Check Your List Twice for Flawless Festivities
‘Tis the season for gatherings–office parties and family get-togethers, jovial occasions for dressing up, celebrating winter holidays and toasting the new year. If you’re in the catering business, chances are that it’s a busy season for you, too. You may be catering an event at your restaurant or one offsite, but in both cases, there are details that cannot be overlooked or your party service may just be a lump of coal in someone’s stocking.
Once you’ve booked a function, surveying the site is key. Whether it’s at your restaurant or a location you’ve not been to before, it is important to thoroughly analyze the event space to ensure room for prep and serving stations, tables, chairs and any necessary catering equipment. Bring enough flatware, stemware, china and linens to be covered should any accidents occur; once you’re on-site, returning to your restaurant or business for any forgotten items is unacceptable, as service may be interrupted or delayed. Prepare a written checklist of all must-have event staples so that nothing essential is left behind. For off-site functions, it is imperative to map out an arrival route for all service staff so that everyone assisting with the event knows how to travel to the site and can get there on-time; any shortage in personnel will likely be reflected in the service, so make sure you have all the support you need.
A meeting with the event coordinator or company representative can be immensely helpful, both for site surveys and assessing any special needs in terms of the menu. Depending on the location space and facility capabilities, the scope of the menu could be limited; it is important to discuss these details with the event contact to make sure that you can work within any constraints. Various food options should be readily available for guests with dietary restrictions (i.e. dairy or nut allergies) or preferences (i.e. vegetarian) and aligning on the scope of the party menu in advance will help circumvent any unwanted surprises and ensure that the party host’s expectations can be met.
During the event, keep guests’ holiday spirits merry and bright with well-trained waitstaff that are both well-versed on the food that will be served and knowledgeable about the locations of key service items and event space details (i.e. coffee/tea station, restrooms and coat-check area). Remember, the goal is to provide seamless service and create an atmosphere that allows guests to enjoy the event without interruption. Guests whose needs are attended to by great catering personnel are sure to remain jolly throughout the holiday party season!
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