Tips for catering at your next corporate event

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The structure of business meetings has evolved over the past few years. Whilst most are still about number crunching, laying the groundwork for success to come and motivating the team, they also provide the perfect opportunity to reward employees for their hard work and even entertain some prospective clients.

Corporate events, including business meetings have taken on a different atmosphere. Brainstorming sessions and sales pitches are interspersed with guests speakers and refreshment breaks to energise everyone and to promote a feeling of goodwill.

When it comes to the catering at an important event, it is essential that you have a plan of action. Although most catering companies are highly experienced in catering for all types of business events, it helps if you have an idea of what you want before you start.

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Here are a few catering tips for you to help make your next business event a resounding success:

Hire a Caterer

Unless the venue has in-house catering, you will need to choose a catering company. If you stage regular events, it is worth finding a caterer that you really like and sticking with them, as they will very often provide discounts to companies who book multiple events well in advance. Speak to friends and colleagues to see if they can recommend a caterer they have recently used and also search on Google where you should find reviews on caterers too.

Do a Head Count

Before you make any catering decisions you will need to have a rough idea of how many people will attend the event. At this stage it only needs to be an estimate and you can always firm up nearer the date. A rough head count will help you set the budget and start to think of a menu.

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Do you need to hire a Bar

Depending on the type of event, whether it is a daytime or evening event and the purpose of the event is training or a business meeting, then there will be no need for alcohol. If, however, you are planning a seated dinner with presentations, or a standing reception, a bar may be required. The caterer will usually be happy to provide a bar along with the staff and charge on consumption. This also gives you the flexibility to restrict the types of alcohol available for your guests.

Event Schedule

Timings are very important when planning any event. Set the itinerary as soon as you can and work out when would be best to serve food in between presentations and speakers. The caterer will then be able to work out their schedule to fit with yours.

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Menu

All caterers should offer a free tasting so that you can sample first hand the food they can produce, so be sure to ask for this before you confirm your booking. Some will charge for the tasting but take the cost off the final bill if you book them. Whatever the size of your event, it is inevitable that there will be a number of special dietary requirements and it is important to offer choices. A good caterer should be able to provide you with a diverse menu at no additional cost, so always try and include vegetarian and vegan options. Offer a choice of drinks including soft drinks as not everyone will want to drink alcohol.

Planning any corporate event can be stressful, but if you plan your catering well in advance, make key decisions as soon as possible and book a catering company with a good reputation, then your event should run seamlessly.

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