Celebration and food go hand-in-hand, whether it is a carnival or wedding, birthday, or work party, and to ensure that guests enjoy the food as much or even more than the event itself event organizers heavily depend on the services of a local caterer. The party is what it is only because of the food served, and the caterer chosen by you can make a huge difference in the outcome. Hosts are at peace when engaging a caterer who takes care of everything that would please the guests with sumptuous and lip-smacking food that makes the event more memorable. On knowing that the guests would get treated in the best way, hosts can have as much fun as their guests.
Caterers play a critical role in taking care of all the gastronomic needs of guests and do something more than just taking care of the food. It is imperative to select the right caterer with experience in event catering to give the shine and gloss to events while allowing hosts to spend a relaxed time and paying more attention to attend the guests. That the caterer does more than just cooking and serving delicacies is evident from the role they play in Garden Parties when they take care of the management of the entire party on behalf of the host and even take care of selected guests through artist catering. It is the same whether you host a post-pandemic pot party or any theme parties or parties for celebrating special events.
To understand better what to expect from caterers and how best they can work to make clients happy, you must know their roles and responsibilities that begin with creating menus and goes up to event co-ordination and food services ending with clean up.
Caterers must prepare food menus based on the choice and budget of the host and include some popular items. A typical menu consists of appetizers and entrees followed by salads, sandwiches, distinctive delicacies, and any trademark offering like pizzas that bears the signature of the caterer. The menu must include all types of foods for vegans, non-vegans, gluten-free, and even non-allergic foods for children.
Some party hosting requires that the caterer delivers the food at the venue that has a scheduled chain of events. It calls for close co-ordination between the caterer and the host or event manager to determine the right time for serving food in between the events without causing any disruption to guests or infringing on the scheduled programs. This can happen during wedding receptions when the catering staff must be ready to switch-on and switch-off the services depending on the event happening at that particular time.
Whenever we talk about catering service and caterers, it goes without saying that serving food is their primary responsibility, and they must prepare the food by themselves. Caterers take complete responsibility for the catering needs. To serve freshly cooked food comprising of mouth-watering delicacies, they create the complete infrastructure for cooking food at the site by carrying with them all utensils, equipment, and accessories and raw materials required for the menu. In addition to cooking and serving tasty dishes, caterers must maintain good hygiene, health, and sanitary needs to meet legal and ethical requirements. They must also correctly estimate the food quantity and take proper measures in portion control by avoiding undeserving guests to minimize waste.
Transporting food items
On-site catering is challenging because it involves transporting food efficiently to the venue to complete the project. Different food items require maintaining various types of storage conditions during transportation. For example, salads and cold cuts need freezing, while meats and pasta must remain hot. Some things may be prepared earlier and brought to the site. Some others might require cooking on-site while some other foods like beef sandwich are brought in semi-finished condition and the final touches given at the location. Caterers must know proper packaging techniques of the items and even use the right accessories and catering supplies like sternos, racks, and thermal coolers to aid safe transportation of the food items in as-is-where-is condition.
Sometimes it is the responsibility of the caterer to set up the food area by placing tables, chairs, sofas, and other furniture for guest seating. It may be required even in locations that already have a pre-arranged dining area before the caterer arrives because the food serving staff may have to re-arrange the setting or change it completely to suit their requirements of serving. If the existing set-up does not meet the requirements of a buffet-style dinner, then the caterer must re-set the furniture according to the need.
Having done with the preparatory work of place settings, serving areas, and table placement, the caterer must pay attention to food preparation and serving, which is the primary purpose of hiring a caterer. The food must be ready in all respects according to the chosen menu and ready for serving to guests. The catering staff must be ready to go off the blocks right from the time they serve the first guest of the event. Table service is the usual mode of serving for formal events, and the catering staff will serve the meal at the table course-by-course while cleaning tables in between courses. Buffet style meals served at more casual events do not require serving food always but occasionally for some items for which guests line up at the food station. It can happen mainly when serving some desserts.
Having served food and entertained guests by ensuring that they have nothing more to ask for, it is time to wind up, and it is the responsibility of the caterer to clean up the food and dining area. It consists of removing plates, glasses, silverware, and linens from tables and cleaning garbage by collecting it is trash bags for disposal.
In the last lap, packing any left-over food as well as serving equipment and thermal containers and bags for taking back to the home location is the responsibility of caterer that marks the closure of the project.