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Saving Money for Your next Event

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From the catering to the entertainment, you have a lot to think about when putting together an event everyone will enjoy. All things considered, any event can get costly if you’re not careful. With that in mind, here are some ways that you can save money on your next event.

Reconsider the Menu

Everyone knows that certain foods are more expensive to come by and prepare than others. From having fewer meat options to simplifying the menu, there are lots of ways that you can get creative with the food you serve at your event and keeping things low-cost.

Think about a Buffet

There are a lot of different ways to present a buffet without it looking like the lunch line at your high school. Talk to your caterer about menu items and presentation, and they might get you rethinking this cost-effective way of feeding all of your event guests on a budget.

Do More Shopping Around

One of the mistakes that many event organizers make is not shopping around enough. Talk to several different catering companies to see what their ideas are to lower costs on a budget event. Get a few estimates from qualified companies to make sure you are getting the best value for your money without sacrificing style.

 

Catering Favorites Sure to Please Any Guest

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When it comes to catering your event, you want something that’s going to stand out and make a memorable experience. Although the classics are classics for a reason, and it’s hard to go wrong with them, introducing something inventive to your menu can make your event extra special. Here are a few unique examples:

Mashed Potato Bar

Mashed potatoes often end up as a key part of a major event, given that they tend to please everyone. A mashed potato bar, with a plethora of toppings such as bacon, butter, green onions, ham, and sautéed mushrooms (among others) adds a twist to your typical mashed potatoes. If your event is in the fall or winter, when mashed potatoes become a more popular dish, the mashed potato bar is sure to please guests.

Pastries

Typical pastries are often crowd pleasers, but branching out with unique kinds are sure to make a splash at your event. Items such as jalapeno and bacon pastries, ham and cheese croissants, glazed gourmet donuts, and so on, make for delicious-yet-unique treats which are especially easy at events with limited seating.

Dips

Most guests assume there will be at least one kind of dip at a catered event, but try including multiple dips that are distinctly different. Spinach and artichoke is an extremely popular one, and here in Texas we love our chips and salsa. But, a creative dip bar with a mixture of flavors is sure to make your event stand out.

 

How to Get an Accurate Head Count for Catering

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Figuring out how many guests are coming is one of the big headaches of planning any large event. While it’s something you may try to plan in advance, the reality is that many people’s plans change with little to no advance notice. Whether they show up or drop out at the last minute, find out how to plan your catering as accurately as possible.

Number of Invitations

You can give the caterer a general idea of the number of guests you’re expecting based on how many people are invited. For weddings, expect an average of about 15% to decline the invitation. If you’re planning a mandatory business lunch, on the other hand, there should be fewer people missing. You can give the catering company a more accurate head count as the date gets closer, but this will give them a place to start.

R.S.V.P.s

Make it as easy as possible for your guests to R.S.V.P. to your event. More and more people are turning to online responses, which are fast and convenient to fill out. If sending your invitation through the mail, make sure there’s a clear “reply by” date. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope to make the process as easy as possible for your guests. Also, be sure to include an area where they can include any dietary restrictions, so your caterer isn’t surprised on the day of the event.

Get in Touch

Three to four weeks before the event, start making calls to anyone who hasn’t confirmed if they’re coming. This is when your caterer will start needing more specific numbers in order to prepare for the big day. Although you can still expect a few people to change their minds at the last minute, you should have a fairly accurate picture of who will be attending.

 

Opposites Attract: How to Cater for 2 People

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Many people only think about catering when it comes to big events, but that doesn't have to be the case. A table for two is still a great time to have a fantastic meal catered for you both.

Likes and Dislikes

First, you should always be sure to know what each person enjoys. Depending on the person, they may prefer spicy, sweet, or savory. Some people could eat pasta every day, while others can eat fajitas for every meal. Narrowing down the selections for your main course, appetizer, and dessert will really help. Of course, drinks shouldn't be forgotten. Do they love sweat tea, soda, wine, or beer? Depending on the season, lemonade might be a great idea. You can't underestimate the importance of your selections. Once you have a pretty good idea of what options you have available, you should think about putting it all together.

