Event Menu Mishaps: 5 Event Catering Mistakes to Avoid

November 24, 2023 Desiree Homer

Food matters. And when you’re curating brilliant New York events, you can’t afford to have event menu mishaps. So, when you find the best-fit catering partner, you can be sure every detail is planned and every contingency is considered. Take your time choosing NYC catering professionals who have experience with your types of events and headcounts. Sample the fare before making official menu selections. And make sure you communicate effectively with your caterer through every planning effort. Because if you don’t, you’re headed for potential meal service catastrophes and menu mishaps like these.

1. Over or Undershooting the Food

The only thing worse than paying for more food than your event attendees is running short of dinners, snacks, and appetizers. Even if every other aspect of your NYC event is on point, if your guests are going hungry, they’ll get hangry. You don’t want to overspend either, preparing too much food that will go unserved. So, work with your catering professionals to get as close to perfect on your meal count as possible, allocating for additional headcount without blowing the budget.

2. Short Staffed for Service

The food might be fantastic coming out of the kitchen. However, if your catering team is short-staffed, and the food sits around too long, it might finally arrive in front of your guests cold or unsavory. It’s a tough hiring market out there right now. So, make sure whomever you partner with for catering, you have the conversation about staffing and servicing your event. Make sure you have enough hands to deliver top-notch meal service, meal preparations, and meal clean-up afterward.

3. Overlooking Guest Meal Preferences

Another common event menu mishap involves overlooking guest preferences for meal and beverage service. Take special care to account for dietary restrictions and needs, along with those attendee selections for beef or chicken. Accommodations for food and beverage should provide options, including balances of sweet and savory, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, along with plain variations of complex dishes. Remember, when guests can’t find something on the event menu to eat or drink, they will no longer be able to enjoy themselves.

4. Poor Time Management

Being selective and thorough about choosing your catering partner allows you to choose a great time manager. We’ve all been to that one party when the catering service showed up late or was late rolling out dinner. And you’ll also remember how grumpy the guests got waiting impatiently for their anticipated meal. Iron out the timing from prep to clean up with your caterers so you can avoid poor timing relating to your meal service.

5. Unknown Ingredients

This event menu mishap can be devastating. If you bring in a caterer with staff who is unfamiliar with the ingredients they’re preparing, it could lead to an event guest having a food allergy reaction. As an event planner, it’s your responsibility to note guests’ needs. And while you can’t necessarily account for every allergy of every person, especially with larger corporate events and conferences, you’ll need to rely on the caterer to make public the ingredients and preparation methods used so guests can be informed before they dine. Nothing tanks an event faster than an ambulance call because of a medical emergency.

Meet Great Catering Partners at The Expo

If you’re struggling to build a community of top-notch caterers for your event planning business, meet the best of the best event services at The Event Planner Expo! This three-day conference assembles top pros in every corner of the events and hospitality industries. And it’s the one place you can find genius partners you need to plan bigger and better events. Get your Expo tickets and secure your exhibitor booth for next October!

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