food for events

Should I have my Event Catered?

People need to eat (surprise!). When planning your event, you’ll need to ask yourself early on if you will be serving refreshments, a meal, meals, or requiring that people leave the premises to eat. If you choose to provide food for your guests, you may decide from a variety of catering options depending on the nature of event itself as well as its timing.

Celebratory Events

For celebratory events, such as birthday parties, bar mitzvah’s or high school reunions, the answer is almost always a resounding yes to offering food options to your guests. Events like this beg for a spread of delicious and fun refreshments, whether that be in the form of fancy finger foods or buffet style meal. Food is considered by many as one of the very best parts of a celebration, so denying event go-ers of tasty treats altogether, is probably going to take away from their enjoyment of the overall experience.

Food (especially quality catering) can act as a great conversation starter, a break from the planned activities, and gives people something to do with their hands (and mouth) when they’re not chatting, dancing, or otherwise actively participating.

Good cuisine adds to the ambiance of an event and gives you an opportunity to further develop your event’s theme or your guest of honor’s unique personality. It can also act like part of the décor with its impressive visual interest and appealing aromas. What any event planner does not want is for their attendees to become hungry and leave before the event is officially over.

Corporate Events

For corporate events such as conferences, and seminars, providing catering isn’t always expected, although it almost certainly is appreciated by your attendees. When it comes to a fundraiser, it is a good idea to provide something to offer your guests in the form of food and beverage.

Asking your audience to leave the conference center for a meal could pose a great deal of added work and hassle to their day, not to mention taking time away from their participation in your event. Oftentimes, attendees are not familiar with the surrounding food options and will have a difficult time finding a restaurant that is both quick and convenient while also being agreeable to their tastes and dietary restrictions. This could all cause quite a bit of frustration.

Providing food for your attendees doesn’t have to be difficult and it can add to the success of the event. Taking advantage of in-house catering services allows you to have more control over the timing of your event and keeping them well fed and hydrated should translate into a more engaged and focused group.

What to Serve

Ok, ok – you might be saying to yourself – so, what type of food offerings should I opt for?

Great question. Let the time and event type lead you to your decision. Let’s say you’re hosting a high school reunion in the evening, after dinner time. In this case, you may decide to simply go with an hors d’ouvres and desserts menu, along with a bar of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. On the other hand, if you’re throwing a day-time bat or bar-mitzvah, you might serve a sit-down meal of lunch or dinner depending on the time of the event. A large birthday party might be better suited for a buffet style meal where people can move and eat more freely.

When considering catering for a corporate event, focus on providing enjoyable yet nutritious fair that will keep your audience satisfied, not sluggish. If your event starts early, offer breakfast, if the event goes into the afternoon, offer lunch, and so forth. Consider how much time your attendees will have to eat as well as the space you’re utilizing and that should dictate what’s most feasible.

Some in-house catering services, like those offered at the South San Francisco Conference Center offer a range of menu packages, giving you clear and easy to select options, while also having the culinary expertise to provide variation and customization where needed.

Beyond the practical, providing food and beverages to your guests shows your appreciation for them and their attendance. Your hospitality goes a long way. Show them you value their presence enough to feed their stomach’s and they’ll likely give you more of their time, attention, and energy in return.

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