Whether you’re putting out a spread to impress important guests or treating your staff to an office lunch, great food can bring people together. However, cooking for a lot of people in an office setting isn’t easy. You’ll need to find an experienced caterer with quality food and, the hospitality know-how to choose the right food for the right space – ultimately making a good impression and keeping people happy!
So how do you choose the best catering company for your needs? Read on to find out!
Meeting your needs
Let’s start with the basics. Before thinking of anything else, you need to have an idea of what kind of event you’re planning. Canapes and cocktails are a very different affair compared to a pop-up lunch service. Here are some questions that will help you define your brief:
- Are you looking for a one-off party or a regular catering service?
- If it’s a one-off event, what is the occasion and do you need a theme?
- Do you have the facilities you need to host the event in the office?
- Are there any dietary restrictions for important guests?
- What kind of cuisine do you want to serve?
What’s your budget?
The next thing you need to know when selecting a caterer is your budget. Event costs will depend on a range of factors, including:
- expected headcount
- the amount of staff required to run the event
- if hire items like crockery and cutlery are required
- if themed, you may need to factor in costs for decorations or entertainment
- Bear in mind that bespoke menus may cost more
One other tip: before agreeing to any contracts make sure you’re clear on payment terms and any penalties for cancellation.
Now we know this sounds like a no-brainer but you’ll need to make sure a caterer is available on the date you have in mind. Good caterers get booked up well in advance so planning ahead is definitely a good idea. This is particularly important with seasonal events, like Christmas parties, as caterers are likely to be very busy during these times. If you leave things too late, you’ll probably find that most of the better caterers are already fully booked.
Food safety and hygiene
Any quality caterer will be following all food hygiene and safety guidelines and have a pass with the local health authority. Some caterers may even be independently audited or have additional certifications to prove their commitment to safe food. If it’s unclear from their website – ask!
As the world looks towards a greener tomorrow, eating sustainably is one of the best ways we can lower our emissions. Selecting a caterer that holds sustainability to heart not only ensures you’re doing your bit to combat climate change, but it reflects well on your company’s image. Eating sustainably often means eating organic, free-range produce with a focus on vegan and vegetarian dishes so look out for caterers that highlight these on their menus. Also ask about their sustainability policies and any accreditations they may have.
Delicious and inclusive food
It goes without saying that you’ll want to be serving delicious and memorable food at your event. However, you also want all your guests to be able to find something they can eat. Look for a caterer that has experience with different types of cuisines as well as catering for various dietary requirements. Make sure the caterer is cooking from scratch as they will be able to give you a full list of ingredients and allergens for each dish, which will give confidence to your diners.
References and images
Always ask your potential caterer for images of past and similar events they have catered for as these will give you a good idea of what to expect on the day. If you’re unsure, you can also ask for references from past clients. Any caterer proud of their work should be able to provide you with good reviews and references. If you’re spending a lot on an event, don’t be shy to ask for a tasting first.
Hopefully these tips have given you some food for thought when it comes to hiring an office caterer. Quality catering is critical to a successful corporate event so it’s worth doing your research and asking the tough questions. The good news is, once you’ve found a good catering partner, you can add them to your arsenal of suppliers to help make future events and workplace experiences even better.
If you have a London or Dublin-based workplace that’s hungry for some great catering, get in touch with Fooditude. We’ve been serving fresh and wonderful flavours to workplaces since 2005.