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Holiday Event Catering

It’s that time of year and you want to go “all out” for the holidays! You can just hear those sleigh bells ringing, you’ve written down all your party ideas, and you can’t wait to plan the perfect gala for your family and friends.

As a matter of fact, this is the one time of year when you let go of budget concerns and enjoy spoiling your guests with an extravaganza they won’t soon forget. And why not? It’s the perfect season for letting everyone know just how important they are in your life by providing them with a fun evening of holiday merriment, pulling out all the stops and offering your guests the best of everything.
 

Making Your Party Shine


 
What’s the most important part of your party? Some would argue that it’s the decorations. They are certainly integral to creating the holiday mood. You’ll want the best tree you can find, trimmed with lots of sparkling objects. Your yard, perhaps, will be decorated with Santa Claus, candy canes, twinkling lights, and more, setting the mood before your guests even enter your home.

Others would say it’s the music that’s most important. Perhaps some live music would be ideal. A pianist playing popular Christmas tunes, an acoustic guitarist, or maybe even some traditional carolers would be ideal for your soiree. Whichever you choose, music is sure to pump up the holiday mood.
 

And then there’s the food.

 
For many party throwers and party goers, this is the most important piece of the pie…or fruitcake. Seriously, how many people go to weddings, parties, and other events and then go home and comment about the food? Just about everyone!

That indicates, of course, that what you serve will be remembered the next day, though they might not remember what color Christmas balls you had on your tree or the last song the quartet sang at the close of the evening.
 

Planning that Magical Meal

 
So, let’s talk about the menu. It goes without saying, of course, that if this is your big party of the year you won’t be doing the cooking. Instead, you’ll be hiring a caterer and spending your time hobnobbing with your guests. That’s the way it should be!

That means, of course, that you only need to make decisions about what to serve and how to do it, and then you can leave the rest to a capable caterer who can manage all food-related issues including not only the food itself but also linens, tableware, and servers, if and when they are needed.
 

So, what’s the first step once you find a caterer you trust?

 
It’s deciding how you want to present the food (sit-down, appetizer stations, buffet, etc.) and all the particular of what you want to serve.

Many party hosts opt to go with buffet meals of some sort, simply because it’s the most adaptable to the space in your home. Unless, you have a huge room available for a sit-down dinner – most people don’t – you’ll want to stick with something a little less formal. If, of course, you can accommodate the
number of guests in attendance at your table(s), go for it! There’s nothing more elegant than a multi-course meal complete with holiday favorites or other food of your choosing.

If you opt for buffet, you can consider several options. For example, you may want to begin with served appetizers (here’s where the waitstaff comes in) along with champagne or other beverages and then transition to a buffet for the remainder of the meal, including desserts. Make sure, nonetheless, that there’s ample seating or standing space for those who are worried about juggling plates and drinks. You might consider bringing in small standing café tables where 3 or 4 can gather to enjoy their food.

At the holidays, a dedicated dessert table is always a nice idea. You can dress it up with fancy cookies and cakes as well as lovely decorations. Ask your caterer if they have experience in creating a dazzling dessert table that’ll wow your guests.

And what about the menu? Do you have traditional holiday favorites you’d like to include or would you like to go in a totally different direction? Do you have a theme in mind, like an Olde English Christmas or a Renaissance feast?

Whatever your pleasure, be sure before you hire the caterer that they are amenable to stepping out of the box and away from their usual menus. Of course, you might find that one of their usual menus is right up your alley, but be sure you discuss the menu in detail before you sign on the dotted line.
 

But remember…

 
No matter how elaborate your party and how fancy and delicious your food, it’s the people around you that count the most. You’ve chosen to use a caterer so that you don’t have to be stuck in the kitchen tending to the food. So, let the caterers do their job and trust their experience. If you’ve done your homework, you’ve selected a caterer you know will make your party one that your guests will remember for years to come.

