A successful catered event is like an exquisitely choreographed dance, one with several key performances. Each of those routines must be executed flawlessly for the event as a whole to be considered a tour de force.

Events have multiple moving parts, which is why it’s essential for caterers to be attentive to details and navigate the potential pitfalls. Here are some basic catering faux pas to avoid.

Not Having a Plan B

When planning an event, prepare for unforeseen snafus. It’s not realistic to think of every possible thing that can go wrong, but be sure to consider the trickier parts of the day and how to handle curveballs.

For example, if your party is happening outdoors, what’s your contingency for bad weather? Having a plan B means that if you need to pivot, you already know which direction to go.

Failing to Follow Up With Other Vendors

When relying on other vendors to provide specialty goods or services (for instance, a coffee bar vendor or a donut bar vendor; hey, they’d go great together!), it’s crucial to confirm the dates, times, and other contact details multiple times with each vendor. Consistent follow-up lessens the chance of miscommunication or other problems arising on the day of the event.

Underestimating How Much Food to Prepare

This is a big one. There’s no way to know precisely how many people will be in attendance. The best you can do is estimate. And the last thing you want to happen is to leave last-minute guests longing for a taste of food. Be ready for additional attendees by bumping up your estimate by around five people. Like any Italian grandmother will tell you, it’s better to have extra than not enough.

Underestimating the Time Needed to Set Up

It’s crucial for all the setup to be completed before any guests arrive. This can be tricky to estimate, depending on whether or not you’ve worked in that particular space before. Work with the venue to get in as early as possible. The clock doesn’t run out before all the details are in place.

Neglecting to Accommodate Food Allergies

With so many people experiencing allergies to common foods, caterers have to prepare, or they run the risk of facing an unpleasant situation. Ask the client if there are any known allergies among the guests. To be safe, offer a variety of foods so that guests with limitations will still have a choice. Lastly, include a card listing the ingredients in each recipe so that guests can review it and determine if the dish is safe for them.

The common theme among this list is something the Boy Scouts have known for a long time: Be Prepared. When caterers can look ahead and be ready for all of these possible pitfalls, their event is sure to win rave reviews.


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