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Gino Spano

 Tags: Catering Trends

Summer is almost over, and with it comes your annual end-of-summer BBQ. Maybe this is an event you host for your community or for a neighbourhood organization. Maybe it’s part of a local fair or maybe it’s a “thank you” for all your hard-working employees. Whatever the reason, it’s a great way to say goodbye to summer, even if you don’t really want to.

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This year, you’ve decided to take a load off your plate and hire a catering service. With the food situation handled, you’ll have more time to mix and mingle. You may even find this year’s event relaxing for once!

If you avoid some of these common event catering mistakes, your BBQ will be delightful from all sides of the grill.

1. Not Confirming a Budget for the Event Catering

Before you begin approaching caterers about your end-of-summer BBQ, take a good, hard look at the numbers. What’s your budget for this event? Once you’re able to put some dollar figures to the event, you’re ready to talk to a caterer.

Throughout the planning of the BBQ, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the budget. Try to set your figures in stone as soon as possible. While it’s good to be flexible, not being firm enough on the budget could cause you some serious headaches when all is said and done.

2. Choosing a Caterer with No BBQ Experience

Take a look at the caterers you’re considering for your event. How many of them have done BBQ event catering before? A BBQ is quite a different experience from a more traditional buffet or sit-down dinner, so look for someone who routinely offers this kind of service.

After all, you wouldn’t hire someone who solely does cookouts to prepare a formal six-course meal.

3. Using Low-Quality Ingredients

This brings you back to the budget. You need to stick to your dollar figures, so you’ve told your caterer to use any old ingredients. Now the hot dog buns are soggy, and the hamburgers are as tough as shoe leather.

You want to impress your guests, and you want them to enjoy the food they eat at your BBQ. In order to do that, you’ll need to spend at least a little on some quality ingredients for the foods you’re serving. You don’t need to buy the most expensive cut of steak, but aim higher than the bottom of the barrel.

4. Understaffing the Event

Different ways to save money on event catering might be to reduce the number of dishes available, cut the hours you’ll be serving, or scale back the number of staff the caterer will send. The last option might seem like a great idea in theory.

In practice, understaffing your end-of-summer BBQ causes more headaches. An understaffed event could mean the food is slow to be cooked and runs out often, leaving your guests hungry and irritated. It could also mean you need to jump in and help. If you’re trying to relax and enjoy your event, this isn’t the ideal way to get there.

Talk to your caterer about how many people you’ll need. They have the expertise, and while an informal BBQ may not seem like it requires many people on staff, you might be surprised.

5. Skipping Standards

Some people like their steak rare, but when you’re catering an event, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Your caterer should provide everything to ensure foods are cooked to standard. They should also be able to ensure proper sanitization of work areas and cooking implements. If you can, give them a hand by providing hand sanitizer, soap, and a kitchen area where they can work.

With these tips in hand, you’ll be well on your way to successfully booking event catering for your end-of-summer BBQ.


Gino Spano

Starting with roots in a kitchen at 14 years old, he worked his way up the ranks and by the young age of 17 was responsible for daily events of 50 to 600 people. Gino continued to use his talents to work in catering, banquet and restaurant kitchens across the GTA. His love for Italian, French and Asian cuisine paired with his wide variety of knowledge brought him success in his new venture at Seventh Heaven in 2001. Over the past 12 years, he has cooked many meals for social events, corporate events and government officials. His love for new challenges brought him into corporate sales where he and the Seventh Heaven team won Best Catered Event for Canadian Linen’s “The Great White North” – Facility Grand Opening in 2009.
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