6 Tips to Nail Catering for Your Business Event

catering tips for business eventsFood is a great motivator. Whether you are hosting a workshop, a networking event, a celebration, a fundraiser or any other type of business event, you are likely to get more attendees if you include a complimentary breakfast or lunch in the program. Of course, people won’t come to your workshop just for the food, but a free lunch may just be the bonus to help someone who’s in doubt make a decision to attend.

Although you can certainly set out snacks yourself, a nicely catered food presentation will impress your guests and help reinforce a positive image of you, your company and your product or service.

Make use of these tips to create a catering menu that will be a hit with your guests.

Offer novelty and variety

Think about how often business people are in luncheon meetings these days.  Imagine how many chicken wraps, tuna sandwiches and potato salads they consume in a year. If you are looking to impress, think outside the box. Select a specific cuisine, such as Mediterranean; or if your guests are from out of town, get them to try foods with local flavor.

At Cafesano, we’ve been providing catering in Reston, Great Falls, McLean and other areas in Northern Virginia for over 5 years and have received only positive feedback from our patrons. Here are some of the catering menu items that are popular with our catering clients:

–   Dip Platters that include Hummus, Tzatziki and Baba Ghanoush are a healthy alternative to cheese and crackers and are perfect as an accompaniment to a lunch menu or for an afternoon snack break.

–   Panini Platters. Choose the classics like Roasted Turkey & Cheddar and Grilled Chicken Parmesan, or surprise your guests with Grilled Portobello, refreshing Caprese or zesty Avocado & Cheddar Panini.

–   Pasta dishes are always a hit. Our Penne with Basil Pesto and Lasagna Emiliana go nicely with either a Greek or Caesar Salad Bowl.

Be thoughtful

Each one of your attendees has different food preferences, and it’s almost impossible to make everyone happy. However, your efforts and thoughtfulness will always be appreciated.

  • Consider including kosher  and vegetarian options
  • Offer healthy, low-calorie food for the health-conscious attendees
  • If it’s not obvious, label meals and list common allergens (like peanuts)
  • Avoid serving food that is too spicy, too salty or too sweet
  • Think about desserts for lactose intolerant people (consider our signature baklava)

Buffet style works great for most small events

A buffet is very easy to organize and allows your guests to choose their own food as well as food portion. Keep in mind that you can have guests go down both sides of a buffet table – this will speed up the process and get everyone to their seat quicker. At the end, you can visually assess which menu items were popular with your guests – that’s great feedback to have for your next event.

Presentation is important

Your food may taste delicious, but it should look as good as it tastes! Messy food arrangements or sandwiches that are falling apart don’t say “professional” and may discourage your guests from trying the food. This is why it’s important to hire the right caterer. At Cafesano, we understand the importance of food presentation and work hard to ensure that all our catered menu items are attractively presented and create a mouthwatering first impression.

Make sure the food is fresh

Quality is important, so make sure your catering menu selections are freshly prepared by your Northern Virginia catering service – preferably within a couple of hours of your event.  Food that has been prepared too far in advance is either going to dry out, lose its crispness and freshness or potentially begin to spoil. Rather than reheating food, consider warming trays & Sterno set-ups, so that food can be kept warm until you’re ready to serve it.

When in doubt – consult!

If you are not sure how to plan for your catered event, don’t just wing it – consult with a catering company. At Cafesano, our Catering Coordinators will help you make menu selections and determine the appropriate quantity of food, working with you to ensure your event is a success! Just give us a call at 703.391.2100. If you decide to use our automated online ordering system, a record will be kept of all your catering orders for easy reference in the future.


What types of foods are you excited to find at a business meeting?

8 thoughts on “6 Tips to Nail Catering for Your Business Event

  1. Not all people attending the event will be non-vegetarians. Hence you must consider vegetarian dishes option as well. Some people might prefer Jain dishes.

  2. I like your suggestion about organizing a buffet due to its simple system and portion variance. Caterers offer unparalleled services because they can relieve stress that stems from food planning. If I were to host a large event in the coming months, I would make sure to locate a catering service that can fulfill my needs.

  3. You mentioned that it is a good idea to offer novelty and variety. I have been put in charge of a morning seminar, and would like to have some breakfast catering there for people to snack on during the seminar. What breakfast items would fist the novelty area?

  4. You made a good point that the freshness of the food is an important aspect to consider when hiring corporate event catering services. I will be helping my uncle to hire one because I help out in his job from time to time. Getting to prepare the logistics for an events is something I’d enjoy doing especially if it’s for a party for the holidays.

  5. I agree that presentation is indeed a major component to consider when hiring catering services. My sister might consider getting an Italian catering service for her wedding later this year because it’s the type of cuisine her fiancé’s family is fond of. I can imagine that the pasta should be very on point in order to impress them.

  6. If I were to run a catering business, I would make sure to invest in climate-controlled transportation. I also agree with you that it would be best to serve what the majority of the guests would love. Thank you for sharing here as well that I can never go wrong with Pasta.

  7. I found it interesting when you said that you could get more attendees when you offer food for them. My sister told me yesterday that she was planning to hire an event catering service that could provide ten-course sit-down dinners for her 25th birthday next week, and she asked if I had any idea what would be the best option to do. Thanks to this helpful article, I’ll tell her that it will be much better if we consult a trusted event catering service as they can provide different varieties of menus.

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