When it comes to the celebration of any kind, food is an integral part. Food and beverages have evolved to be the life of the event. If you consult any event planner, you would know that the menu, dining setting, and theme are very essential. Whether you choose a private caterer or go with a package provided by your event manager, the process of menu selection is almost the same. Do not get going with the pre-designed menu, which is kept as a blueprint for all the events by your caterer. As mentioned before, it is just a blueprint. Now, how to create a menu?
Buffet vs table meal
If you have a party with just ten people, it is better to stick with a la carte meal, where you can hire servers and chefs to work with the guests. If you are looking for a larger group, it is better to stick with a buffet. There are many other criteria to take into consideration while choosing between buffet and table-meal. If you are planning to stick with the buffet, here is everything you need to make your meal, memorable.
Find the right caterer
The first step to creating a perfect menu is choosing the right caterer. You need to choose a reliable, experienced caterer, who is willing to be flexible with his menu. Many caterers just go with the blueprint because they have resources only meant for those items. To aid this flexibility, you need to choose a caterer who has a diverse staff with different types of chefs and other personnel. At the same time, you cannot expect a caterer to have everything but, he should be willing to find the exact resources for you. For instance, if you need a cotton candy station, you cannot restrict your caterer options to only those who own a station. If your caterer could rent one for your event, it is more than enough.
Diversity in menu
Do not restrict all the items to one cuisine or type of dish unless it is a theme party related to any food. You need food items from every category. For instance, if you are choosing a lunch menu, you need the main course, dessert, appetizers, sandwiches and even kid's meals like nuggets and others. Water is very essential. Make sure you mention it to your caterer. It is one of the most common items that most caterers miss.
Breakfast, lunch or Dinner
Based on the meal, the style of the menu varies. If you are choosing a breakfast meal, it is easier to add a few cuisines to give diversity. Breakfast is something people prefer to select among freshly-made items. Thus, breakfast stations like pancake stations, omelet stations, and others would be good options.
When it comes to the lunch buffet, it depends on the style of your event. Will your guests be dining as they enjoy any program? Is there a seating arrangement with tables or is it a birthday party with just chairs? Again, multiple cuisines with some easy lunch choices like sandwiches and salad would help to keep your feast diverse for all kinds of guests.
Dinner buffets are best to be included with packaged meal buffets and platted buffet. If the event runs late and your guests want to get back home soon, they can choose the packaged meal. Of all the three, if you are choosing a dinner event, the types of dishes and beverages should be more lavishing as people expect it to be. 3-5 course meals generally opt for dinner buffet.
Style of serving
There are three types of serving you could choose.
- Plated meal – Generally opted for parties with guests who do not have the liberty to move around while dining like seniors, pregnant women, mothers with infants and so on. As the name indicates, the meals are packed and the guests will have two or three options of packed meals to choose from. They can dine without having to walk around. If you are choosing a plated meal, you can allot just one hour for your mealtime in your agenda.
- Traditional buffet – this is the normal buffet option, where the food items will be in display in rows of tables and guests would walk around to choose what they want. If you are choosing this option, dedicated at least 2 hours in your agenda time.
- Passing items – if you have a lively party and the guests do not want to miss a moment of celebration, it is better to pass things like hors-d’oeuvres but, these are suitable for snacks and beverages only.
Depends on your guests
If you have a couple of Jew friends coming over, it is best to add a few kosher items into your buffet list. Take food allergies, vegans and other dietary restrictions into consideration while crafting a menu. You got to talk to your guests about any special requirements before you talk with your caterer. If you are looking for a larger diverse menu, you need the experts in the field who can handle different cuisine and different dietary requirements. Visit flavours catering to find exclusive options and choices for such a buffet menu.
You cannot put an unlimited amount of money into one event. Although not the prime factor, budget is an important factor for considering a menu. Usually, caterers charge the fee in a structure, under different categories. Top categories to get an estimate are
- Minimum catering fee – this is the cost per head for the buffet meal
- Labor charges – minimum charge for the staffs to set up the buffet and serve or replenish the food items
- Chef fee – if you have a food station like omelet station, fresh salad station and other, there will be a station fee and chef fee.
- Bartender fee – This fee is added if you have an open bar for the event.
- Room rent – if you are planning to host a party at home, you need not worry about it.
- Tax and service charges – usually 20% of the total cost is added as service charges, local taxes, and others.