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Catering Tips

Catering On A Budget

When it comes to catering, sticking to a budget is important. No one wants to spend more money than they have to, but running out of food can be an embarrassing issue. If you have an upcoming event, here are some cost-effective catering ideas and tips to help you please your guests while staying within budget.

Breakfast All Day
Morning menus are often cheaper so serving breakfast or brunch for lunch can be a smart option. Simply up your game with breakfast proteins like ham, bacon, and sausages served in casseroles, breakfast burritos or frittatas. Add a bagel, juice, and yogurt bar, along with fruit trays and pastries to round out the meal.

Buffets vs. Boxed Lunches
While boxed lunches can be convenient in most situations, a buffet-style lunch can be more cost-effective for larger groups. Your guests can mingle while enjoying the variety and freedom to build a plate to their liking. For smaller gatherings, you may want to opt for boxed lunches, and those with food allergies, dietary restrictions, or picky eaters can order their own meal to minimize waste and stay within budget.

Choose Meats Wisely
Less expensive cuts of meat, such as chicken, can help you please the crowd while controlling the cost. Enhance these meals with vegetables, stews, or curries. In addition, an all vegetarian menu can not only address dietary concerns but save you money overall.

Choose Cost-Effective Cuisines
Some types of foods are more expensive than others. If you’re looking for budget-friendly foods, steer toward Mexican, Indian, Thai, or Chinese cuisine over Japanese, French or Italian dishes that tend to be higher in price per person.

Time Is Money
If possible, put a time cap on your event. Rather than hosting an all-out, all-night shindig, opt for a shorter event, such as after-work happy hour. In this case, hors d’oeuvres can go a long way, reducing costs and pleasing guests since finger foods are fun and filling.

Bar Basics
Providing a full open bar can be costly and tricky. If you want to serve alcohol at your event, try creating one signature cocktail supplemented with beer and wine. Or you can simply limit it to beer and wine to keep your budget in check.

Nix The Staff
Depending on the event, you may not even need staff. Keep it casual to cut labor costs and catering price. Caterers can set up the food per your directions and employees can serve themselves.

Portion Control
When it comes to catering, we often over-order to prevent having too little food. The problem is that this can become costly and wasteful. Here are some simple guidelines for proper catering portions:

  • Proteins (ex. pulled pork, brisket): 4-5 ounces per person
  • Fried chicken or similar dishes: 3 pieces per person
  • Tacos: 2 per person
  • Sushi: 8-10 pieces per person
  • Side Dishes: 4 ounces per person

If you are looking for casual, cost-effective catering, look no further than the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli! From boxed lunches to sandwich catering packs to meat and cheese deli trays and more, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call at 909-596-5225 to discuss your options. You can also find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Catering Mistakes To Avoid

If you are planning a party of special event, remember that not all catering services are equal. It is important to do your research and choose a catering company can meet your expectations and need. One simple misstep can potentially ruin your event. Avoid these common catering mistakes for your next party or special event.

Mistake: Choosing based on price.
While it is important to set a budget and stick to it, going for the cheapest rate is not always the best route. You have to wonder why and how they can offer such low prices because, more often than not, it’s too good to be true. Some caterers are new to the business and fairly inexperienced, thus may not be able to provide the services you expect. Other companies may do the bare minimum, disregarding service and quality. Bottom line, you get what you pay for so choose wisely.

Mistake: Not tasting the food.
For most people, tastings are the best part of choosing a caterer. Still, some people may overlook this step and choose based on other factors. Don’t be one of those people – tastings are a MUST. You do not want to serve bad tasting food, period. Even if the presentation is stunning, if the food is bad, that is what your guests will remember.

Mistake: Lack of communication.
Much like any contract, you should go over it with a fine-tooth comb before signing. Review everything with your caterer to ensure the menu, services, and other details will be exactly as discussed. Understand the pricing breakdown to ensure there are no hidden fees or surprises. Be sure that all of your needs have been met and that they pledge to keep their word and deliver on the day of the event.

Mistake: Not standing your ground.
Stand firm on what you want and need. Keep a log of food ideas and service requirements before meeting with different companies. Know your budget limits and keep track of any verbal estimates received. If there is something they cannot accommodate, move on.

Mistake: Not doing your research.
Make use of all resources available (search online, read reviews, check for recommendations) to ensure you are on the right track and asking the right questions. Aside from looking for catering companies on your own, ask your friends and family for recommendations – word of mouth can be a helpful resource.

Mistake: Not having enough food.
Despite sending out invitations and RSVP cards, you may still have unexpected guests show up. Always plan for the unexpected. Because most catering services only bring food for the exact number of expected guests, you can either round up your guest count or get a written assurance that they will have extra food and will be prepared for any surprises.

Do you have any catering horror stories or other helpful tips? Share them with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

And remember, we can cater your party or special event! Call 909-596-5225 to learn more or stop in to discuss our sandwich catering options. We’re located at 105 E. Arrow Hwy (on the northeast corner of E. Arrow Hwy & Garey Ave) in Pomona, CA.