Planning a corporate event can mean considering a number of factors that are all important for a successful event. You will want to keep in mind the number of attendees, the occasion for the event, any kind of entertainment you will have, and also what’s on the menu.
Unsurprisingly, food is one of the main things that can make or break any event and is what many employees look forward to. If you truly want to thank your employees or leave a good impression, it’s important to pay attention to not only the menu but also how and where the food is being served.
If you have been tasked with choosing the perfect menu for your next corporate event, read our guide to discover the top 8 tips to satisfy the appetites of your workplace.
Account for differences
In order to avoid causing any issues, you should ask beforehand if your colleagues have any dietary restrictions. It’s a good idea to send out an email to all employees asking them to state any allergies, dietary restrictions or preferences. These all should be accounted for when organizing a menu.
Missing this crucial step can not only be dangerous to people who have serious allergies, but it can also potentially be offensive. If you plan on going for buffet-style, it would be wise to incorporate many different options such as vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free foods so everyone can feel included.
Ambiance and details
Eating great food is one thing, but the atmosphere and ambiance only add to the experience. If you want your co-workers to truly enjoy the next corporate event, consider the vibe that your venue gives off and work with it.
Usually, the theme and occasion of the event will dictate the food on the corporate event menu. For example, if you are planning an annual company Christmas dinner, you may choose a fancier setting with a more upscale dress code and, therefore, a multiple course meal with wait staff and cocktails.
Breakfast and lunch events can tend to be more casual, frequent and more of a buffet style. Either way, think of the occasion, the venue and certain details such as music, lighting and the effect you are trying to create for the company.
Plan for more
When catering food, it is always, always best to plan for more people. It would be incredibly awkward and potentially embarrassing to have not enough food, even if unexpected co-workers show up.
To avoid any confusion and unease, plan for more people than you expect. More often than not, guests may decide to come last minute, and you don’t want to be unprepared.
Create an itinerary
What time will appetizers and drinks be served? Will the main course come after or before the big presentation? These are questions you will need to answer before the event rolls around.
The best thing to do is to create an itinerary for your caterer that reflects any presentations, speeches or entertainment and games during the event. This will ensure that you are on the same page as to when certain dishes/foods should be served.
Consider the reason for the event
The reason or theme of the event will also greatly impact how your menu turns out and what is appropriate. Perhaps the event is a farewell gathering for one of your bosses or a formal dinner for executives. Whatever the case, think about the occasion before planning the menu and deciding on a venue.
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Whether the event is during breakfast, lunch or dinner will obviously reflect on the menu.
Breakfast can easily be made buffet style including, eggs, toast, sausage and bacon with some pastries and fruits as well. Tea, coffee and orange juice would be best served with breakfast, whereas alcohol and soft drinks can be served later on in the day during dinner.
A deli buffet with salads and finger foods can be a great option for luncheons as they incorporate a variety of options. You could add some cookies and cakes for dessert as well.
Ultimately, food being served should coordinate with the time of day unless your company is eccentric enough that they won’t mind breakfast served for dinner. We all know that pancakes and waffles are delicious regardless of the time of day!
Cater to your crowd
While you can’t order something different for everyone, you would be especially thoughtful if you were to ask around your workplace to see what your colleagues actually like to eat. You can even send out a quick survey through email to get an idea of what type of food would be best.
This will most definitely win you bonus points. If the outcome is undecided, perhaps you can find a caterer that will do a variety of different cuisines so that there’s a little bit of everything.
Consider the waiting staff
If you’re looking to go the extra mile, then you should consider hiring waiting staff so that your co-workers can relax and concentrate solely on what they need to. This would mean not having to endure line-ups for food and ensuring that everyone eats on time.
If your event is on a tight schedule, wait staff can be especially helpful in making sure everything goes smoothly and according to plan.
Whatever you decide on, make sure that you communicate well with the caterer and venue and that you consider all employees when creating the menu. A great corporate event includes a great menu that your co-workers will remember and thank you for.