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How to Cater for your next Social Event
Catering for an event often causes heart palpitations, even in the most seasoned event organiser. There are very few components of an event that can truly make or break it, but hungry guests top the list. That’s why catering for an event can feel like the hardest thing to organise, but it really should be the easiest. When choosing what food and how much of it, we suggest leaving it in the hands of the professionals — people that cater events daily.
To help you to cater for your next event, we asked our friends at The Kenmore for their recommendations. The Kenmore not only has an award-winning restaurant but multiple function spaces as well, so they really know their stuff when it comes to catering. Here are the top three questions they get asked when it comes to feeding the masses and some easy tips to take the stress out of catering.
How Much Food Does Each Person Need?
The first thing you need to consider is the time of your event. As you can imagine, there is a big difference between hosting something during ‘’lunchtime”, which is traditionally 12pm – 2pm, and an afternoon event, say from 3pm – 5pm. People will be expecting and requiring a lot more food at regular mealtimes than they will for afternoon tea. Likewise, for an evening celebration, something from 6pm – 8pm is going to require a more substantial meal than an event starting at 8pm, as people will naturally eat before attending.
So, how does this translate to portion size?
For a lunchtime event (12pm-2pm), we suggest choosing a two or three-course option for a seated event. For a cocktail style function, we recommend anywhere between 6 – 8 pieces per person to satisfy guests.
For an afternoon event (3pm-5pm), consider one light course or perhaps a grazing table. An antipasto option is a great choice or if you really want to treat your guests, consider a decadent dessert grazing table with fruit – perfect for afternoon tea; allow approximately 3 – 4 pieces per person.
In the evening, if you are aiming for an all-out dinnertime extravaganza (6pm – 8pm), three courses are a must to fill hungry tummies. For a cocktail style event, you should be looking at 10 – 12 pieces to keep guests fuelled for an evening of festivities.
For a late celebration that will see guests party into the wee hours of the morning (8pm onwards), aim for some substantial platters that pair well when people are drinking and dancing; think plates with sliders, chips or pizza, always a popular choice for event celebrations – allow approximately 3 pieces per person.
Tip From The Kenmore: Cocktail events are no longer restricted by canapes. Just like at the Kenmore, plenty of venues also offer grazing tables and platter options, as well as traditional cold and hot canape options. No matter what style of cocktail function, casual or formal, we can help you choose the right food option to suit your event.
What If I Have Guests That Have Dietary Requirements?
Many people have dietary requirements and most venues cater for them easily. Although it is always helpful if the venue knows in advance, as it is impossible to cater to everybody’s individual dietary specifications. We suggest covering what you can in your main catering choices and then advising your co-ordinator on more specific requirements outside of those.
Tip From The Kenmore: At the Kenmore, our team want to make planning for your event and any dietary requirements a breeze. So, we recommend that you make one of your meal selections vegetarian as well as gluten and dairy-free; this will cover a lot of your guests with specific requirements immediately. When selecting your canapes, mix up your choices to cover these same dietary intolerances.
Even if you are a meat eater yourself, think how much easier your event will be without people having to ask you if there is any food for them on the night and you trying to arrange food with the kitchen last minute.
I Don’t Want To Under-Cater, But I Don’t Want To Under-Cater…
How do you find the right balance with the amount of food you order? You don’t want to under -cater but you don’t want heaps of food left over on the night either. To be honest, venues don’t want this either, as there is nothing worse than an under-catered event with guests leaving hungry or should we say hangry! Not only that, but it reflects poorly on the venue itself, not just on the event organiser. On the flip side, an over-catered event always seems like a waste of delicious food and leaves the organiser frustrated, especially as venues are no longer allowed to let guests take left-overs home, due to food licensing regulations.
Tip From The Kenmore: If you are still concerned, we suggest you discuss with your venue. Compromise by agreeing on an amount that you think will satisfy your guests, then ask if there is an opportunity to order additional food on the day. Like us here at the Kenmore, most venues will be happy for you to add bar snack items, like bowls of chips or cheese platters to cover particularly ravenous guests. You will need to agree to a time frame so that the kitchen has ample time to prepare.
This will give you peace of mind, and the balance between over-ordering and keeping your guests happy.
The Kenmore has a range of function menu options that cater to events of any size; from intimate seated meals to large events and cocktail style gatherings. Our friendly team are happy to help you create a memorable experience for your next team meeting, birthday celebration or corporate launch.
If you want a venue that will help every step of the way and provide amazing catering options for your next social event, the answer is — The Kenmore.