F&B is a major overhead - do you have any tips for managing this line item? Do you serve chicken instead of beef? Tap water rather than bottled? Opt for buffet or street food rather than a sit down meal? Please share your tips for catering on a budget.
Overspends on catering are often due to poor planning- know your budget and provide smaller less complex food - using an experienced catering professional saves money in the long run as they know the best ways to stretch a budget without compromising quality - remember that safe food is worth paying for and if you bring in street food vendors they must be licenced and dependable
Thanks Julie. You touch on a good point there, I think - providing less food. Not so people go hungry, of course, but so there is lest wastage. The challenge is getting the estimates just right - what methods do people use for that?
I think tailoring the food to the event theme is key. Getting quotes from different suppliers and researching their services beforehand helps.
Hi Belinda, estimating the catering is really difficult. For me helpfull was at my previous events with about 150-250 participants to look at the what time the caterings are. I used to organise 1-day events where we offered a breakfast buffet, small snacks during the day, lunch and and the end of the day cocktail snacks and drinks. My experience was that you can order diffrent ammount of catering for each break. Breakfast normally about 50-60% from the participants eat, Snacks will then eat also about 50-60%, Lunch, if it is included, most of the participants will join and for the the cocktail snacks also about 50-60% of the participants will stay.
Excellent tip Katri. Have you even been caught out by underestimating?
One time I underestimated the ammount of catering we needed for the cocktail recpetion. We had changed the menu and the catering company did smaller food portions as usual. That way the guest were also taking more food portions than estimated per person. As well more people stayed at the cocktail reception than expected as it had started raining outside . Luckily the catering companies I used to work with did always reserve some extra food, so we were able to fix the situations without the guest noticing the lack of food.
Well done for managing that one so well. I’ve been to events where I have noticed a distinct lack of canapés. You have to position yourself by the kitchen doors in order to get any! I think it’s especially important to have ample nibbles when you have an after work event at around 6/7pm and everyone’s hungry.