Whether it is a gallery opening, book signing, bar mitzvah, rehearsal dinner, there would be catering involved to complete the experience. If in a wedding or in a fundraiser one would taste good food and it is mostly the catering team’s effort. The term catering sounds simple. It means to cook some food and serve it. This is the basic concept, however, there is more to it. This article would try to cover the many aspects of catering. Starting from the initial customer-catering meeting to the execution of the final event, catering is a whole lot more than cooking. It involves selection, food planning, preparation, teamwork, creativity and equipments.
Let’s understand what the term Commercial Catering means today. Food remains the main component in the catering world. However, it is just a part. Most companies would agree that catering involves full event planning. The focus has morphed into a full on event-planning model. The focal point has moved on to a broader mission, more aptly, towards the satisfaction of all senses like the sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. With the appropriate atmosphere, the catering agency can appease all the senses and thereby make the event memorable. Beautifully prepared food would appeal to the senses; however, it is subtle enough to not outshine the main event. This is the reason that tableware, glassware and even the decorations used would have the same impact. Everything used starting from the flatware, flowers to lighting and linen used should complement the food to create a unified experience. The key lies in continuity. It is important that each element be in sync with each other. There are certain things that matters in offering the overall experience. Like, whether the venue is apt for the occasion, season and pax. The menu should befit the occasion and taste of the group. For example, the retirement celebration would love tapas stations. Lastly, the decor should suit the venue and the event. The white linen, china and crystal stemware may not be ideal for a casual barbeque party. Whatever be the party type, the goal remains the same, to deeply satisfy the guests.
Most catering agencies come up with the mantra of “How can I make it happen for you?” but the most important thing to remember is that each caterer is actually worth his or her salt. It is duty of the caterer after being contacted to figure out what is wanted and decide how the company would accomplish this. The process starts with client-caterer meetings. The idea is to share and discuss as much information that would help in developing the proposal. As the customer, they may have to face questions on topics like the time and date of the event, the cause, budget, guests and venue. Depending on the answers, the other set of questions come into conversations. This forms the backbone of the caterer’s proposal and therefore it is advised to be as explicit as possible. Most of the time the customers think only about budget, yet it is important for the caterer to understand the budget and the expectations. Most caterers are professionals and they are equipped to help you.
Once the Commercial Catering company understands the requirements of the customer, they move forward in creating the proposal. The foundation of the proposal is based on general inquiry with the prospect client. Now, armed with the information, the caterer moves to construct the main menu, beverages and itemised listing of rented equipments and other details. This greatly depends on the theme of the occasion. For example, for the [censored] tail party it is mainly hors d’oeuvres that are served. Other than this, the amount of food intake is less in [censored] tail parties. These criteria would be included in the proposal. The other considerations include are as follows:
Balanced menu: This would ensure that the menu served to the guests have a balance of two proteins, one starch and one vegetable.
Courses: There are can be multiple courses in a seated dinner and each course should complement the other. The entree can be venison, and the antipasto can be seafood, which would also give variety to the dinner.
Buffet stations: The number of buffet stations would correspond to the total number of guests attending the event.
Beverages: The wine and all other alcoholic beverages are listed in this proposal.
Once the caterer’s proposal is ready, it is given to the customer to verify. This is done in the next meeting.