Corporate events are great opportunities for chefs and catering companies to showcase their skills and catering portfolios. You can easily demonstrate these skills to your potential clients by showing how well the venue is decorated, how rich and diversified the food on offer is, the cooking skills of your chefs have and how well your servers take care of the guests. Achieving a good response from the audience at such events lends a great word of mouth publicity for the catering company.
Crafting a well-appointed menu gives the audience a glimpse into the skill, calibre, and experience that a catering company has. So it is vital that you give it extra attention and use it to achieve a great first impression from the guests. Here are a few pointers that will help you devise a strategy in creating a menu for a corporate event.
Customise the menu for the occasion
It is important to bear in mind the nature of the event even before starting to conceptualise the menu. Is there a specific theme for the event? Is it a formal or a casual affair? How many guests are expected to attend? What is the location of the event? The location is important too as it may have a further bearing on the weather of the place at the time of the event. In any case, present a mixture of entrees, salads and desserts. Discussions with the hosts should help in zeroing in on the dishes. Depending on the availability, opt for seasonal and local produce as much as possible. It will reflect freshness not just in the menu but also the food that is prepared.
Keep the needs of the guests in mind
Without sounding repetitive, be inquisitive and ask the hosts as many questions about the needs and preferences of the guests. Factors like what is the average age of the guests, their food preferences in general, their position in the management, and if some or most of them attend corporate events on a regular basis. This will help you judge among other things their food tolerance level. For example, the younger crowd may be more open to embracing bold and spicy flavours than a slightly older crowd. Another important consideration is including an ample range of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The menu should also allow hosts the flexibility to offer specific food to guests who are sensitive and allergic to certain food items. In essence, the menu should cater to everyone attending the event.
Keep a tab on the budget
A perfect menu does not in any way overshoot the budget envisaged by the host. Managing a great looking menu without the cost and expenses exceeding the given budget should be the primary focus. This requires creativity as well as management. As a catering company, you should hold on to your profits while making the hosts and guests happy and satisfied at the same time. There can be two different approaches to cost management. You can set fixed costs and quantities for each item. Create different layers so that per-person cost goes down as the number of guests increases. The other approach is to charge a custom price for every guest. There is no right or wrong approach. Discuss both with your hosts and then adopt one that suits both of you.
Keep the menu items flexible
Finally, most corporate events adopt either sit-down meals approach or the buffet system. The former require the servers to serve each and every guest at their place of seating whereas the latter allows the guests to visit the food stalls and help themselves. In both approaches, the catering company should ensure that the menu does justice to the food being offered. It should offer the flexibility to include dishes that can be cooked at a moment’s notice or even adapt to a situation where the guests demand something that is not included in the menu. Remember, a menu is not just a list of food on offer but also a reflection of the amazing things you can do to make the guests feel pampered and special.