Should You Have Your Event Catered? 6 Factors

When you're planning a wedding or organizing a conference, catering is an essential part of the event. If you're preparing for a birthday or anniversary party, family reunion, or other event, however, you may wonder whether or not you need to contact a caterer.

While not every event requires catering, catered food can be an essential part of many celebrations, meetings, and other occasions. In this blog, we list six factors you should consider when wondering if you need the help of a professional caterer.

1. Budget

Providing food at an event costs money, regardless of whether you prepare every delicacy yourself or have full-service catering. The trick is deciding which option works best with your budget. In many cases, catering is actually more affordable than buying all your ingredients and preparing your food by hand.

If you have an extremely limited budget, it may wise to organize a potluck where guests contribute to the food availability. Unfortunately, however, this idea can leave your event's success somewhat uncertain, so if you have the means, it's best to consult with a caterer to get an estimate. These specialists usually offer many different menu options, including beverage packages that can supplement your event.

2. Event Formality

If you're organizing a casual party for friends or family members, a home cooked meal might fit the formality of your event perfectly. However, if your event is an official or formal affair, you'll want your food to look and taste the part.

A catered meal can help set the tone of your event, whether you're going for professional or luxurious tones.

3. Event Purpose

When you host an event to reunite old friends or cultivate personal relationships, having your guests help cook or serve food may create just the right environment for laughter and storytelling. At other events, however, you don't want the food preparation process to distract from the purpose of the event.

For example, you wouldn't want to detract from an award presentation by having your guests running back and forth from the potluck table, or discourage business networking by presenting a less-than-professional menu.

4. Number of Guests

As a general rule, the longer your guest list becomes, the more likely you are to need professional event help. Even casual family events like reunions can become difficult to plan and execute effectively on your own if you're expecting more than 25 guests.

A caterer, however, can calculate and deliver the right amount of food for gatherings of virtually any size. Even if you would usually cook for your guests yourself, you should consider bringing in a professional when you host a larger event.

5. Personal Resources

When you first begin planning your event, you probably take inventory of the connections and resources you know that can help you achieve your desired results. For example, you may have a coworker who decorates cakes as a hobby or a family member with barbecuing experience.

These friendly favors can be fun and useful, but they're not ideal for every situation. Unless your friend is a professional chef, you probably shouldn't have him or her cooking for your boss or future business partners. Specialty catering packages, meanwhile, can wow guests without necessarily breaking your budget.

6. Planning Experience

Event planning is an entire industry by itself for a reason. Planning professionals undergo education and training that prepares them to handle the challenges and demands of pulling off a successful event. If you've never planned an important party like the one you're currently organizing, it would be best to not just try to wing it.

Instead, let a caterer handle the menu while you work on entertainment, seating, and so on. If you want to make your next event a massive success, work with the catering professionals from McHale's Events & Catering.

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