If you are in charge of planning a large corporate gathering or meeting, then one of the things you'll need to take care of is the food. In most cases, the best solution is to have the event catered. However, there are some intricacies to this, and you'll want to follow the tips below to ensure the food service experience goes off without a hitch:
Get a head count well in advance.
Especially if several companies are attending the event, you may have a hard time figuring out how many people will be in attendance. For instance, you might know that company X will bring about 40 employees and company z brought 20 last year, but you may not have a lot of specifics. So, about a month before the event, send out an email to the heads of all of the companies involved and ask for a specific head count. This way, you can let the caterers know how many people are attending, and they can be sure to provide enough food. Nothing is worse than running out of sandwiches when there are still 10 people in line.
Set a budget.
Get an idea from your superiors just how much they have spent on event catering in the past for similar events. Or, look over last year's receipts and see how much the caterers charged per head. Use this to guide you as you select a catering service and menu. If they served steak at $40 a head last year, you're not going to want to serve deli sandwiches at $8 a head this year. Do explore different options in your price range, but don't stray too far from the norm when it comes to food quality.
Make sure there are options for those on restrictive diets.
More and more people these days are following vegan, gluten-free, and other specialized diets. When you hire a catering service, ask how they can accommodate people with these dietary restrictions. Ideally, you should be able to get a list of people who have dietary restrictions, give them to the caterer, and have the caterer show up with special meals just for these folks.
Double-check the time food should be served.
Make sure you run the day's schedule by anyone else who is helping plan the event and confirm what time the meal is to be served. You would not want the caterers to show up at 12 pm to serve food, only to have to wait an hour and let the food get cold because everyone is still in a meeting.