The catering industry has seen a high demand in recent years, with more people and companies seeking a professional and intimate catering approach to important events. In 2019 alone, over $22 billion was spent in an industry that has grown over 20% in the past decade, creating a promising future for the catering industry.
If you’re a seasoned professional or an up and coming catering company, these are some of the most helpful catering tips any caterer should pay attention to in order to have a successful event. Whether you’re serving a small personal gathering or a corporate event with over 100 attendees, these tips will help you each step of the way.
Choose Service Style
One of the most important considerations you have to keep in mind is the service style for your catering service. While each style has pros and cons, pick the one that best fits your client’s needs, budget, and event setting to encounter the least amount of complications along the way.
Buffet – This service allows guests to serve themselves, saving money on additional staff. However, some cons include long serving lines and more difficulty keeping track of food temperatures.
Tray pass – This service is very similar to buffet style, but some advantages include controlling food portions from the catering staff and a speedier process of plating food. This reduces wait times for guests but adds more staff to the event, making the cost higher.
Plated – This style is for sit-down events where each guest will be served individually, which provides a more intimate and upscale atmosphere. While this removes any long lines and gives you complete control of portioning and access to food temperature monitoring it is also the most expensive option due to all the additional staff.
Keep in Mind the Event Layout
When planning out your catering services keep in mind your working station and where guests will be seated. This will give you a better sense of how to best prepare your staff, make sure to put your working station in a spot where there is plenty of space causing no congestions or fire hazards. Planning ahead will optimize your operations from setting up, to finishing and cleaning up after the event.
Think of Types of Guests When Preparing the Menu
When creating a menu for an upcoming event, think of the guests attending the event. What sort of event will it be? Will a wide variety of finger foods be enough to satisfy their appetite? Will there be lots of kids and teenagers, if so, you might want to increase your portions and plan accordingly.
Speaking of portions, if you plan on serving meat, try slicing it into thin slices. It’s been known that most of the time guests will pick three slices of meat no matter the type of cut. Therefore slicing thin portions will not only stretch your money but also reduce food waste as people who want more can always go back and get more.
Pick Hot and Cold Foods
When creating a menu, make sure you have both hot and cold food options available. This makes it much easier to prep in advance as not all items will need to be served hot. This is especially true if you are planning on using the venue’s kitchen and don’t have enough oven space for all the food. Minimize the stress by choosing foods that can be served cold and prep those items in advance.
Offer Alternative Menus
Offering vegetarian options will ensure that non-meat lovers will also get the opportunity to enjoy your delicious meals. Meat and dairy-free choices are becoming increasingly popular and this will ensure nobody will be left out.
Additionally, provide as much allergen information as possible and label each dish if needed. Keep in mind any dairy, gluten, or nut allergies and provide helpful information in case guests have any questions or concerns.
Prep As Much As You Can
Prepping ahead of the event is the key to having a successful catering event. Whether it is making cold dishes beforehand, cutting fruits and vegetables, or setting up the tables and kitchen stations, make sure you do as much as you can before guests arrive. This will help you focus completely on serving the food, making sure food temperatures are set correctly, and attending to the needs of the guests.
Food Temperatures – Ensure all meats and seafood are cooked in temperatures over 325 degrees fahrenheit. Keep cool items in your storage space at least 40 degrees fahrenheit or below. Keep an interior and exterior thermometer in hand to make sure foods are out of the “danger zones,” which are between 40-140 degrees fahrenheit, especially when left out for people to serve themselves.
Avoid Cross Contamination – Make sure you use different cutting boards when handling raw food, cooked food, and fresh produce. Wash all kitchen utensils after each use with warm soapy water and make sure everyone in your staff is constantly washing their hands.
Presentation Speaks Volumes
Make your presentation stand out by placing colors that pop on each dish, this can be in the form of herbs, flowers, nuts, or sprinkles. This extra touch will make your food more appealing and appetizing.
The same can be said for the venue. Adding decorative elements around the venue that match the setting, theme, and time of the year will go a long way in creating a fun, inviting atmosphere for each guest.
Shop Local With Peddler’s Son
All of these tips will get you on your way to having a successful catering event, but nothing is more important than the food you prepare and serve. Ensure each and every dish is made with the freshest ingredients at the highest quality. Since 1988, Peddler’s Son has been providing exceptional customer service through transparency and integrity throughout the state of Arizona. Contact us today to learn more about our wide range of quality products and grow your catering business with Peddler’s Son.