Party season is in full swing here at Cornerstone Theatre! With plenty of weddings and events kicking off in the coming weeks, our staff at both our Cornerstone Theatre site and those that handle the catering for the Nordic Centre face many questions with regards to catering. To assist with your planning, we’ve compiled our Top 5 Tips for Event Catering!
1. Have a firm budget and share it upfront
At first, glance, determining your catering budget can seem like a tricky endeavour. There’s a few basic things you’ll want to have in mind before you reach your final number:
- Know how many courses you’d like to have
- Have a relatively solid idea of final headcount
- Determine what kind of beverages you want to serve. Alcohol, for example, can significantly impact a budget.
From here your caterer can help you with the more refined questions that will help you determine your set amount. That being said, if you know the number you absolutely must abide by from the start, make sure your caterer knows this right away. It will save the hassle of countless revisions and minimize your chance of disappointment.
2. Be aware of any health and safety regulations/concerns
If any of your guests have specific dietary considerations that need to be accounted for, it’s best to get them out in the open as soon as possible. If you’re set on a particular type of menu or theme, it can be a bit of an undertaking to find suitable replacements for certain food elements. You’ll also want to make sure your catering company is familiar with any guidelines from your venue with regards to set up, tear down, etc.
3. Reference, references, references!
Hiring a caterer isn’t unlike selecting a new employee. You’ll want to make sure you’ve found someone reliable by checking their references. Consult sites like Yelp and Google to get the 411. If there’s someone that comes recommended but you can’t find much of a digital trail…ask! A reputable company is proud to show off their work and should be happy to share with you.
4. If you want to have liquor involved, know that there’s a lot of planning
While we cover this topic more in depth in our blog on planning your wedding bar bill, the fact is, alcohol can rapidly increase your overall catering budget, especially if you opt to go the open bar route. Speaking with your caterer can help you decide how much liquor you plan to have present, and what the best way to fit that into your budget is.
5. Have a clear itinerary for when food and drinks will be served and cleared.
As with health and safety regulations, knowing your venue’s policies on when parties are expected to vacate the area will impact your caterer’s schedule. If you’re planning on serving late into the evening, or early in the morning for conferences, it’s important to note that this may increase your spend due to the extra time onsite. Again, be upfront with your caterer from the start, and they can help you find the best way to keep food and drinks flowing, hassle-free!