Whether you’re planning an office party, wedding, or holiday bash, catering is a must. Here are the top 10 tips to help you handle catering for small parties so you can start planning your next get-together without worrying about the food.
1. Plan Your Guest List
Generally, “small events” include anything under 100 people. An intimate wedding, an office holiday party, and a graduation celebration are all usually small catering events. One of the best ways to prepare your menu is to know your guest list. Knowing your attendees gives you a better sense of the quantity and variety of dishes to serve.
2. Consider Dietary Restrictions
Ask your caterer about options for dietary restrictions such as food allergies. Many small event catering services also offer gluten-free and vegetarian options. Most are willing to work with you to provide what you need to make your day special.
3. Serve Hors D’Oeuvres
In addition to serving the main course, consider having hors d’oeuvres. Most catering services offer a variety of hors d’oeuvres options, including the following:
- Raw bars – clams, oysters, jumbo shrimp, and more served on ice with cocktail sauce
- Charcuterie boards – a delicious array of savory cured meats, cheeses, fruits, and crackers
- Fresh fruit displays – seasonal fruit in a colorful display
4. Choose From Catered Drinks or an Open Bar
Depending on your venue, there may be an open bar option. If not, consider catering your drinks. Your caterer can recommend specific pairings to heighten your guests’ dining experience.
5. Consider a Snack Bar
One of the hottest trends in the small events space is food and snack bars. You’ll see these adorable displays popping up at weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, and more. They offer an interactive food option for your guests that allows them to customize their appetizers. Ask your caterer about food bar options.
6. Weigh Your Venue Choices
The venue can make a big difference for your catering options. Are you hosting an indoor team meeting at a local convention center? Just about anything goes for menu options since electricity and water are readily available. However, your dream barn wedding in the beautiful countryside might impact food options.
7. Pick a Seasonal Menu
Add some flair to your event by offering a seasonal menu. Hearty soups and spiced cakes are perfect for colder weather, while light options such as fruit, seafood, and salads make excellent spring and summer meals.
8. Calculate Your Budget
Figure out your total budget for your event. Next, allow approximately $60-$100 per person for food and drinks. Some catering companies also offer hors d’oeuvres and desserts within this price range. However, others may have additional costs associated with such items.
9. Select Desserts
Depending on the event, you may want to offer an array of desserts for your guests. Most catering companies have a selection of desserts available to satisfy every sweet tooth.
10. Choose Local Catering – One of the Most Important Catering Tips
Instead of hiring a commercial chain for your event, give your guests the taste of local cuisine. Hire a catering company that specializes in local dishes that will delight your guests. Are you planning a small event? Contact us and ask about our catering options for small groups.