If you are having a party, you may want to have great food. Many of us judge events we go to on the refreshments they offer. The good news is that you can have great food without spending a lot of money. Good catering does not have to break your bank. Catering experts recommend the following tips.
Tips to Save Money on Catering:
- Consider the promotional opportunity for the caterer. If you are launching a product or fundraising for a good charity, you may be able ti get your catering donated. Talk to a new restaurant that wants to spread the word about their new business. If you know there will be a larger group of people, ask local businesses to donate their products. For fundraisers, this can be an excellent public relations win for the business who donates food or beverages. This is especially true if you have media cover your event. A personal chef may want to showcase their talents at a bigger event with lots of potential clients and customers.
- Cut your costs by not having wait staff. If you need small party catering, you may not need people to walk around and serve your guests. Event catering can be unstaffed. You basically just buy the food from the caterer. You can also go to places like Costco for your food options and Trader Joe’s for wine and other beverages. All of this depends on the kind of event you are planning.
- Shorten your event time. This is one really good way to keep your catering costs down. If you are going for a full service catering situation, shorten the length of time you have your party. Rather than having a cocktail party and then a seated dinner, have stations open for a few hours. The time for the latter tends to be around three hours while when people break the event into a cocktail and then a dinner portion, that extends to over five hours. Having a shorter party does not mean the attendees have less of a good time. These can provide people with more chances to mix and mingle with each other and saves you money in the catering but also the venue rental (if that is an issue).
- Limit the booze to beer and wine. You do not have to have a full open bar to give your attendees a great time. If you want to make your guests feel more special, offer better selections of beer and wine. Ask the caterer about specialty drinks that are make with sparkling wine. Show your guests you care about their experience by pairing the wines and beers with some of the foods you are serving.
- Pick foods that highlight the region or a theme. You can serve really good food that is less expensive but is a specialty to the region where you are having your party. Some people swear that the only part of the United States that gets crab cakes right is Maryland. If you are in an area like that, take advantage of local specialties. You do not have to splurge on filet mignon to give your guests a great dining experience.
- Keep your events simple and fun. Events held in the summer months are perfect for this but having informal gatherings can be a fun way to make sure your guests have a great time while lowering the costs of the catering. Rather than having a full bar, a do it yourself bar with punch bowls full of limeade or other beverages such as sangria.
- Pick your venue wisely.
If you must rent a room, make sure you can use the catering you want to use. Some have contracts with specific caterers and do not allow you to go to anyone else. Ask around and make sure you are getting the best deal for your money. It is worth it to look at a few options.
The catering can make a party or other event but it does not have to be super expensive. If you follow these tips when catering your next event, you can make sure yours is a fun event with great food and drinks and stay within your budget.