In a world where most people communicate via email or through a mobile phone, face-to-face networking at an after-hours function might be the one way to connect with staff, suppliers or customers and make your company stand out from the crowd. If it’s done right, you can rely on an event like this to generate plenty of goodwill around the company too.
With that in mind, it’s important to make it worthwhile when it comes to the money you’re spending. As we’re in Australia, a nation of foodies, catering has overtaken venue choice and entertainment as your most important element of the night. Food and drink should be thoroughly enjoyed and it’s a great way to indulge your attendees.
Before making your food and drink order, think about what you can get for your budget then get creative with your options… are canapés and gourmet finger food right for the occasion for you, or should you offer a buffet? Do you want to wow with cocktails or keep it simple with beer and wine? Here are some helpful hints.
A good formula for establishing your catering budget is taking the number of guests and the hours of the function and then calculating food and beverage consumption over that time.
1 hour cocktail event
2 hour cocktail event
6 pieces (5 canapes and 1 substantial item)
9 pieces (6-7 canapes and 2 or 3 substantial items)
Substantial items like skewers with lamb or beef, gourmet pies, mini sliders, mini fish and chips in a stylish cone or noodle boxes are great options for your corporate event. Then you can finish with some sweet options for dessert, or cakes and/or cupcakes.
As for alcoholic drinks, you should plan for 3 drinks per person in the first hour, (including 1 non-alcoholic drink) and then 2 drinks for every hour after that, one being a soft drink). If you’re worried this won’t be enough, then order more. After all, drinks rarely go to waste as they can be brought out at the next office occasion.
Canapés have come a long way since the cheese and pineapple hedgehogs of yore. They are far more adventurous and a lot tastier, with many people even opting to serve gourmet seafood, Pâté and truffle based nibbles. It’s also not uncommon to attend an evening or cocktail function where everything you eat is in miniature form — sliders, mini roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, even a mini portion of Pad Thai. These days, you really are spoilt for choice, so don’t hold back when it comes to creativity.
Another contemporary serving option you might want to consider is a grazing table. Check out this amazing caterer, Art Kitchen who create a feast for the eyes especially when you include appetizers such as cheese plates, artisan bread, dips and cured meats. You could also include some fresh fruit and colourful cupcakes for dessert. The great thing about a serving table is that everyone can dig in as and when they please, plus it creates an area where people can congregate, making them more likely to mingle and network with people they don’t already know.