CUL - Large Catering Event - HEADER

How to Plan a Large Catering Event

Organizing a large catered event, such as a luncheon, fundraising gala, or corporate holiday party, can feel a little overwhelming at times. There are so many details to consider and so many options when it comes to menus and vendors. However, coming into the process with some clarity on your audience and the sequence of events will help you and your corporate caterer provide the best options. Below are some things you’ll want to consider before vetting different large event catering vendors.

Audience Size and Dietary Restrictions

One of the first things all caterers will ask is a guest count. You don’t have to have the exact number yet but having an estimate or knowing what the venue’s limit is could help give the vendor an idea of how much food will need to be provided.

You’ll also want to know if any of your guests have dietary restrictions, such as allergies, preferences, or religious dietary restrictions. Once you have that information, ensure the vendors you are speaking with can accommodate these restrictions into their menus and their form of cooking. For example, if you have guests that cannot eat pork, you’ll want to ensure your caterer does not use lard or pork fat for cooking. Or if guests have food allergies, your caterer must be mindful of cross-contamination.

Buffet or Plated?

This is where knowing the sequence of events or event type will come into play. If you are organizing a fundraising gala in which events and speakers are scheduled back-to-back, you may opt for a plated dinner, where your guests can continue focusing on the events. However, if your event is a corporate luncheon with a scheduled lunch break, a buffet option could be the best route.

Have a Budget

Culinary experiences can go from simple boxed lunches to extravagant five-course meals and action stations. While it may be enticing to add a dessert bar, luxurious hors d’oeuvres, and a special cocktail menu, these items can quickly add up. By having a budget set before speaking to vendors, caterers can easily recommend the best options to help create the experience you’re looking for while staying within budget. It will also help you stay focused on choosing the important items.

Choose a Caterer You Trust

Finally, once you’ve vetted and discussed multiple options, be sure to choose the caterer you feel most comfortable with. Consider their years of service and what type of events they’re familiar with. You want to ensure they will relieve stress the day of rather than add to the chaos.

For a corporate catering partner with decades of experience, contact Cotton Culinary. Our experts can customize menu options for large event catering, business luncheon, and parties.