André Pellerin has over 25 years of expertise in the food service industry. Being a former Marketing and Sales Associate, and a previous restaurant Owner/Operator, André has knowledge from both the Food Establishment and Supplier sides of the business.
The key to having a successful event is organization and planning. To make the right decisions and order enough food you need to know the nature of the event, how many people are attending and how long they are expected to stay. Guests eat and drink less at cocktail parties than at dinner parties. Generally a lunch with two sides requires less food than a dinner with two sides. Don’t forget to include a desert and drinks.
You need to make sure you have the staff and equipment on hand like enough pots and pans to satisfy your needs.
Meet with the party planner to discuss the size of the party, the budget and the menu. Make the menu simple when you have a large crowd. Buy premade rolls, salad mixes and dressings to save preparation time.
If the party is only appetizers and drinks remember that most guests will eat 10 to 15 appetizers. To reduce labor costs have appetizer centers where staff replenish the food but aren’t mingling with guests serving. Find out what kind of drinks the party organizer wants to supply. Often the mainstays are beer, wine and one drink concoction like a punch.
Decide with the party planner on a simple menu. Take into consideration the age of your party attendees. Teenagers and younger people in their 20s eat more than senior citizens and young children. Take into consideration the popularity of certain foods like mashed potatoes over fruit salad. Pasta is better liked than fish. In figuring out how many supplies to buy, consider that most people eat six to eight ounces of chicken or red meat. Many people will eat one to two cups of soup or salad. Guests may consume three to four ounces of a side dish like vegetables or pasta dishes.
Most large parties with served food have an established meal with one protein or a vegetarian option. Find out what kind of service your client wants. Remember that served food is more expensive than a buffet, especially if you have to employ more staff.
To reduce labor costs but enable more food choices offer a buffet option and set it up in the dining room in such a way that it can be exclusive to your party guests and easy to access. A buffet can allow more food choices like guests can pick between chicken or pasta or soup or salad? Or guests might take a small portion of everything. This choice allows the party planner to be more flexible with food choices.
There’s nothing worse than cramming too many people into a small space. It makes people feel uncomfortable and they won’t enjoy themselves. Consider whether you want to close the establishment for the evening to accommodate a party. It’s not a bad idea if it’s on a slow night and you can always keep bar service available for walk-ins.
Hosting parties is a great way to generate additional business for your establishment. If you can book them on slow nights, then it’s a win-win for you. The key to hosting a big party is being organized. Make your lists and prepare as much food ahead of time as you can. Are you ready to host a big event?