Make Your Corporate Event Catering a Success

Make Your Corporate Event Catering a Success

Corporate catering can be a great way for a company to show appreciation to their staff or to just celebrate the company. However, it is important to note that corporate catering is unique and is not necessarily done the same way as catering other types of events.

Catering for large parties or a corporate event comes with many challenges, including when and where will the event be held, how to keep all the food hot, how to make sure everyone gets served in a timely fashion, what permits and licenses you will need to cater to a large party and what else is needed to ensure the function goes smoothly. Here is what you need to know about catering for large parties in a corporate environment.

Corporate Catering Event Locations

Location is important when it comes to catering a corporate event. Businesses have access to a wide range of locations to hold a corporate catering event. If it is going to be held during business hours, it can happen right there on company property. If the plan is to have the event at night or on weekends, they might consider renting a space, or it could be held at the CEO’s house.

Corporate Catering Challenges

In some cases, you might plan a menu around where the people are from, with foods that they might be more familiar with. For example, not everyone likes seafood, so in a seafood-heavy area, a barbecue option might work better. Think about where the people who will be at the event are coming from and how you might be able to offer a wide variety of foods so everyone will find something they like.

Meeting Delays

Meetings are very likely to run longer than the scheduled time frame and you have to be prepared to push back the time of dinner. Delays are a definite possibility when meetings are involved or someone is giving a presentation, and you never know how long it will be, especially if there is a question and answer session. You do have to be ready for that. You need the buffet set in place and all the food ready to go so people are not waiting for the food when the meeting is over. But again, you need to walk that fine line. You do not want the food sitting there for too long getting cold.

Kids Menus for Corporate Family Gatherings

Depending on where the gathering is being held, employees may bring their family with them. It might be the employees only that are invited, but companies are very family friendly now and the employees will have their whole family with them, including children. Since you will have children that may not want to eat the same foods you are serving the adults, you will have to plan to have a kids’ menu available.

If it is happening on a night or a weekend, most companies will invite family or spouses. If there are going to be a lot of kids there, definitely look at the food, but then also ask if they want to do any type of games or entertainment or hire a company to come in and have a bouncy house or something for the kids to do as well.

Companies can host a wide variety of events that need to be catered, and each one will need some planning and careful thought in order to be successful. Determine what type of event you are catering first -- whether it is for a large business meeting or a large company family get together -- and make the appropriate arrangements.

Before hosting an event that will have catering, it is important that you have the proper catering event permits and licensing for your location. Here is how you can make sure you are up to code before hosting your next event.

What Catering Event Permits Are Needed?

The biggest one is a propane or “open flame” permit. Most cities and towns require some type of advance notice and require knowing how much propane you are going to be transporting and where you are going to store it on the day of the event.

Depending on the city and town, there are certain ways that it does have to be transported. Either in the open back of a pick-up truck or in a secure container. Are they strapped in or tied down? It really is town and city dependent. Then, using that propane for cooking and having some sort of an open flame type of permit, depending on whether you are outdoors or inside a building, all of that comes into play with that permit.

It is easy to become overwhelmed with everything needed to cater to a large group of people. However, it is also something that can be very rewarding when you pull it off successfully. And this where your caterer can help.

Some cities and towns require you to file a permit prior to the event to get a one-day catering license for that town. In other places, once you have registered your event, the local health inspector could arrive the day of the event and do some spot-check to make sure you have your hand washing facilities in place, you are checking the temperature of the food every four hours and just making sure you are following the food safety rules. Be prepared for this and make sure your team knows what their roles are regarding food safety on the day of the event.

Depending on the location of the event, you may have to contact the local fire department beforehand. It usually goes hand-in-hand with the propane permit, because you are working with the fire department for both. Some cities will recommend you have a fire detail -- in some cities no matter how much propane you are using you have to hire a fire detail. You need to know the hours that you are going to be cooking or using the propane, and they are usually there for four or five hours at a time to make sure all the rules are being followed.

Liquor Licenses

If you will be having liquor at the event, you will want to be aware of whether you need to get a liquor license or not. A liquor license is really venue specific. Some venues hold their own licensing, and in other towns or venues, you need to file a one-day license. You definitely need a bartending service in place if you do need to file that one-day license, and they need to carry their own liability insurance.

Catering Event Insurance

Before catering your large event, it is important to look into what types of insurance you might need. The bartending company that you hire would carry liquor liability insurance and then your catering company would just carry a general liability and “workers comp” insurance policy. Some venues have themselves listed on your insurance specifically for that day while other venues have a blanket policy for the season. It is an additional cost to have them listed on your policy. If the event is for a company and they have a management company that owns the facility, it might be that management company that needs to be listed. So you definitely need to know the exact wording for that license to pass on the information correctly to the insurance company.

Although getting all of the licenses and permits in place to cater a large event can seem overwhelming, doing this well in advance of the event can make things go much more smoothly. You do not want to be scrambling at the last minute for a permit. Know what you need before the event and get everything done as far in advance as you can.

At Burnham’s, we have been catering large parties and corporate events for many years and would love to share with you the things we have learned over time. Catering for large groups of people is unique and very different from catering for a smaller group, but with the right planning and steps you can ensure your next event comes off without a hitch.

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