If there’s one thing everyone fears when it comes to hiring a caterer, it’s that the big day will finally arrive and there will be a shortage of food. This is one of those recurring nightmare scenarios that could have you waking up in a cold sweat. Let’s say you’re in charge of organizing a corporate event — the annual holiday party, for instance. All your colleagues are there, including upper management. Even the board of directors might be there. Everyone’s having a great time and enjoying the food until…suddenly the food runs out, and there are people who haven’t even been served.
What are you going to do now, put a rush order on a bunch of pizzas? It might be better than nothing, but it would have been preferable if your holiday meal had gone as planned. It might have been better if your caterer had planned properly and arrived with adequate supplies to see your event through.
So right now, at the beginning of the planning season for holiday parties, it’s important to ask: How can this particular problem be avoided? There are really only two ways.
1. Hire an experienced caterer
The number one way to make sure your event goes smoothly — not only in terms of quantity, but also quality and service — is to search out the best local caterer you can find. There are countless caterers out there, but many are inexperienced startups and moonlighters who are happy to take contracts, even if they don’t really know how to prepare properly.
More experienced caterers have done so many events of different sizes that they have very clear ideas on how much food is enough. They’re also concerned about getting the quantity right for your sake, in terms of delivering the best value. Another company might overcompensate and bring way too many supplies — which you the client will ultimately pay for. Getting the quantities right is a question of experience and detailed calculation, and it also benefits you in terms of cost.
2. Plan carefully and stay ahead of changes
Planning is something that takes place between you and your caterer, and the more actively you participate (up to the degree you’re comfortable with), the better your caterer is able to plan. For instance, if there are fluctuations in the number of people you’re expecting, always keep your caterer appraised. Shortages often occur when the organizer forgot to pass on key information to the caterer, especially as the event drew near. So plan carefully and make sure you and your hired help are on the same page.
When you’re catering an event — especially if it’s a corporate party or special occasion — the last thing you want is the embarrassment of running out of food. Avoiding this is fairly simple. All you have to do is find a caterer who really knows their stuff, and has a solid reputation in the community. They’ll be able to look at your event, your head count, and your menu choices, and be able to hit on the right quantities to make your party a good value and a smashing success.