the planner prior to choosing the right caterer and or the menu.
It seems that these days more and more people are developing food allergies or have very specific diets such as Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Vegan or High Protein diets. Choosing the right menu that will satisfy all of your guests can be very difficult but not impossible. Your personal assigned "Main Event Planner" will be able to assist you with this.
Will the space that you are using allow for the room to host a sit down meal for all of your guests or will this only allow for a "Cocktail Food" type of menu? Is there room for Buffet Lines and will electricity be required? Will there be a kitchen onsite for the caterer to use to prepare or prestage meals or will this all need to be done offsite? Will this be an outdoor event that allows enough protection from the rain incase the weather turns? Is there time in your planned event for a full sit down meal? Is the meeting time in between normal meal times or will they already have eaten prior to arriving?
Caterers will typically charge a specific set price per person that you are feeding based on the cost and complexity of the menu. Most meals can range from as low as $12 per person and go up to $75.00 (not including bar and alcohol) per person depending on your choices. Keep in mind that most caterers do require a 15% gratuity for their staff as well on top of your menu price. This should also be factored into your budget.
This is a very important question to ask because it may help you when setting a budget for your event. Usually this can be leveraged by the event type and whether or not there are planned activities at your event. If there will be activities at your event, the food may not need to be an amazing spectacle as your activities are really the sole purpose for the meeting and the food may be a nice add-on. So another way of asking this question is "Is the meal going to be the center of attention?"
Is this meal going to be an Employee Appreciation meal where the meal is the sign of appreciation or will this be an awards banquet or Christmas Party?
What type of atmosphere will you be trying to portray? Is this event highly formal or a "Black Tie" event, business casual or no preference?
On your wedding day we know that it needs to be perfect and as seemless as possible as there are many moving parts that are all very important to make it a beautiful memory for years to come.
If you haven't already figured it out you probably soon will know that Catering will probably be one of the bigger of the expenses on your wedding day. That's why we have worked diligently and intentionally to be able to offer an incredible cuisine to meet all budgets. From "Plated Sit Down" meals to Nacho bars we are positive that we will be able to create something that your going to love and that your guests will remember.
Is this a corporate event?
Many times during corporate events especially trainings, seminars and conferences, your guests will not only eat one time during that day.
It is very common to see coffee services and snacks throughout the day as well Continental breakfasts, lunches and sometimes dinners following a "Social" Cocktail Hour.
The menu that you choose may be based off of the events that are happening during that day. For example if there is alot of classroom time you may decide to go with lighter meals as heavier or "Carb Filled" meals such as pastas and sandwiches could cause your guests to get tired.
Your personal assigned "Main Event" coordinator will be happy to help you through this process.
Alcohol is a factor for a number of reasons:
1. is because if there is Hard Alcohol or Liquor being served, some guests are not as interested in the food and a lighter menu can be served.
2. CAUTION, this may be the reason to offer more "Bready" or filling foods to help absorb the alcohol.
3. Also, some venues may only allow beer and wine and no harder alcohol. Some may not off that at all.
4. You may be responsible for supplying a Certified "T.A.P.S" Bar Tender or server depending on the Venue.
5. Pairing the appropriate food with specific wines or beers may be important to compliment the menu.
There are many different styles of catering possibilities out there as well as many Caterers to choose from. Not all Caterer's are created equal and some may offer more services than others. Below we will attempt to explain the differences in each style so that you can make an educated purchase decision to help ensure that you as well as your guests will be pleased with our services.
"Plated" Catering is much like a restaurant style atmosphere. This is where there is assigned wait staff or servers that will tend to the tables of your seated guests. Each course of your meal is typically delivered to each individual person in your party. This style is most commonly used at Formal Events such as Balls, Weddings and Upper Scale Parties or events.
Some things to consider prior to committing to a "Plated" Event
Although this option can be perceived as the more elegant choice than most other types of dining, this may not be the most suitable style for every event. Here are a few things to weigh off when deciding which style is right for your event:
1) Plated Meals will have extra costs incorporated due to increased, mandatory wait staff as there are payroll and gratuities involved for the wait staff. Also, you will probably be renting the plates and settings which can also come with a rental, set-up and cleaning fee.
