Tuesday, 07 August 2018 23:35

Effective Corporate Catering Doesn’t Need to Cost a Fortune

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There’s middle ground between stingy and extravagant for business events. Attendees notice what you do – which is to facilitate a meaningful occasion.

In case you’ve never produced a corporate meeting before, let’s get down to some essential facts of business events:

  1. Food and beverages are almost always required and expected.
  2. Food can be a distraction.
  3. Food can blow a budget.
  4. It’s up to you, the event planner, to negotiate tug and pull of these factors.

Of course most corporate caterers won’t tell you all of this. Neither will wedding caterers, in an age when simpler affairs in rustic or otherwise offbeat venues are becoming the norm.

But a good corporate caterer in Los Angeles knows – perhaps because business in Southern California involves many creative class crowds – that the tried and true status quo isn’t so true anymore. The food and beverage service is there to serve the bigger need: the event is staged to accomplish a business goal, and full stomachs aren’t that. 

For many business event planners, great attention is given to presentations, product introductions, interactive gatherings, and networking. Food and beverages play a supporting role. At the same time, don’t ever put more than three people in a room without providing something to eat. They’ll leave too quickly if you don’t. That would effectively diminish the results of the meeting if they didn’t stick around to talk about the content of the presentation.

The smart event planner and their business caterer consider all these factors and approach it with a strategy. Keeping in mind these words,“the food serves the event,” the following priorities should be observed:

  • Fast service:If guests have to wait more than five minutes to get their meal or snack, that’s too much time lost. Make sure the foodservice is arranged or choreographed to move things along quickly.
  • Easy to hold:Unless you’re doing a sit-down meal, which is increasingly rare, be sure the menu items facilitate stand-up eating. But casual high-top tables can help the clumsier (or hungrier) among us negotiate items that might require both a knife and a fork.
  • Quiet:If the food service is sandwiched between business proceedings, use service ware that is quiet. Plastic instead of silver and china helps with that.
  • Facilitate networking:The move-around meal allows people to break outside their closer colleagues.
  • Fresh breath:The Queen of England prohibits garlic and onions from service at Buckingham Palace. Most of us may never be royals, but can still be judicious about menu items that have a lingering effect on the palate.
  • Diverse food interests:In a world of gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and confirmed carnivores, the menu needs to offer options. This is not a small matter.
  • Reasonable menu for a budget-appropriate selection:At the end of the day, business is about investing in people – but within limits. Overly lavish events (including top-shelf liquors when a portion of the invited guests may not imbibe at all) may be considered inappropriate at some companies. Find the middle ground between stingy and extravagant.

Every company is different in how these points are interpreted. It’s a smart strategy to develop your event catering plan with the input of a handful of advisors who understand the firm’s culture, expectations, history and the mix of those who will be in attendance.

Huntington Catering

Huntington Catering is an innovative, full service Los Angeles catering company providing wedding, corporate and private event catering and at home with the most sought after special event venues in Southern California.

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