Mix and Match

People aren't going to be happy with something they hate. Not everyone is going to be adventurous with their food. If you need to, it's a good idea to make compromises along the way. One of you can choose the appetizer, the other person can choose the dessert, and you can each have your own main course. That way, everyone knows that they'll have at least a couple things that they'll like, and both of you get to try something from the other person's selection. It can be a good way to start off the evening with everyone being agreeable, while also giving you a chance to start up a conversation.

Atmosphere is another big consideration. Since you have catering, you actually have a lot of options with venue. Be sure to pick somewhere that isn't terribly noisy and where the weather won't be a problem. With a good meal and lovely location, you should have a great time with catering for two.

Think Like a Caterer: Advice for Your next Event

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If you’re organizing an event, catering is one of the biggest considerations you need to think about. You want your guests to relax and have a good time, and you need to make it look effortless. No matter how large or small your event is, you can make your life easier and have the event go from start to finish as smoothly as possible with these key tips.

Rethink the Buffet

A buffet can be a cost-effective way to feed a large crowd. However, if you’re having a seated dinner, you want your guests sitting and mingling rather than standing in line. Consider serving your meals family style. This is a cost-effective way to feed large groups buffet style in a more intimate setting.

Reconsider Hot Dishes

One of the most difficult parts of catering food for an event is keeping everything hot. This is one reason why current trends in catering are leaning towards serving more foods that don’t need to be served hot. You can choose one dish that should be served hot and have salads, fruits, and vegetables for the remainder which can be served cold or at room temperature.

Less Is Not More

When catering an event, remember that less is not more. In other words, it’s better to have more food than you need than to run out and leave some guests hungry. Also, consider that some guests will get seconds and others won’t. Catering an event can get tricky but these tips and tricks should help.

 

Great Summertime Appetizers for Your next Event

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Long summer days means it’s time to get together with friends and eat outdoors. At summertime parties, people are too busy to eat full meals, but outdoor recipe appetizers are a great way to feed people and keep the fun going. Here are some great appetizers that you can use at your next barbeque, tailgate event, or picnic.

One of the most popular summertime appetizer is a cream cheese filled pepper popper. A hollowed-out pepper can be filled with cream cheese, topped with chicken and cilantro, and then wrapped in bacon. This appetizer is great because it packs a lot of taste into a recipe that has very few steps. Other great ideas include garlic shrimp, fresh salads, and light sandwiches. A favorite light sandwich that’s popular right now is a slider. Sliders are small two-bite sandwiches that come in multiple sizes and varieties. These are similar to finger sandwiches, and can be enjoyed outdoors. Barbeque sliders are a popular option which can include your favorite barbeque sauce, coleslaw, cheddar cheese, and toasted rolls.

No summertime appetizers are complete without treats. Popular options include sliced fruit with cream cheese toffee dip, cookies, banana pudding, peaches and whipped cream, and other light but delicious sweet treats. Chips and dip is another must. You may want to consider making some jalapeno dip with tortilla chips, or some smoky ranch dip with some chipotle peppers mixed in served with vegetables.

Most Popular Food Themes for Catered Events

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When planning an event for friends or employees, the food is the most important decision you’ll make. Here are 4 popular themes that your guests are sure to love.

Decade Parties

Retro parties are a great way to have a little fun and reminisce about the past. Encourage everyone to dress up for a particular decade and serve food and drinks that will take you back in time. Whether you choose burgers and shakes from the 50s or shrimp cocktails and deviled eggs for the roaring 20s, authentic food is the best way to bring your theme together.

Mexican Fiesta

If you want to introduce a little extra flavor into your party, Mexican and Hispanic foods are the way to go. They’re generally familiar enough to appeal to young and old alike, and they can be tasty without being too spicy for your guests to handle. Tacos, fajitas, and quesadillas are all popular options with sides like rice, beans, salsa, and guacamole.

Traditional Barbecue

Most people love the traditional foods you’d find at a backyard barbecue, making them the perfect catering option that’s sure to be a hit with your guests. Burgers, hot dogs, and pulled pork are all staples for the main course, with sides like coleslaw and potato salad to round out the plate. Have a slice of pie or cake to finish off the meal.

