If you have been tasked with organising your company’s corporate catering, or you are new to corporate catering and have a few questions that you want answered, you have come to the right place. Companies Catering was started to make the process of looking for caterers in the UK as easy and simple as possible. Having gone through the struggle of trying to find a suitable caterer for an event we were organising, and taking a shot in the dark, we realised we couldn’t be alone in this frustration, so Companies Catering was born. Corporate catering can be as simple as sausage rolls and cheese sandwiches, or it can be as elaborate as your imagination will allow. Whatever your budget or your requirements, you can rest assured that we have a suitable caterer listed on Companies Catering who has been peer reviewed and capable of exceeding your corporate catering expectations.
The task of organising a corporate catering event can seem a daunting one to the uninitiated, but it needn’t be. With a little planning and a checklist, you can work wonders in no time. There are a number of factors you will have to take into consideration, so read on for some advice as to what to consider when organising your corporate catering:
Set the date. People’s diaries fill up fast, and if you want to ensure that you have the right corporate catering company for your event, then you will want to book them early.
Budget. Work out exactly how many people you have to cater for. The more you have, the less food you will actually need as a proportion of guests; you don’t need to provide enough food for everyone to have a full portion each and you don’t want to be left with a lot of wasted food. Work on feeding 34 people for every 40 you invite. If you are worried about running out of food, ask the corporate catering company to lay on plenty of cheap items like bread and dips, chips etc. Also don’t be afraid to ask for discounts. As a rough estimate regarding food, you will require:
Canapés. People typically eat an average of 4 canapés each (if they are going on to dinner). If it is just canapés, you will want 8 - 10 bites each.
Drink. With canapés, expect people to want 3 glasses of wine. If you are hosting a sit-down dinner, expect people to drink ½ a bottle of wine each with the meal, and an average of 4 drinks afterwards (including soft).
Food. If you are catering it yourself, £10 per/head will give you a decent 3 courses. If you are employing an external corporate catering company, it can range from £20 per/head for a very basic buffet, to £100 per/head for a lavish 3 course meal with coffee, cheese and table decorations.
Number of guests. This will be determined largely by the budget and of course who has to be there, but it will also depend on the size of your venue.
Venue. You can obviously have more people at an outdoor corporate catering event, but do bear in mind the changeable weather, and have a back up plan should it start to rain - nothing is going to dampen spirits as quickly as a rain shower! Keep in mind your numbers here because if you require a back up option to host your event inside (in an emergency), you have to be able to fit all of your guests in that space. Also your venue could largely determine what type of catering you can have. Some places require you to use their in-house caterers, in which case it will typically work out cheaper, but you will be limited to what they offer, whilst others will allow you the flexibility of hiring in your own corporate catering company.
Menu. Always insist on a menu tasting when you have narrowed down your choice of corporate catering companies. Food can make or break an event and you want it to wow for the right reasons. Some foods will naturally suit some venues, for example if you are having an outdoors event consider hosting a barbecue: instead of doing burgers, sausages, and chicken, look at other cuts of meat, exotic marinades, and plenty of different side dishes to go with them. Or why not think about a hog roast? Corporate catering doesn’t have to be stuffy and boring, a corporate barbecue is going to be so much more exclusive than your standard Saturday-afternoon-in-the-park affair. For smaller events cold fork foods require less preparation and can be cheaper than hot foods. Whatever food you do decide on, ensure you organise a vegetarian option and try to accommodate as many other dietary requirements as possible.
Drinks. Your corporate catering company might able to offer you a bar service for drinks, but if you have a low budget, you may want to do this on your own. Just make sure that there are plenty of bottles of water, soft drinks, and beers available. One point to note: don’t site the bar area too close to the front door as this will create a bottle neck when guests arrive.
Staff. What ever size of event you are hosting, it is always worth considering hiring staff. Just make sure they are thoroughly briefed on what is expected of them before hand.
As well as all of the above, when organising your corporate catering there are a few ‘hidden’ extras that you will want to think about:
Tables, chairs, cutlery and napkins (if it’s not the caterer, who is supplying them?)
Table decorations and venue decorations (if it’s not the caterer, who is supplying them?)
Setting up, clearing up and cleaning up (if it’s not the caterer, who?)
Delivery costs, staff hire costs (if it’s not the caterer, who?)
Remember VAT. All corporate catering companies will charge 20% on top of your final bill so factor it into the budget, don’t be that person that gets caught out and has to go cap in hand to the boss for more money because they didn’t realise VAT wasn’t included in the quote.
On a final note, it would be wise to set some money aside as a back up. When organising corporate catering, unexpected costs can crop up at anytime. Expect the unexpected and you shouldn’t be caught off guard.