Ask if your guests have special dietary needs and clearly communicate special needs to your caterer.
Order a wide variety to meet the needs of vegetarians, vegans, etc., and those who are more health-conscious.
If your audience dominates a specific culture or religion, be sure to serve cuisine appropriate for them.
Planning a lunch meeting, opt for an easy-to-eat, fortifying lunch that is pre-prepared. If the meal is to offer a reprieve from a day-long meeting, consider a more playful meal that allows guests to customize choices (i.e. sundae bar).
If coordinating a stand-up reception, steer clear of anything with bones, dipping sauces, shells, etc.
While food stations are nice, guests will take more time at each one, which can limit their time to mingle and enjoy the food. Assess your space and time constraints and order food that complements each.
Depending upon the nature of your event, you may have 5 to 15 percent attrition and can almost guarantee a few walk-ups. Discuss with your caterer the overage percent they prepare. Typically, our caterers stick very close to our final tally, so be careful which number you guarantee.
Ask for a tasting so you can see the portions of food. If you are hosting a buffet lunch and the sandwiches are cut in half, most likely guests may only take a half instead of a whole.
For receptions, ask for selections such as dips, spreads, cheese platters, and food trays, where you’re charged an item cost instead of a per-piece expense.
Have you accounted for staff or volunteers who should also be fed? Be sure to include them in your meal count.
Beer and Wine Pairing
By Mina Holliday of Hop City Craft Beer and Wine
When choosing alcohol for individuals, think about their daily drink choices
People who like their coffee black will lean towards more bitter drinks such as IPAs.
Those who want more sugar and cream in their coffee will go with sweeter drinks.
Three types of beers typically chosen for events
Make sure your bar offers a combination of these beers to hit everyone’s pallet.
Easy drinking like Budweiser or Stella.
Session beers like Sweetwater 420 or IPAs.
Fun beers like Blue Moon or Shock Top.
The rise of craft brewing has add more choices for planners while allowing events to serve beers that reflect the local area’s ingredients and culture.
Wine is also seeing a rising trend in varietals. The classic choices remain the safest choices such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. However, by going outside the box with a new trend like Garnacha or Rose, you can treat your guests to a pleasant surprise while saving a few dollars in your budget.
Head down to your local Hop City and speak with Mina or another staff member to help pick the best choices for your budget.