Charity balls are social occasions or gala events that serve as opportunities to gather donations from sponsors and raise funds for your supported cause. These charity balls display different levels of grandeur and are usually beautiful and stunning. Guests and sponsors have the opportunity to dress formally, eat, drink, and enjoy a night of entertainment and socialising.
To make sure that you and your guests make the most out of your charity ball, a high level of planning and catering is required. How your donors and guests will remember your charity ball will considerably depend on what they thought of the food and service in general.
5 things to consider in selecting the right charity ball caterer
Here are five main things to consider in selecting the right caterers for your charity event.
1. They must abide by your catering essentials.
You must provide a short listing of your catering needs to give your potential caterers enough information before you hire them as your official caterers. These include:
- Location of the charity ball
- Date and time of the charity ball
- Whether it will be indoors, outdoors or both
- Number of guests you are planning to invite
- Consider the demographics/ target guests
- Event format or theme
- Food preferences (allergies, religion, vegetarian, vegan, etc.)
- Drinks and alcohol preferences
- Type of serving (buffet / sit-down service, etc.)
- Is there a kitchen station nearby? (ask about the site set-up in general)
- Inclusions in their catering (would they provide seats, the wait staff, audio-visual equipment, décor, security, and photographers)
- Other logistics (how will the registration be set up and who will man it, have them rundown the overall flow of the event, ask about contingency plans)
- Ask about permits, licenses, and insurances (if the venue covers them or if the caterer can recommend one)
2. Their catering service must be within your budget.
A rough estimate of your budget can help you and your caterer determine the size and grandiosity of the event. Let your caterer know upfront what your budget is. From there, work on which catering options are the most feasible for both of you.
Inquire on the following:
- The minimum and the maximum number of people they are willing to cater to.
- Will there be additional charges for labour work?
- Additional fees charged by the chefs and bartenders
- How much will the service charge and other local taxes cost?
- Be blunt and ask about hidden charges.
- Try to ask for discounts or promotions to lessen your expenses.
3. Scrutinise the menu. It is the heart of your charity ball.
Planning the menu is a vital task in organising your charity ball. Check-in with the caterers on which menu best suits you and the event. Have a standard menu that will impress your guests. Make sure that the menu options that the caterer presents are flexible. Ask the caterer these questions to further tailor your menu for your event:
- Ask the caterers if they have meal/menu sets or packages and if you can customise them according to your liking.
- Ask about the inclusion of meals for special cases. Are they willing to accommodate guests with different religion requiring certain food choices, guests with allergies and guests who have strict diet concerns?
- Make sure there is plenty to eat and that the menu has an ample variety.
- From where will the food and its ingredients come? Will they cook on-site? Will they work with fresh, frozen, or canned ingredients/food? Make sure that they are of high-quality.
- Check the beverage options. Make sure there will be drinking water, coffee or tea, and soft drinks.
- If you are planning to have alcohol present in the charity ball, ask what your options are. Wine and champagne are popular amongst the region. Decide whether to have an open bar or a cash bar. Also, consider having a wait staff to bring and refill your drinks personally. Ask if there are corkage fees.
- Ask them when you will need to finalise the headcount and the menu.
- Ask them to present you with photographs of the silverware, set-up, and food of recent events they’ve catered. Note the portion size and presentation. Aside from taste, presentation is everything!
- Have a taste test. Ask the caterer to sample their menu so you can experience the food before your charity ball. Taste the flavours of your chosen menu in small portions and judge them if they are worth serving in your event. You may also opt to explore their kitchen or catering facility to do a sample taste test personally.
4. Know your catering staff by heart.
Getting to know your catering staff goes a long way. Understanding their job and the scope of their work is a critical part of the planning and execution of your charity ball. Ask the caterers about the following:
- Do the staff have prior experience in the catering industry? How about training?
- How many members are there in their catering team? How many supervisors, chefs and sous chefs, servers and wait staff? Ask how many people one server attends to. Do they include bartenders, busboys, dishwashers, hostesses, or even security?
- Ask around and check if they have bad records/reputation.
- Have them meet you before the event. See if the caterers are friendly, warm, and hospitable and if they give off a good vibe. Do they look professional?
- On the day of the charity ball itself, check if they show up. Check if they are dressed appropriately for the event.
5. Expect the unexpected.
Always be ready for any deviation from your plans. Check with the caterer if they have back-up plans in cases of accidents, technical problems, or even bad weather. They should assure you that there will be extra servings of food, spare cutlery, and stand-in staff from their team.
Hire the best charity ball catering in Newcastle and Maitland.
With over 30 years of experience, Chardonnay Catering is top-calibre when it comes to catering for private & special events, corporate functions, sporting and charity balls in Newcastle and Maitland. Our Newcastle and Maitland catering team has experience handling all areas of food presentation, from extravagant international buffets, gourmet canapes to themed events. Contact us today to enquire about our Newcastle catering services.