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Choosing a catering supplier for your next event? Here are our top tips

When orchestrating events, the choice of catering can significantly influence attendees’ experience. For event managers, picking the right catering supplier ensures not just satiated guests, but also a lasting impression, whether your hosting a small networking sessions, conference or awards. Here are some key considerations to guide that choice, based on input from delegates and suppliers at the Event Organisers Summit…

  1. Understand Your Audience:
    • Dietary Preferences & Restrictions: Be aware of potential dietary restrictions such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and allergies. Caterers should be adept at managing and clearly marking such items.
    • Cultural Considerations: If your event attracts a diverse crowd, opt for caterers experienced in a variety of cuisines.
  2. Quality of Food & Presentation:
    • Tasting Sessions: Before committing, request tasting sessions to evaluate the quality, flavour, and presentation of dishes.
    • Freshness: Inquire about the source of ingredients. Local and seasonal produce often translates to fresher and more flavourful dishes.
  3. Budget & Cost Effectiveness:
    • Transparent Quotations: Ensure quotations are clear, inclusive of all costs like setup, service, and VAT.
    • Flexibility: A good caterer can provide options that fit various budget constraints without compromising quality.
  4. Experience & Reputation:
    • Past Events: Seek out caterers experienced in serving events similar to yours, whether corporate seminars, weddings, or large-scale conventions.
    • Client Testimonials: Reputable suppliers will have testimonials or references. Previous clients’ feedback can offer invaluable insights.
  5. Service & Staffing:
    • Professionalism: The staff’s behaviour, attire, and efficiency can greatly impact the overall experience.
    • Staff-to-Guest Ratio: Ensure the caterer can provide an adequate number of staff to serve and attend to your guests efficiently.
  6. Logistical Considerations:
    • Equipment & Setup: Check if the caterer has the necessary equipment, from serving dishes to mobile kitchens, especially for venues lacking in-house facilities.
    • Timeliness: Emphasise the importance of punctuality, ensuring food is prepared, presented, and served on schedule.
  7. Customisation & Menu Flexibility:
    • Tailored Menus: Events often have themes or specific vibes. A flexible caterer should be willing to tailor menus to fit these nuances.
    • Seasonal Updates: Top caterers often update their offerings based on seasons, ensuring fresh and apt dishes.
  8. Licensing & Compliance:
    • Health & Safety: Ensure the catering supplier adheres to UK food safety and hygiene regulations.
    • Liquor Licensing: If alcohol is to be served, confirm that the caterer possesses the requisite licences.
  9. Environmental Considerations:
    • Sustainability: With a growing emphasis on sustainability, many event managers prefer caterers who source ethically, reduce waste, and use biodegradable packaging.
    • Local Sourcing: Caterers who source ingredients locally not only offer fresher dishes but also reduce the event’s carbon footprint.
  10. Cancellation & Backup Plans:
  • Contingencies: Events can be unpredictable. Ensure your caterer has a plan for unforeseen circumstances, from bad weather to supply chain disruptions.

The right catering supplier can elevate an event, making it memorable for all the right reasons. By meticulously vetting potential caterers with these considerations in mind, UK event managers can ensure a seamless, enjoyable, and delicious event experience for all attendees.

Are you researching catering suppliers for your next event? The Event Organisers Summit can help!

Image by Pexels from Pixabay


Stuart O'Brien

All stories by: Stuart O'Brien