Tropical Paradise

Summer is a great time to enjoy a tropical-themed party with seafood dishes like fish and shrimp. Kebabs are another popular choice, and a good way to offer some options to guests who don’t enjoy fish. Provide plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as side dishes, and try to include tropical fruits like mangoes and pineapples for a more authentic flavor.

Summer Color Schemes and Themes for Your Catered Party

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The warm days and nights of summer provide plenty of opportunities to hold a party for your friends, family, or coworkers. Here are 3 popular themes that are sure to be a hit with your guests.

Traditional Themes

There’s a lot to love about the classic American picnic staples: hot dogs and hamburgers. Guests can choose their toppings and enjoy familiar comfort foods that are easy to prepare and serve. Emphasize the summer theme with bright colors and bold patterns, or stick with a truly all-American theme and deck out your walls and tables with traditional red, white, and blue.

Hispanic

Summertime is ideal for the bright colors and bold flavors of Hispanic cuisine and decorations. Tacos, quesadillas, and fajitas give your guests plenty of choices and customizable meals. And, sides like beans, rice, and chips and salsa are popular with guests of all ages. Vibrant colors are key to decorating your fiesta: choose bold red, orange, blue, and green accessories for a bold look.

Pool Party

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool available for your party, water themes make a popular way to celebrate the summer. Blues and greens bring out the theme, while shrimp, fried fish, and other seafood are sure to get your guests in a tropical mood! For adult parties, complement your meal with beverages like piña coladas and margaritas.

Barbecue from Around the World

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A lot of people think of barbecue as a strictly American form of cooking, especially in the South. However, countries all around the world have their own forms of barbecue. Check out this list of barbecued foods from different countries across the globe.

Argentina

In Argentina, a barbecue is known as an "asado." At these spirited events, huge slabs of meat--sometimes whole animals--are smoked over an open fire pit to a nice, crisp finish. Meat is served with chimichurri, salads, and grilled veggies.

South Africa

For South Africans, barbecuing is a part of their culture. Known as a "braai," outdoor grilling has even earned its own holiday in South Africa. At these events, people serve up pork and beef sausages, skewers of chicken or lamb, and a variety of jerky meats.

Phillipines

The Filipino form of barbecuing is known as a "lechon" or "lechon baboy". These events usually feature a whole roasted pig, served up with sides of noodles and rice, as well as a sweet Filipino gravy called Mang Tomas.

Korea

Korean barbecue, or "gogigui" is traditionally cooked over a small indoor grill instead of an outdoor pit. Common dishes include beef sirloin (bulgogi) and beef short ribs (galbi). The greasy dishes are often served with sides of noodles, soups, and even the occasional fried egg. Chase it all down with a shot of Korean rice liquor, known as soju, as you're in the money.
If you want to have any of these delicious types of barbecue at your next event, speak to a caterer.
 

How to Accommodate Guests with Food Allergies

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Food allergies are becoming more common in America and throughout the world. According to current research, approximately 15 million Americans have serious food allergies. The most common allergic responses come from these eight foods: tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish peanuts, eggs, and milk. Another growing allergen is soy. If you’re trying to accommodate guests who have food allergies, it’s important to realize that even trace amounts of some of these allergens can cause serious reactions among your guests.

Ask Ahead

As you prepare for your guests to arrive, make sure you talk to them about any potential allergies. You may be unaware of a problem, and planning ahead will allow you to pick a menu that will be comfortable for everyone. If only one of your guests has an allergy, but everyone else can eat the main dish, you may want to try and find alternative ways to prepare the meal to see if it works for everyone. For example, if you have a gluten-free guest, you may be able to use gluten free noodles in your pasta dish.

Separate Meals

If you need to prepare a gluten-free or allergen-free meal, make sure you use a separate space in your kitchen. It’s also important to sanitize and keep clean all work surfaces and equipment. You should also store common food allergens in a separate part of your kitchen while preparing the food, so that there is no accidental contamination.