Be careful if you’re catering for everyone!


There’s one point of an event that for organisers is most probably out of their hands, but it’s hugely important and can land you with a plethora of complaints. I’m talking about catering! It can be a nightmare to get right.

Let me begin with a matter I’ve brought up on a number of occasions – the humble cuppa! The most quintessential of all things British, we simply can’t function without one. Honestly, I have lost count of the amount of places I’ve been to – purpose built places for events and catering – where it appears to be impossible to get a decent cup of ‘rosie-lee’. Coffee is just as unforgivable of course, as a caterer you’ll know how good your Ts & Cs are by the amount of half empty cups lying around. I’ve even started taking along my own Yorkshire Tea!

cup-of-tea-254852Mass catering can be a logistical nightmare we all know that. That’s why you simply must know in advance about special requirements. Gluten Free, Vegetarian, peanut allergies… I’ve even been at an event where one delegate was allergic to the very presence of a chili! In the air! You won’t believe the issues that caused. But that’s why you need to know all this info in advance of your event.

I asked organisers and delegates alike – what are your catering tips and pet hates at events. Here’s some of the response for you to bear in mind…

“Buffets seem like a good idea, but you need portion control. People will always take more and you may run out!”

“Canapes are great but they have to be easy, not messy and not difficult to eat with one hand”.

“Manage your queues at buffet stations – no one likes to queue too long when they’re hungry”.

“Chicken! – Why is it always chicken at dinners? The one dish that goes dry so quickly”.

“The bar is becoming more and more important. People have much finer tastes these days. Look at the craft beer and cocktails revolution! Wine is not everyone’s tipple”.

“Have the dirty plates and glasses cleared as soon as possible. Over-crowded tables are a smashing disaster waiting to happen”.

“Nothing looks more off putting than a beige buffet”. 

“Keep your delegates hydrated – water on the tables is important at a conference”.

I’m sure there are many other tips out there and if you’d like to share your favourites with us on our Twitter or Facebook pages, we’d love to hear!

The only tip from me – Don’t forget your AV crew! Keep them fed and you’ll have a smooth running event, a hungry crew can be a grumpy crew.

That’s enough for now, put the kettle on would you?