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Your Checklist for Success in the Art of Catering

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Planning and executing a successful catering event can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Whether you're a seasoned catering professional or first-timer looking to impress your guests, having a well-organized checklist is the key to ensuring that every detail is covered, from the initial brainstorming stage to the final presentation. Use this blog as your trusted guide in walking you through essential steps and considerations to making your catered event a success!

1. Define Event Objectives:

☐ Determine the purpose and goals of the corporate event with your team. It’s important to set clear expectations and keep the purpose of the event in mind throughout the planning process

2. Budget Planning:

☐ Establish a budget for your catering expenses

☐ Consider additional costs such as staff, equipment, and decorations that you may want for the event

3. Guest List:

☐ Create a guest list with accurate numbers

☐ Note any dietary restrictions or special requests for those attending the event

4. Venue Selection:

☐ Choose a suitable venue with the necessary facilities for catering, tables, speakers, awards or whatever will be needed for your event

☐ Ensure the venue aligns with the event's theme and objectives

5. Catering Service Selection:

☐ Research and select a reputable catering company

☐ Discuss menu options, pricing, and any customization you may need

6. Menu Planning:

☐ Design a menu that accommodates various dietary preferences and restrictions

☐ Include a variety of appetizers, main courses, sides, desserts, and beverages. Note the time of day your event is being held at and adjust your portions accordingly

7. Beverage Selection:

☐ Decide on alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options

☐ Consider specialty drinks or a bar service if applicable

8. Catering Staff:

☐ Arrange for the appropriate number of servers, bartenders, and staff. Your catering company can help you arrange for this far in advance

☐ Ensure they are well-trained, professional and know the event expectations ahead of time

9. Dietary Accommodations:

☐ Verify and communicate dietary restrictions to the catering team

☐ Arrange for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other options as needed

10. Presentation and Setup:

☐ Discuss table settings, linens, and decorations with your caterer and the staffing teams

☐ Plan the layout of food stations or buffet tables so it is clear where to set up

11. Timing and Schedule:

☐ Create a detailed schedule for food service, bartending, and severs, including setup and cleanup

☐ Ensure there's ample time for guests to enjoy their meals and any presentation or speaker you may have

12. Rentals:

☐ Work with your caterer to arrange for additional rentals if needed such as tables, chairs, linens, napkins, florals or glassware. Most catering companies will facilitate this for you along with your food service

13. Signage and Labels:

☐ Label food items clearly with stickers or tent cards especially if there are allergens present

☐ Provide signage with menu descriptions

14. RSVP and Seating:

☐ Track guest RSVPs to adjust the catering quantities

☐ Plan seating arrangements if it's a sit-down event

15. Beverage Service:

☐ Coordinate with the catering team for beverage service and refills

16. Payment and Contracts:

☐ Review and sign contracts with the catering company

☐ Ensure payment terms are clear and agreed upon

17. Post-Event Evaluation:

☐ Gather feedback from attendees and evaluate the catering's performance

A well-structured catering checklist is your secret weapon for ensuring that your next event is a seamless and memorable experience. By planning every aspect of your catering, from menu creation to logistics and presentation, you'll not only impress your clients and guests but also build a reputation for excellence! Remember, the devil is in the details, so, as you begin your next catering adventure, refer to this checklist, adapt it to your specific needs, and watch as your catered events flourish with success.


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