2) Plated meals often require a staging area where the caterers and staff can arrange your food prior to bringing it out to present to your guests. This can cause to be a distraction at times for your guests if the staging is happening in plain view.
3) You will typically need to send out "Response" cards in advance to your guests and give that information to your caterers weeks prior to the event so they know how much of what type of food to prepare. You will also need to give your Caterer an accurate seating chart so they know where to deliver specific food to your guests. This will also require you to have place cards with your guests name on them at each seat based on the seating arrangements that you designed.
4) It is very common to have a "Social" or "Cocktail" hour prior to a plated meal to give your guests time to soicalize prior to being seated.
"Buffet" Style Catering is by far the most common and most popular style of catering for many reasons. This option allows for the guests to serve themselves the portion sizes and items that they choose. This gives the picky eaters, dieters and also guests with food allergies a chance to find something that they will enjoy.
This option can be used for formal and informal events.
Some things to consider prior to choosing a Buffet style menu.
1) Because this option requires little to no staff to maintain it, it is typically much less expensive than "Plated" meals.
2) This option however may not be the most suitable if you all of your guests need to be finished at the exact same time.
3) Depending on the size of your event you may require more than one line or station to eliminate long lines, frustrated guests and some guests finishing their meals before others begin. This will need to be discussed witht he caterer during the initial consultation as there can be additional charges for additional staff and set-up.
4) It is not uncommon for some guests to enjoy seconds or even thirds, especially of the proteins such as steak, chicken or fish. You may decided to purchase additional amounts of food in case this happens to be sure that all of your guests are fed.
Just like a sit-down or plated dinner, a family style meal will have your guests seated at a table while waiters bring out the food on large serving platters to be passed around, just like you were having dinner at Mom’s house on a Sunday afternoon. This is a very inviting and interactive approach to your event and can encourage interaction and conversation between guests that may not be familiar with each other and allows guests to get a chance to know each other as they dine.
Some things to consider prior to choosing "Family Style" Catering.
1) Your tables may need to be larger than normal to accomodate the space needed to hold all of the additional platters.
2) This option will incur the costs of more wait staff than a buffet meal but still much less than a "Plated" meal.
"Active Station" Dining is typically used as an "Add On" to a buffet line or can be the sole source of food. This option gives your guests the feel that their meals were individually prepared custom for them.
Typical options for this would be a "Pasta Serving" station, "Prime Rib Carving", "Turkey Carving", "Omelette Bars", Waffle Bars, Caesar Salad Bars and also Foods that need to be controlled due to food costs such as Prime Rib, Roasted Pig or Turkey.
Having multiple stations setup throughout your event area can be very helpful when you are trying to reduce the amount or length of lines.
This can be multiple Buffet lines, multiple "Active Chef" stations or even a mix of both.
This can also be fun when showcasing an "Around The World" (different ethnic foods from different countries) type of menu or even a "Market" type of menu (Fresh veggie station, carved meat section, cheeses, breads, desserts, pastas...).
It is amazing to see just how popular and trending that having a food truck style caterer has become in the last year.
Not only is having a Food Truck/Caterer service your event exciting and fun but it can also help to keep your costs down when your looking at options such as Grilled Sandwiches or burgers verses Chicken and Steak.
The guests love the idea that they can step up to the truck and order what ever they want off of the menu. This removes an enormous amount of stress from the planners as they no longer have the need to decide to the menu.
Cocktail style catering offers appetizers either before the main course or as a light meal.
Pre-made platters are great for events and venues when you are not looking for the full function of caterer and would just like to have fresh delicious food dropped off at your event.
Wraps, wings, subs, sandwiches, pin wheels, meat and cheese trays, desserts...
Our Boxed meals are made fresh daily and we service breakfast, lunch and dinner. These are great for company functions, outdoor picnics, fundraisers, airline meals, long car rides....
Boxed lunches can be custom made for each one of your guests to their liking.