5 minutes Inspiration

Tips for Catering Events and Functions

Catering an event or function is no small task, with weeks of planning and preparation required to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day.

If you are new to the world of event catering, then you are likely looking for some helpful tips and hints on how you can make your next booking a success.

Prep as Much as You Can Beforehand

Catering for large events and functions is time-consuming, and can easily get stressful if you aren’t fully prepared. In order to avoid any unnecessary stress, do as much of the work as you can before the event itself. Any prep work that you can carry out in the days beforehand will save you precious minutes and hours that you can put to better use on the day itself.

For you to make the most of prep time, take it into consideration when putting together the menu for the event, and focus on creating dishes that can be made ahead of time and finished on the day, such as meats which can marinate overnight, and desserts that will keep well if refrigerated.  You should also make use of products that will help you save precious time, such as the Country Range selection of fillings, salads and dips. You can use these time-saving products to create a wide range of dishes from sandwiches that are perfect for corporate lunches to fresh takes on much-loved classics like this Supreme Coronation Chicken Salad recipe.

Take Note of Any Dietary Requirements and Allergies

While your role as a caterer will be to delight the guests with your dishes, it is important that you are considerate of any dietary requirements and allergies when creating your menu. Since many individuals today are adopting a plant-based diet it is important to keep this in mind, along with any dietary restriction and food allergies that may limit what guests will be able to eat.

It’s not just meat-free alternatives that you will need to consider, as an increasing number of consumers are also looking to limit or avoid dairy consumptions altogether. According to data presented in thefoodpeople’s 2019-2000 trends prediction report, 24% of UK consumers already limit their dairy consumption or avoid it altogether, while another 23% opt for lactose-free versions of traditional dairy products.

To ensure that no one is left disappointed at the event, make sure that you request a list of any requirements from the event organised well in advance so that you can use this information when planning the dishes that you will be serving.

Create a Menu

No matter what type of event or function you are catering, the best way to guarantee that the food will be appropriate for the setting is to create a comprehensive menu. You can follow these general guidelines as a starting point:

  • Formal dinners – typically several appetisers should be served, followed by a salad or soup, a main with a choice of side dishes, and a dessert.
  • Lunch events – you should plan for a couple of appetiser choices, followed by one main dish accompanied by a choice of side dishes, along with a selection of desserts. In the case of corporate lunches, plan a “grab-and-go” style menu that will allow guests to focus on business. Typically, corporate lunches consist of sandwiches and wraps, although boxed lunches are a convenient option too.
  • Corporate breakfasts – there should be a choice of breakfast pastries for guest to choose from, along with a main breakfast dish, smaller plates, and the usual hot and cold breakfast drinks such as teascoffees, and orange juices.
  • Cocktail mixers – typically, these events do not call for a sit-down meal, so you should create a range of appetisers to be served to guests throughout the evening.

Choose Both Hot and Cold Dishes

One difficulty that many caterers run into when it comes to events and functions is keeping all of the food at the required temperature. To do away with this hassle, you should plan to serve both hot and cold dishes. This way, you won’t have to worry about everything getting cold or drying out.

Serving a mix of hot and cold dishes will also make your prep work and setup easier as cold dishes can simply be laid out for guests to serve themselves or transferred to serving trays without the need to heat them up, or keep them in a warming drawer.

When it comes to cold dishes, there are plenty of delicious recipes to choose from, beyond the traditional sandwiches and salads that are usually served. Instead, opt for something more refined like this Supreme Chicken Tikka Devilled Eggs or Potato Salad Spanish Omelette. Both of these options can be served at room temperature and will keep well if prepared ahead of time and kept chilled.

Rely on Products that Will Make Your Life Easier

When you are catering a large event, you need products that you can rely on in order to make the day run as smoothly as possible. The quality, consistency and diversity of the Country Range product choice are why we have been the first choice for caterers for over 20 years. Take a look at our full product range, where you will find everything you will need to make your next function a success.