We often find, particularly with new clients, that catering can be somewhat overwhelming. Whether your firm is ordering for a meeting, or you are a recently engaged couple planning your big wedding date, there are ways to facilitate your catering and save money doing it. Though with literally hundreds of delicious food options, traversing dozens of menus, it can be difficult to decide where to start. So we believed we would share some easy but practical methods to help.
A good place to start is to comprehend the different types of catering. Each type has a slightly different type of planning, pricing, and ordering procedures. Once you can narrow it down to one of these, it will help simplify your menu choices, while also saving you time and money on the ordering. Here are the four general types of catering to think:
1. WEDDING CATERING
While we are all familiar with wedding catering, we can also agree that catering makes a huge impact on that special day. From the special guests to the bride and groom, you want to make sure everyone eats (and celebrates) well. Decorations, dinner, dessert, and what to drink along are just part of the planning.
2. CORPORATE CATERING
From small office meetings and pieces of training to large regional events, the ability to have great food delivered on-site saves time & money while allowing you to focus on the more important task at hand, your business! Continental breakfasts, box lunches, and buffets are all popular for corporate catering.
3. SOCIAL EVENT CATERING
From birthday and retirement parties to big backyard BBQs, social events cover a wide range of events (and food). Appetizers, bartenders, and balloons are just some of what you might see catered at events like these.
4. CONCESSION CATERING
Concession catering falls into seasonal, and sporting major public events all this class. Where you will discover lots of people, you will consistently discover catered food. Preparing for these takes a pro to ensure you have all the right menu options for your audience. Here you will find all the public favorites from hot dogs and hamburgers to chili cheese fries and ice cream.
And now that you have your classification determined, let’s talk about some ways to keep your money. You have to recall that you are in control of what you order. Sounds simple, right? The fact is with so many options it’s easy to overlook your budget and end up with more food than you can afford (or can eat!). The following four tips will help your caterer save you time and money when ordering for your event.
Maintain these in mind as you evaluate your next order:
- Count of Guess Number – your catering costs are based on how many you are providing. You would be surprised how many people attempt to order when they don’t understand how many people are arriving. Knowing your guest count before you call to get an estimate will help you better budget and destroy confusing and excessive menu changes at the last minute.
- Delivery Method Decision – lots of people think catering only arrives one way, but a good master caterer will offer you up to 4 extra methods to have your food delivered including:
- Pick Up: you pick up the food at the caterer’s location. Not as common, but an option to save on your delivery fee or save time on a rush order.
- Drop Off: One of the most common, particularly for corporate and social events, where the caterer simply delivers the food in disposable containers (foil pans, coffee boxes, etc).
- Real Display: For buffets and banquets you may consider this option as the caterer will prepare the tables and food serving area including linen, glasses, tableware, etc.
- Full Service: In addition to the real display, you can also choose to have the food professionally served and even cooked on-site!
- How Do You Want to Improve Your Event – Think of these as the “optional or upgrade items” you can choose to add to your event. Although this may not seem like much to do with the food, it’s an integral part of the event planning that any professional caterer should offer. Enhancements may include decorations, linen, china, servers, on-site chefs, bartenders, DJ, and more.
- Understand Your Budget Before You Order – Although this is often the first thing you may consider, it’s often the last thing that is figured out. For most caterers, pricing is decided on a dollar/person pricing model. So an easy method to create your budget is just to choose the total amount you want to spend and divide it by the estimated number of people. Keeping this number, to begin with, will help the caterer get you more for your money!
Recall, experienced caterers are part artists and part servants. There is nobody we want more than to supply you with excellent food that fits both your event or occasion and your budget. The more information we have, the better the job we can do. Or as we like to speak: Great Food. Great Service. Stress-Free.
Let’s talk about catering for an incredible event!
Need extra special food to celebrate? The Istanbul Grill Catering is on Service!