Chances are even if you want to form your catering business into serving
only one specific niche, you may have to do a variety of events early on
to get some paid jobs and build your reputation. Every style of event is
slightly (or greatly) different, and it’s always a good idea to have
multiple plans prepared for different events. You wouldn’t plan a formal
wedding and an informal outdoor graduation party the same way, so why
would you assume two other events should be planned the same way?
Event catering means taking a look at every single specific event and
planning the setup according to its unique parameters as well as playing
to your strengths and abilities as a catering company.
Catering for informal indoor events
Event catering can vary greatly depending on whether the set up is formal
or informal, or if the event is inside or outside. These are perhaps the four
greatest factors overall in determining your set up for any given event.
Informal indoor events are some of the easiest to cater because there isn’t
the same high level of expectation for decorations that you have for a wedding,
a 50 year anniversary, or a Fortune 500 Company’s event. In this case the
normal settings and place mats will normally do, with basic nice table cloths,
paper napkins, and a buffet style set up. These require the least amount of
work among the various events to cater and should be easy for an experienced
catering company. Since this is an outdoor setup, don’t forget to make all the
necessary plans for preparing food at one location and then transporting it to
the outdoor setting.
Catering for informal outdoor events
While the informal aspect of an outdoor event (many high school graduation
parties fall under this category) may make it much easier to set up than a
formal setting, it’s important to be prepared for all the extra challenges
that being outdoors can bring. Having a shaded area for buffet set up is
critical, as too much sun and heat on the food can lead to health issues.
In addition, there’s the wind issue. You might not think about the wind
too much, but when it starts blowing napkins across a park, it becomes
a big issue. Bring napkin holders, tape, and any other supplies you have
to make sure lighter objects don’t get blown away or tossed around.
Nothing ruins a nice catering set up more quickly than major gusts of
wind when there’s nothing to hold the plastic plates, silverware, and
napkins down on the table.
Catering for formal indoor events
You need to consider many different issues when setting up a formal indoor
catering event. The exact set up of the tables are important, especially
since many set ups will need a long formal or “VIP” table near the front
with a catering or buffet style table to the side if that’s necessary or requested.
Set up for these types of events should include the best table clothes,
cloth napkins with silverware folded inside, and as formal a layout as you
can provide. Don’t forget centerpieces or other decorations for each individual
table, and it’s very important to get clear instructions on what’s expected.
Show up early and give yourself plenty of leeway for set up times, so if
something goes wrong you still have plenty of time to fix it before the
event takes place. Employees should be dressed to match the formality
of the event.
Catering for formal outdoor events
Catering for formal outdoor events can be a little trickier, as you are required
to bring the full level of high service expected while having to prepare for
whatever Mother Nature might throw at you. This includes being prepared
for heavy sun, having awnings prepared for shade or bad weather, and being
prepared for even smaller nuisances like wind. Formal attire will still be
required in most situations, and you need to make sure to have the transportation
issue figured out as food will need to be prepared at one area and brought to
wherever the outdoor event is taking place.
When setting up your catering company, a long term strategy for dealing with
event catering is specializing in one or two types of events. This has the advantage
of allowing you to really become an expert in one or two particular styles and charge
premium prices for those events as your reputation climbs.
If you are serious about starting your own catering business then you
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