Maybe it’s a company picnic or a farewell party for a friend. Maybe it’s a bridal shower, wedding shower or the wedding itself. Our lives are full of special occasions, and most of us attend several such parties every year.
Sometimes the party makes a lasting impression on us. The people were lively and full of energy, the food and entertainment were spot on, and the service staff were pleasant and professional.
Other times the party falls a bit flat. Maybe the food just isn’t very good, or the music is all wrong, or the staff seem distant or disinterested. Whatever the reasons, these events often have us checking our watches and looking for an opportunities to leave early.
When it comes time for you to be the organizer of a party, you definitely don’t want your event to fall into the latter category. Some of it might come down to luck (weather for example, or how many people turn up)—but it’s mostly a question of careful planning and preparation.
So if you’re planning a catered event, what can you do to make it stand out?
Find a reputable caterer with a proven track record
If the catering company you hire is simply not on the ball, you’ll be hustling to pick up the slack and trying to hide the fact that you didn’t choose the right professionals. Catering services are like an anchor for your event; when the food, drinks and services are excellent, people stick around and have a great time. Making this happen for your event is all about due diligence during the caterer selection process. Seek companies with years of experience in the catering industry and plenty of positive feedback and good online reviews. You’ll have a much better chance of landing the perfect catering company if you focus on reputable caterers.
Offer your guests multiple options
It can be difficult to please everyone, especially when you can only feasibly offer two or three different options for dinner or lunch. Casual events such as company picnics are easier in this respect, as a buffet-style meal can be set up and enhanced with individualized options, like burgers or sandwiches made to order. For a more formal event, you’ll want to discuss options with a few different caterers and think about the food you’d like to serve. Find the balance between creative inspiration and timeless classics, and be sure to take care of anyone at the event who has special dietary concerns. Offering a vegetarian or vegan option has become much more popular—and practical—in recent years.
Look for service that exceeds expectations
Whether it’s refilling a glass, busing plates from the kitchen or keeping the buffet tables stocked, having the right professionals at your event makes all the difference. You want people who are happy to be there and who will add to the festive atmosphere, not take away from it by bringing their own problems to your event. Make sure your catering company knows your expectations. On the day of the event (or even before the event if possible), make an effort to talk to the staff and get a feel for their personalities. As the client, you don’t want to be cold and domineering—but you do want to make sure that your staff are happy, competent and friendly as they interact with your guests. When this doesn’t happen, you have grounds for legitimate complaint.
The life of the party
The difference between a flat party and a fantastic one begins with planning and professionalism. Align your event with people who know how to carry it off in the most elegant and professional way, and be specific about your individual needs and questions. Your guests will be arriving and enjoying themselves before you know it.