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Gino Spano

Your company holiday party is quickly approaching. You’ve booked the venue, and you’ve already got a good idea of how many people will be attending this year’s festivities.

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You’re already well aware of the steps involved in planning the party itself, but now you need to take a good, hard look at the holiday party menu. This seven-step guide will make planning the menu a snap.

1. Set a Budget for Your Holiday Party Menu

The first step in planning your holiday party menu has to be setting a budget. Set aside a portion of the overall party budget and try to stick with it. Food is usually one of the biggest expenses for an event, so you may want to set aside around a quarter to one-third of the budget, depending on how many people are attending.

Setting the budget early will help you stay on track as you take the menu from the initial planning stage to fruition.

2. Find a Caterer to Work With

The next step in planning the menu for your holiday party is to research caterers and book one. You may decide to go with the caterer you worked with last year, or it may be time to try someone new.

Take a look at sample menus on the caterer’s site, and always be sure to ask about experience. Have they worked with large groups and corporate events? Do they specialize in certain types of cuisine?

3. Ask about Your Venue’s Facilities

When you’re planning the menu for the annual corporate holiday party, you’ll want to be sure the venue has the proper amenities to accommodate the food you’re serving. If you’re planning to plate up piping-hot food, be sure the venue can provide kitchen facilities.

If the venue doesn’t have the right facilities for the menu, it could lead to cold food and late meals. Your guests probably won’t be impressed. Work with your caterer to ensure a manageable menu with the facilities available.

4. Consider Dietary Restrictions for the Menu

By now, you should have a good idea of how many guests are attending your corporate event. If you have a list of RSVPs, you can also begin to think about any dietary restrictions you need to accommodate on the menu.

Ask your employees to indicate any food allergies, sensitivities, or other dietary requirements when they RSVP to the party. Then pass along this information to your caterer. They’ll work with you to design a menu that accommodates everyone.

5. Decide What to Serve (and Look at Trends)

Now for the fun part. You’ll decide what you’re actually serving. Do some research on current food trends for corporate parties. You might want to consider themed dishes or international flavours to delight your guests.

If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your caterer. They should be on top of trends, and they’ll have plenty of ideas.

6. Taste-Test the Menu

Once you’ve decided on a preliminary holiday party menu, be sure to schedule a tasting. A tasting can help you decide whether or not the menu meets your requirements.

The tasting also gives you an opportunity to give the caterer feedback. Maybe the spices are off in one dish, or perhaps you want something a little simpler. Refine the menu to create an even better experience for your guests.

7. Order Enough Food

Once the holiday party menu is set, you’ll want to order the food. How much of each dish will you need to satisfy your guests? Rely on your caterer’s experience and expertise here again.

Following each of these steps will help you plan the best holiday party menu yet. Your employees will be raving about it for weeks after.

Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Corporate Event

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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