Tips For Catering Your Next Corporate Event - FireFly Team Events

6 Tips For Catering Your Next Corporate Event

When you’ve gone to the trouble of planning a corporate event, you’d ideally like your attendees to be dialed in and focused. And that means you’ll need to provide food.

Growling stomachs are not conducive to productive meetings and positive attitudes! And absolutely no one wants to spend three-plus hours on in-depth topics or activities when they’re hangry.

Planning catering for corporate eventsPlus, we humans like to be incentivized for doing things we might otherwise not want to do. If you’re asking a group of employees to give up some of their workday — or worse, their precious time off — to attend, your corporate event food game should be on point. It’s a lot more tolerable to spend time doing concentration-heavy activities and sitting through demonstrations if you have the promise of a juicy cheeseburger or a fresh slice of fish waiting on the other side. (This is also why planning events in exciting destinations is a top tactic for incentivizing folks to participate.)

Failing to nail down your catering for corporate events is more than just an oversight; it could actually spell disaster. (Ask us what happened at one company where a caterer dropped off only a bunch of subpar, wilted produce for a lunch event that was supposed to have a “fresh” theme…) Best case scenario, your event planning team gets really stressed out. Worst case, your clients and your venue could lose money, your event might not meet its goals, and you could have a hard time convincing anyone to try an event again next time.

With all that in mind, let’s talk about how you can get your corporate event catering right the first time and avoid triggering a horde of angry, hungry attendees clamoring for a meal.

Planning events is hard. That’s why working with an experienced event planner like Firefly Team Events is so awesome. Give us a shout here.

Catering For Corporate Events: 6 Tips For Success

Catering For Corporate Events: Tip For Success #1Be mindful of food allergies and other dietary restrictions.

In a perfect world, hot buttered lobster would make anyone and everyone happy. But serving shellfish at a corporate event when you have no idea of your group’s potential food allergies is just asking for trouble. Sure, the ensuing anaphylactic shock will make your event memorable, but in retrospect you’ll probably wish you’d done some more background research.

It’s always a good idea to ask each attendee — perhaps with a survey — about any dietary restrictions they may have. It can help you avoid liability and keep everyone healthy, but it also makes your attendees feel valued and heard when you’re willing to tailor the menu to their needs.

When in doubt, make sure food options containing shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and all other major allergies are clearly labeled — or absent altogether.

Catering For Corporate Events: Tip For Success #2Tailor the overall menu and budget to your attendees.

Often, you can get a general idea for how fancy the menu should be by who will be at your event. Is this a burger and fries bunch, a chilled wine and caviar crowd, or somewhere in between?

It’s not all about fanciness, however; sometimes, your menu choices should come down to sheer practicality. For example, if you have a group of executives in formal business clothing, perhaps a plate of spaghetti dripping with tomato sauce isn’t your best bet.

Catering For Corporate Events: Tip For Success #3Ask the attendees for their food preferences.

This one might sound like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised how many team leaders plan elaborate get-togethers and then completely forget that they can ask their team’s advice on the food situation.

This is another simple question that could easily be asked via survey.

Catering For Corporate Events: Tip For Success #4Keep the planned activities in mind.

Will your attendees be walking around and mingling, with one hand for a drink and the other for a small plate of appetizers? Will they be doing physical activities that wouldn’t be all that much fun right after a big, heavy meal? Or will they be coming to the event right after work, hungry and hoping for a sit-down meal where they can fuel up and relax a little before the festivities begin?

It’s good to have a clear picture of the event in mind before you start making critical food choices.

Catering For Corporate Events: Tip For Success #5Check the reputation of your chosen caterer.

Brand-new caterers may have winning attitudes and rock-bottom prices, but when you have to feed a few hundred people at a time, you don’t want to take chances. Don’t be afraid to ask for references from the caterer’s previous clients, and definitely check out their license and health records in your state.

Just like anaphylaxis, food poisoning is not what you want your event to be remembered for.

Catering For Corporate Events: Tip For Success #6Mind your beverage choices.

Including alcohol is usually a good thing at corporate events. A little bit of social lubricant can help get people out of their comfort zones and in the mood to talk and let loose a little.

However. (And this is a big HOWEVER!)

For some people, there’s a surprisingly fine line between loosening up and getting more talkative and getting sloppy drunk and dancing on a table. It’s usually a safe bet to serve beer and wine, but you might want to avoid hard liquor. And, if you’re worried about attendees finding the bottom of too many bottles, you can opt to provide water and sodas for free but issue a limited number of tickets for alcoholic beverages.

If your event will be focused around team-building, Firefly Team Events can handle the tricky parts for you — including finding a caterer.

That’s one of the benefits of working with an experienced event planner like Firefly. We know what works, what doesn’t, and how to keep everyone fed and happy. If business event catering is giving you nightmares, we’re happy to help you out.

Just let us know what you need!