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Our guide to catering – three common mistakes and how to avoid them

Catering for any event, whether large or small, is usually a complex undertaking. There are many aspects that need attention, and being able to effectively manage all of them at once is a job that even seasoned caterers can struggle with. For people who are new to the catering business, the entire operation can sometimes be overwhelming.

With that in mind, we’ll share with you three of the most common mistakes that caterers commit and how you can avoid them. Keep on reading to find out more.

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Not having a complete grasp of all the ingredients used

This is an aspect that applies to all the staff involved in a catering business. From the cooks to the servers, every member of the team must have a thorough understanding of the food being served at the event.

This is important because customers will usually have questions regarding what ingredients were used in the preparation of each dish, and being able to answer those questions is a sign of professionalism. Not only that, but it’s also crucial that the entire staff is aware of any potential allergens that might be a problem for some of the guests.

A good way to ensure that your staff knows about the food is to take the time to train them properly. Do this regularly, especially when you make additions to your menu or update an old recipe.

You will need to hold a meeting before every event to go over each menu item and the ingredients that go into it. Also, remember to print out menus for the guests’ reference and to label serving dishes when they’re used properly.

Under- or overestimating the food served

There are few occurrences more embarrassing to a caterer than coming up shorthanded and not having enough food to serve all the guests. This is a complete disaster that may leave guests extremely unhappy and your reputation in shambles.

On the other hand, overestimating the food you prepare can mean that you are effectively giving away your services for free. While this may make your customers happy, it can mean that you won’t make any money or potentially even lose some.

If you want to avoid this problem, a good place to start is by asking the customer for a total headcount, and then multiplying that number by 1.5 pounds, which is the average amount of food a diner will eat in one sitting. You may go slightly above this number if you’d like to accommodate for surprise additions to the guest list, or just simply tell the client beforehand that you are only going to prepare a certain amount of food.

Not including enough variety in the dishes served

Today’s diners have become more particular with the food they eat, and some will outright refuse to consume certain food items. Whether this is due to their health, taste preferences, or ethical reasons, you must be able to provide enough food options to satisfy any palate. Not being able to do so can mean that some guests will have to take it upon themselves to find their own food, which is a situation that you want to avoid entirely.

This is a problem that is actually quite easy to avoid. As a general guide, you will want to offer at least two types of protein, two types of starches, two appetizers, and two desserts. Of course, different events and customers will have different needs, so find out beforehand whether or not your client has any special requests, such as vegetarian or vegan options, gluten-free foods, and others.

Wrapping up

At this point, you now know several common mistakes and how to avoid them. Keep these points in mind so that you won’t look like an amateur in your next catering event.

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