To many people, corporate events are boring and serious. They only show up at such an event because it’s usually mandatory at work; otherwise, they wouldn’t bother with it at all. However, corporate events, at their heart, are parties. Yes, they’re parties with a purpose, so they’re more than just for pleasure, but pleasure should still be an important element. And what else other than good food can provide that?
Whether it’s a meeting, seminar, conference, trade show or some other type of corporate event, you can be sure that there’s food present. It’s what a lot of attendees look forward to — sometimes, the only thing they come for — so it’s important that your chosen corporate catering provider is up for the job of serving good food to them. It’s all part of an enriching and memorable experience, which millennials value. Considering that more than a third of the total workforce are made up of millennials, listening to what they want is crucial for increasing attendee engagement.
But how do you pick which caterer is the best for your event when there are many choices to select from? Start with a list, and whittle them down according to the following considerations:
The bigger the budget, the more options you have. But if the allotted budget isn’t enough, there are some options you must strike out, like a five-course gourmet buffet. However, the catering industry is quite competitive, so you’ll still find more than enough caterers to choose from in the mid- to low-budget range. Also, you may have more flexibility with caterers that let you build your own menu. You can handpick items to maximize the budget you’re working with.
Whether you’ll serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or tea time food depends on what time the event is scheduled to take place. Once you determine that, you can look for caterers that specialize in the specific area. Some caterers are known for their breakfast options, while others rock the tea party events. A caterer can tell you that they can serve food for any meal, but customer reviews should give you more idea about their strongest suit, as well as their past experience.
Let’s say you’ve confirmed that your event is scheduled for dinner. But is it a formal event or a casual one? Is it a gala in a ballroom of a five-star hotel, or more like a team building activity in a function room of a resort? As mentioned, caterers have specializations, so the best caterers for black-tie affairs aren’t necessarily the best ones for beach parties. Sort out what you need first before looking for caterers that seem like a good fit for your purpose.
When you have an initial list of caterers based on the previous decision factors, it’s time to reach out to them for inquiries. Don’t hold back — ask as many questions as you need. Take note of those caterers who are prompt to reply, clear with their responses, and interested in knowing more about what you want (like dietary considerations for some attendees, for example). It’s these little things that can tell you whether or not a caterer will be as responsive as you expect them to be on the days leading up to the event and on the day itself. The last thing you want is to deal with an unreliable caterer especially when you have other things to plan.
You get to test drive a car before buying it, so it’s only reasonable to get to taste a sample of the menu before booking a caterer. A menu can look impressive on paper, but that means nothing if the food ends up tasting like, well, paper. A simpler menu with much better flavors will be appreciated more by attendees. So make a short list of potential caterers and schedule a tasting with each one. If they can’t offer a tasting, bump them off the list.
Whatever happens, don’t settle for less when it comes to choosing a corporate caterer. It takes more than good food to hold a successful corporate event. But sometimes, all it takes is good food to save an unsuccessful one.