As a New York event planner, you’re no stranger to working with catering services and meal planners for your events. And if you’ve been in the business long enough, you’ve seen it all - good, bad, and really ugly. But catering service today is different and very dynamic. And when asked, the best caterers will tell you there are a few industry myths that need to be debunked.
1. Your Catering Bill Is All Food
When event planners talk to their clients about choosing the event menus and pricing, many still tell them that 99% of the cost is food-related. In today’s economy, that’s not so much the case anymore. In fact, more of the catering bill involves labor, supplies, and service expertise than it does rice pilaf. And if you’re unsure about the breakdown of costs included with your catering bill, just ask. It’s better to know and be transparent with your client than guess and perpetuate an industry myth.
2. Never Pick Chicken Because Caterers Get It Wrong
Nothing is more cringe-worthy than rubbery buffet chicken at your New York event. And at some point, some event planners would deter their clients from even choosing chicken as an option. But if you’re working with a professional caterer who doesn’t buy the pre-packaged, frozen cordon bleu and chicken kiev, don’t stress about the chicken. The pros who are willing to share samples of their delectable chicken morsels with you before the event are more than capable of serving it perfectly come event time.
3. Your Event Doesn’t Need Appetizers, Right?
Yes, yes, it does. There is a myth that cocktail hour snacks and appetizers are an unnecessary expense when in fact, it’s one of the most important food and beverage elements in the event planning budget. Talk with your catering professionals about what they have to offer in appetizer services. And convince your event clients not to cut this corner.
4. It Shouldn’t Take an Hour to Setup/Teardown
Stop putting rushes on your food and beverage providers. Every service will have its own timeline for setup and teardown. Don’t presume it’s going to take an hour or less. And don’t communicate your “guesstimates” to your event clients without confirming the actual time required from all participating food and beverage vendors.
5. Pad Your Guest Count
Your catering partners don’t want you to pad the attendance numbers and head counts. Back in the day, event planners would try to estimate more accurately, counting additional guests who hadn’t officially RSVP’d. And since a trend started whereby planners would tell their caterers a bigger headcount to avoid running out of food. But in today’s planning environment, don’t do it. Most catering professionals will already plan for some overages and unexpected guests, as much as 5% food and beverage prep. Be honest with your catering partners about headcounts and verify their best practices for contingency planning additional plates if necessary.
Keep these catering myths at bay whenever you plan food and beverage services for your New York events. And learn more about emerging trends and event services by attending The Event Planner Expo 2023 this October.