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3 Tips to Avoid a Catering Nightmare at Your Next Event

The last thing you want is to run out of food prematurely.

Organizing an event can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be a lot of work. One of the most important aspects of any event is catering, as it plays a crucial role in ensuring the guests have a good time.

So, planning ahead is crucial.

Andrew Cavitolo, executive chairman at Riviera Caterers, wrote for Tasting Tables about one of his catering nightmares. Although for the catering business, his story is a lesson that any event organizer can learn from.

His business was catering a celebrity event and the client requested chicken wings from a specific restaurant in NYC. He agreed to provide those wings. However, in the final hour he realized that the restaurant wouldn’t open until later that evening and the event was during the day. Eventually, he was able to strike a bargain with the owner to open the kitchen up early. Then, disaster struck again. The restaurant no longer carried those wings.

Cavitolo was able to have his staff buy the ingredients and recreate the wings just in time. But this stress could’ve been completely avoided if they called ahead or briefly looked at the restaurant’s hours and menu options.

Don’t let something like this happen to you.

In order to make sure an event is properly catered, there are a few key steps that must be taken.

1. Define the Event’s Catering Needs

The first step in ensuring that an event is properly catered is to just determine what you need. This involves counting the number of guests, their dietary requirements, and the style of the event. For example, a formal dinner will require a different catering setup than a casual buffet for employees.

2. Select a Reputable Caterer

The next step is to select a reputable caterer that can meet the event’s needs. It’s important to research and compare different caterers to find one that can provide good-quality food within your budget. You should also read reviews and ask for recommendations from other event planners.

3. Provide Clear Instructions

After selecting a caterer, it is important to communicate all of the event details with them. This includes the event’s timeline, the expected number of guests, the menu, and the dietary requirements. This will ensure that the caterer can prepare and deliver the food on time.

Once the menu has been finalized, it’s important to provide clear instructions on how the food should be set up and served. This includes the placement of the food stations, the serving utensils and plates, and any other necessary items such as napkins and tablecloths.