Event Planning: Catering and Dining Options (FOOD!)

Catering and Dining Options at your Event:

Delicious food and its presentation are always both at the center of every event. Hosts are remembered by their guests for providing scrumptious food that enhances the guest experience of the event. Guests who are satisfied with your food selections will not go home hungry and will be raving about your event for days and weeks follow. Food is one of those things that is so important to the overall satisfaction of your guest experience – that is included in the Top 5 Vendors post above. Blue Lotus Insights has worked with a number of caterers that appreciate what they do, and are bent on provided the client with more than what is asked – and are prepared to go ‘above-and-beyond’ on event day. Your event planner should have several options for every type of food regardless of ethnic origin.

Part of the experience of food is the manner which the dining is presented to your guest. Blue Lotus Insights outlines for you here, three dining options and two cocktail hour options that might be best for the type of event you would be having:

Cocktail Hour – Guests will begin to experience your event through the cocktail hour. It is always great to provide them with a great teaser of what is to come for the rest of your event. Tray pass appetizers complimented by signature drinks and wine always sets the right mood. For those who would like to dabble with something a bit ‘more’ – we recommend having a large display of your food options set out in beautiful chaffing dishes through a buffet set-up. This will allow all your guests to explore for themselves and enjoy the various delicacies and enchanting beverages that you have customized for the event.

Course Plated Meal – A multiple course meal that is individually served to your guests at their seat is a great way for your guests to enjoy the the ambiance you have created. Course meals can range from two courses to as many you would like to have. Most events will choose the traditional three course meal – soup, salad, and main course – so that the guests have a variety of food that they get to taste. A course meal is always best for an event that might serve dishes that are signature items that guests would have a substantial portion of. It is always a great idea to provide the guest with options, especially for the main course since some guests might have dietary restrictions. A course meal is usually recommended for awards ceremonies, corporate events, intimate gatherings and weddings of certain sizes.

Family Style – When an event will have multiple dishes that the guests will get the opportunity to taste, it might be a nice change to try ‘family-style’ over buffet, which has certainly re-gained popularity in recent years. Family style meals requires the guest to remain at their tables and be served a gourmet meal without having to lift a dish. When deciding to do family style serving be sure to have various dishes, as well as wait staff that attends to every table. Be sure to also have numerous catering and hotel staff efficiently plating the dishes into smaller containers in the kitchen to keep things warm, fresh and flowing.

Buffet – For dishes that might contain curries, rices, breads, meats, and vegetables with a large guest count, a buffet meal service might be the most efficient and least expensive way to serve your guests. Buffet meal service is very popular for good reason: often it is a great way for your guests to be able to eat as much food as they would like to eat, and mingle with each other while at the Buffet. It also provides the opportunity to taste test items that they otherwise would not have tried, and reduces waste. Blue Lotus Insights recommend to all its clients that there be at least two double sided buffets of event sizes of 300 guests or more. Also recommended is to have your event team of coordinators escort four to six tables at a time — so that your guests don’t have to wait in line for long periods of time.

With any choice, there are certainly more logistics to consider, but an experienced event planner will make the experience a seamless and fun meal service. If you choose Blue Lotus Insights as your premium event planner – rest assured, we have the right kind of experience with Dining Options like these described above to ensure your guests are raving for weeks.