Each year, more than 18 million meetings and events are put on around the United States. In holding these meetings, companies spend upwards of $122 million on them. Nearly 261,200 people are employed by the catering industry around the country. If you are looking for a caterer for your corporate meeting or event, here are some tips to make sure you get the right one for your needs.
- Talk to business owners and managers that you know. Look at the number of business meetings and corporate events that take place every year. If you know anyone who owns or manages a business, the chances are good that, unless they run or own a catering company or restaurant, that they have worked with an event production company. Remember to ask about catering companies near you. If you are looking to do an event in Los Gatos, you want a Los Gatos catering company to handle your shin dig or meeting.
- Think about the kind of event you are having. Not all corporate catering companies were created equal. If you are having a holiday party for your business, you will have very different needs than if you are hosting representatives from all over the country for a retreat type event. Some companies that are great for company retreats may not be the best for more social events that you want to put together for your staff.
- Think about the needs of your employees. There is a lot more awareness these days about food allergies and choices. Even if none of your staff or their families are vegans or vegetarians, they may still suffer from allergies to nuts, dairy, gluten or have problems with other foods. Make sure the corporate catering company will have all the options that can appeal to many different tastes and needs. While you may not be able to make everyone happy, you can do your best to make sure everyone can find something they can eat at your event.
- Taste the food. While you can buy all of your food, clothing, cars and just about everything else online without ever seeing, touching or tasting the items, when it comes to catering, it always makes sense to try it before you buy it. Regardless of what kind of event you are putting together, people will remember the food. That can make or break your event and change the way your business is viewed from within and without. Experts in corporate event planning recommend trying at least three different caterers’ samples to see what you think will be the best for your group.
- Where are you having your event? If you are having it in your own space, have the caterer some out and decide what they will be able to do for you. If you are going to an offsite spot for your event, talk to the catering company about what, if any, experience they have doing events there. The last thing you need is to find a great caterer, work out a great menu and then learn they cannot work with the facility you have selected.
- Be upfront about your budget. Before you look at who you will hire to do your corporate catering, spend sometime working on your budget for the event. Catering companies will want to work with you but they need to understand what you expect to spend. You should also have a clear understanding of what their policies are. You need to know, in advance, what will happen should you have to cancel. You may find yourself facing a hurricane, blizzard or maybe, a zombie apocalypse that will make it impossible to host your event on the date you want. Know what all your options are before you sign any contract.
Just because your event is a corporate meeting or a retreat does not mean you should not have good catering. This may not change your sales projects, prospects for the new year or anything else like that but it will make your event more enjoyable for everyone involved. This is also a great way to put your best face forward for the world to see.