Here at Order-In, we love to know what our customers are thinking and what their habits are when it comes to corporate catering in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra. We’re always trying to meet our customers’ needs (so it helps to know what those are), not to mention it’s pretty fascinating! We recently held a survey for our customers and one of the things we noticed is that when you’re not using Order-In’s professional catering services, you’re popping own to the local Woolies or Coles to self-cater your meetings, events and get-togethers. While that might seem the easier option, we’ve chatted to a couple of EAs and PAs who’ve shared their DIY catering disasters!
“One of the most surprising things about self-catering is that it isn't automatically less expensive. It often requires dishes and equipment that caterers have on hand but that you will have to rent, buy, or borrow — not to mention clean afterwards! Food can actually often be the least expensive part of the shopping list; it’s the disposable plates, cups, napkins, and serving pieces that can take up a big chunk of the budget. If keeping costs low is important, make sure you consider all the options and add-ons you’ll need.” – Alice, 26
“When I’m hiring a caterer, I’m paying people principally for their time. I’m often organising events myself without help, picking up things from different places, taking the time to lay things out etc. Everything always takes longer than you think.” – Susan, 43
“Caterers definitely understand the basic principles of food safety. I learned this the hard way when I served leftovers from a meeting the previous day (it was my first week on the job…). When the director called me later that day, it was from the doctor’s office. Now I use caterers religiously, even for small meetings.” – Nicky, 22
“One of my considerations is space: I don’t have a freezer or an extra fridge at the office so I can’t purchase anything in advance. And it's not just fridge space; the last time we self-catered I had boxes and boxes of plates and napkins stacked up in the hallway! It’s so much easier when the perfect amount arrives just before the meeting or event.” – Kelly, 29
“One thing I never thought of is that catering meetings and events myself could be so physically demanding! I work in the city, so had to walk to all the different venues I needed office catering items from. Of course I underestimated how much there was to carry and had to make four separate trips!” – Hannah, 24
“Just save yourself the stress! When you have a million things to do, or haven’t catered many events before, deciding what to buy, where to get it from, whether it’s the right thing to serve and how much to serve can be bewildering – leave it to the experts. The first time I did this myself, I way under-catered, AND forgot to get any cutlery, all because I hadn’t done it before and was stressing myself out. Not a good look!” – Kate, 28
“Presentation! Last time I thought I could handle the catering myself I realised food styling is definitely not my strong point. It looked like a dog’s breakfast. Caterers always make it look so professional.” – James, 25