If you or the business you are in is planning to hold an event that involves food, bringing in a company to handle the catering chores may be the smartest way to organize. But for many smaller companies it can be a time for watching that budget as well. While bringing in event catering companies may feel like a luxury you can’t afford, there are ways to use that caterer to your advantage. It all comes down to making some smart decisions when planning the event. Just how much work do they need to do and what can your staff take on? Here are a few pointers on how to get a handle on your budget and still end up with an effective and very presentable event.
Control the Bar
This is one area that can be the most expensive, so take control of it from the start. If you are planning a lunch event, you might even want to limit it to simply beer, two kinds of wine (red and white) and perhaps one cocktail or mixed drink. If you truly want to limit this you can simply have beer and wine, which will simplify the bar and your license. Don’t forget to take into account some of your guests may not want an alcoholic drink but want to be part of the crowd, so provide one drink that is festive without alcohol. To keep a simple bar interesting, try offering selections from a local brewery or winery. Pairing up wine with small plates of finger food can keep the whole thing in the cocktail party range, cutting down further on costs. It is all about atmosphere, so consider your audience before you plan.
Provide Your Own Servers
One of the biggest costs for a catered event is the labor. But many companies will offer to do everything right up to the event, and then let your own staff take on the serving. This means that they will provide not only the food, all prepared beforehand, but also the linens, tableware and serving trays. If you have someone with a pouring license in your office, you may not even need a bartender for the event. This is especially true if you decide to keep the drinks to one glass of wine or beer with the meal, at a sit down event. You may not want your staff all working during the event, or your salespeople may see this as a chance to mix and mingle with clients and improve their relationships. Staffing your own events can be a positive when handled right.
Keep It Simple
Sometimes the best catered events are those that are simple for everyone. If you are holding an event in the summer, perhaps choose something like a company picnic in a local park instead of a big catered fancy event. If you are introducing a new product to your customers, why not a cocktail party instead of a sit down dinner? You might want to pick a venue that has a kitchen on the premises, which will cut down on your costs and allow a simpler menu. Whenever in doubt, always stick to the simplest solution with the least number of things that can go wrong. After all, the point of the event is to get together. Your guests will likely not notice you didn’t go with the fancy china or a full bar, if they actually value the event and what you present at it.