The Essentials of Event Catering


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Event catering is one responsibility that tends to the intimate person put in charge. This is because it involves a lot of goals and objectives, with many considerations being taken into account. You have to be responsible for myriad decisions, and be confident in the direction you take. But if you make an unpopular choice, it can potentially color the whole event in a bad light.

Unless you hired or have access to a professional event organizer to cater to your event or to provide tips and advice, you may find the process intimidating. Here is our handy list of the most important do’s and don’ts that you can keep in mind for catering and organizing an event.


1.     Numbers

One of the most important and indeed the prime step involved in organizing for and catering an event is drawing up the shortlist of guests and attendees. This is the list which forms the entire basis of the event since it is this list which will be catered to.

This calculation of numbers should be done at least two months in advance because the last thing you want is to under-cater your events. That will mean rationing your food which may leave guests unsatisfied or cause last-minute mad dash and scramble to accommodate the hungry attendees, which will cause general disorganization and chaos on the day.

Conversely, over-catering will mean an excess of food and misallocation of company and business resources and finances, which will reflect on your decision-making skills. With a concrete number in hand, you can manage and negotiate the best rates and get to work on organizing your furnishings and fittings and selecting the venue space.

2. Research

You should ideally research on and consult with numerous event catering organizations and outlets. The worst mistake you can do is jump on the cheapest company you find, thinking you have gotten the best offer. Chances are, if you found a budget-rate and widely available company on the first try, then you can likely find even better elsewhere.

Apart from this, it is good business sense to choose from a list of options after comparing their various pros and cons. Be mindful that you only go for companies that have experience of professional catering since the requirements for professional catering and the quality expected as well as the commitment to deadlines is very important and different than potlucks or casual catering.

3. Open Communication

The last thing you would want are arguments and disagreements on the particulars and details with your event caterer on the day itself. Thus it is very important for you to communicate openly, directly and effectively to express your needs and requirements to the catering service.

Be as in-depth and thorough as possible since that will remove the risk of anything going wrong from your shoulders as well as give clarity and direction to the catering company.


1. Complicated Menu

Unless your event is a for a smaller exclusive clientele or audiences like the board of directors or shareholders or high-level investors and the like, you should generally not opt for complicated menus.

The more complicated the menu, the more time is required to perfect and prepare it, which means more chances for it to go wrong if it is not given the proper time and attention.

Exotic dishes can be managed for settings where there are 10 or even 20 people but you very well can’t expect complicated chef-prepared dishes for an audience of 100 attendees. Pick options which are exciting and appealing but remember catering for 100 people requires a full staff and proper preparation time.

2. Last Minute Changes

This is one of the major things to avoid while organizing and catering for an event. It is to avoid this exact possibility that we recommend you do your complete research prior to the event.

Thorough research will allow you to explore and analyze every option and possibility and decide what exactly you want. If there is one thing which impacts and brings down event catering it is last minute changes and requests to the venue and services.

An experienced catering company will be able to make changes and help you navigate complications that come up. But the best thing you can do is to ensure all of your decisions are solid and well considered, as far in advance as possible. If you leave everything to the last minute, and problems surface, this may reflect negatively on your skills and qualifications as a trusted decision maker.

For your caterer, the preparation for the food and dishes often starts days in advance, with the sourcing and preparation of ingredients. So if you decide to change the entire menu from Indian cuisine to homestyle Italian the day before the event, then it may be virtually impossible for your catering company to pull this off, no matter how experienced.

3. Micromanaging

Once you have expressed your needs, demands, and requirements to the professional catering company, then step back or aside and let them do their work.

That means no constant checking in every day and especially not trying to direct and control their catering staff on the day of the event. Catering staff has their own protocols to follow; thus, you attempting to manage them will disturb their flow of operations.

Instead, what you can opt to do is set up a tasting prior to the event, and make comments to your point of contact or supervisor in charge. This will allow quick decision making and alterations in advance of the event day, rather than attempting to corral and control the catering staff throughout the event itself.


There are many other do’s and don’ts involved when planning for and catering an event – especially a corporate event. But the above are some of the broad key points of advice that you must keep in mind.

By having a proper understanding of these tips and tricks,  and keeping them in mind as you cross the items off your to-do list, you will have much more control, comfort, and clarity about the big event.

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