When you work with a professional catering service you will start to build a relationship with your caterer and your caterer will start to build a profile of who you are, what your event is, and design your menu to suit . You may have repeating weekly events or quarterly functions by engaging a preferred caterer you will be able to keep your events fresh and exciting. By placing your orders in advance you will be sure that your preferred caterer is available for your function and they will be best able to plan for your needs.
Briefing your caterer
- Let your caterer know exactly what you are planning it really helps them understand your requirements. For example; is it a function to be held seated during a presentation or is a it a cocktail function with drinks, or something informal with a group of hungry men.
- Give your caterer an idea of how much you have for your food budget
- Use emails to ensure everyone is on the same page, and that your function is confirmed. It never hurts to follow up before hand to ensure everything is good to go.
- Double check your dates and times – When ordering state the Day, as well as the Date and Time
- Numbers – Approximately how many people are you expecting , you don’t necessarily need to know the exact number when you are engaging your caterer let them know your numbers of invitations lock in the date and keep them updated as your RSVP’s come in – if you invite 300 people depending on the type of event you may have anywhere from 80 – 250 RSVP’s
- Provide accurate delivery instructions and any tips for access/ parking. This is a real help to the driver (particularly in post earthquake Christchurch!)
- Allow time for delivery, if you are serving lunch at 12.00pm don’t book the catering to arrive at 12.00pm book for 11.40 or 11.45 this gives time for the food to arrive to you and be unloaded and allow you to put things out ready for service, also remember that occasionally there can be delays due to traffic so this should help avoid any stress.
- Dietary requirements – your caterer should be able to look after all your guests needs, if you are planning a cocktail function check the menu allows for vegetarian and gluten free at the least. If you are having a smaller lunch group advise the caterer of individual guests requirements.
- If you are new to the caterer phone to talk to them about their menus and check that what you are ordering is the right kind of thing for you. Some menus may be more suitable for different group profiles, your cater will be able to advise you on how much food you will need.
- Give feedback – Keep your caterer up to date what is working for you – let them know what you like and if there is something that is not working for your group it is fine to let them know, they will be happy to adjust things to suit your groups needs.
- Find out what your caterer will supply what other items might you need? Some caterers will provide napkins some won’t or will charge you for these, some are able to provide a full range of equipment and others will collaborate with hire equipment companies.