Often, catering an event can feel like running a three ring circus. It takes great timing, impeccable planning and a lot of heads — and hands — to pull off an event with finesse.
Fundraising events, in particular, which are typically run as a partnership between two very different management staffs, can be a special challenge. There are both the concern of the organization that's hosting the event and that of the foodservices group that handles the food, and often decor, that must be taken into account. Together, they demand attention to highly diplomatic details coupled with highly creative ingenuity.
But there are some advantages. For chefs and FSDs, catering such an event generally includes larger food budgets than standard catered affairs, allowing the culinary staff a chance to flex its culinary muscle and creativity.
And, the corporate goodwill generated by the event not only benefits onsite operators in the short term, but can lead to future opportunities with the same organization and/or offshoot events from the attending guests as well.
The many challenges include staffing, of course, as well as more demanding equipment needs. Both are easy to address with a little ingenuity.
Onsite operators FM spoke to had some great ideas on how to best execute such events, from developing unique menus to take advantage of the existing off-site kitchen equipment, to enlisting the help of volunteers from the non-profit host organization.
From simple bake sales to grand black tie affairs, catered events boost bottom line profits and can keep the foodservices staff motivated and energized to take on the next big event!