Choosing Catering Companies: Don’t Just Look at the Price

We’ve all turned to catering companies at one time or another for a special occasion happening in our life or the lives of our family. We’ve hesitantly (or eagerly) abandoned the idea of preparing all the food for our event in favour of turning the job over to the professionals and just sitting back and watching. For many, it’s hard to hand over the pots, pans, spatulas, and favourite recipes to others, while some of us see it as a huge relief that there’s someone else actually willing to do all the preparation and cooking!

Where do I begin?

 
So, you’ve thought long and hard about your options and you’ve made the decision to pass the reins to the pros for that anniversary dinner, wedding reception, retirement party, family reunion, or corporate event. That’s step number one.

But how do you proceed from there and how do you determine if a specific catering company amongst dozens of catering companies in your city or town is the right one for your event…and for you? What should you be looking for as you begin to whittle down the list of catering companies in your region? What characteristics are essential in a good caterer?

Teamwork

 
A catering company is more than just the owner. Or the chef. Or the servers. A good catering company is represented by a cohesive group of individuals that WORK TOGETHER to make events run seamlessly. That team works in tandem from day one to craft the event of your dreams.

How will you know whether there’s a good dynamic amongst the team members at a particular catering company? Often, you can see it from the moment you enter their location or when you talk to various individuals on the phone. You’ll sense the ease of communication from one team member to the other.

But if you’re worried that you’re not that astute, check with references who’ve used the company in the past. Ask them if one hand knows what the other hand is doing, so to speak. Check with former clients and find out how the event transitioned from an idea on paper to a real-life event? Did the owner/manager properly convey your wishes to the chef and other staff members? Were the staff members pleasant towards each other? Did they anticipate each other’s needs?

Sounds like relationship questions, right? Well, they are! You’re looking for a team with a good working relationship and, when you find it, you can be assured that working with that team will be easy for you, too.

Passion

 
When an individual has a passion for their work, you can usually bet on the chance that their job is well done. And, often, you can simply observe how that person exudes passion for their profession with just one meeting.

So, do you want a caterer who likes his job (or does it for the money), or do you want a caterer with a passion for food?

The answer is simple, of course, but it isn’t always easy to find catering companies that aren’t just going through the motions of catering your special event. You want one that truly knows and loves food and what they can do with it.

That likely means finding a catering company that’s creative with their menu. Creative not only means that they’ve shown you plenty of interesting options for your party, but it also means that they’re willing to step out of the box to come up with ideas that fit your wants and needs. Of course, limits will apply depending on the size of your affair, but the sure sign of a passion for food is the desire to manipulate it to create something wonderful.

Specialists

 
Anyone can cater a party or other event. Perhaps you’ve had offers from your close friend who loves to cook, your aunt who’s been hosting family events for the last 40 years, or your neighbor who wants to “get their foot in the door” by cooking for your next special event.

You may be tempted. But – remember – certain special events only happen once in a lifetime, so don’t you deserve the best? What you need for your party is a team of individuals who are specialists in the field of catering. Why? Because they’ll leave no stone unturned and won’t drop the proverbial ball.

They won’t run out of appetizers. They know how many are required for a party the size of yours.

They won’t forget the cream and sugar for the coffee or the mustard for the hot dogs.

They’ll provide beautiful linens and elegant tableware, not plastic tablecloths and cutlery.

Specialists of any kind boast a wealth of experience in their field, and catering companies who are specialists have developed a reputation for being good at what they do. They’ll see that everything is done well from start to finish, from preparation to clean-up, and you’ll walk away happy that you chose them.

But how will you know if someone is a specialist? Ask! Dig around on their website. Look for information about how long they’ve been in business. Search for client testimonials. Request references. That’s all an essential part of making the right choice and being happy with that choice.

Remember, the lowest priced caterer isn’t necessarily the right caterer, even if you’re worried about your budget. Consider the characteristics above COMBINED with the prices offered to choose a caterer that makes you, your guests, and your wallet happy.