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Things to consider when planning catering for an event

Things to consider when planning catering for an event

Delicious canapés, impressive banquets, and wonderful buffet lunches – good catering is the key to the success of any event. Guests will always mention the food in feedback after any conference or event. That’s why it’s crucial that event organisers give extra attention to catering.

When hosting your event at a venue, you will more than likely have access to a dedicated team who will be able to support you with arranging catering. But this doesn’t automatically mean you can just sit back and relax. As the events organiser, it’ll be up to you to gather information for the caterers before you book. For example, you’ll need to know the number of guests, their dietary requirements, seating plan, the occasion and schedule. Getting this right will ensure your event runs smoothly.

So, whether you’re hosting your event at the University of Birmingham or elsewhere, here’s our handy checklist of information to gather you book.


Choose the right menu to fit the occasion

Your events coordinator will advise you but it’s important to understand what you’re hoping to achieve. For example, are you looking to host a lavish dinner to impress? Or a social opportunity for people to mingle and network? Is your occasion part of a multi-day conference? In which case, you’ll need a menu to match, which can be scaled up for large numbers and will delight your guests.

Allergies and dietary preferences

It goes without saying, not every guest wants to eat  meat or appreciate a sprinkle of nuts on their pud. Knowing your guests’ dietary requirements can prevent minor and serious allergic reactions, and the catering team will need to have this information in advance to ensure that those guests can be catered for and made to feel welcome.

Think about your seating layout and consider a seating plan

If you’re hosting a formal dinner event, you’ll want to consider where each guest will sit – and that’s not just for their importance or role within the event. Seating plans will also help serving staff keep track of guests with special dietary requirements.

Plan your catering schedule

Regardless of the occasion of your event, you will need to consider when food or drink will be served and allow sufficient time between courses. If you’re hosting a conference, most venues offer delegate packages that predetermine your event schedule by and allocate times for when food and refreshments will be served throughout the day – that makes it easy for you! However, if you choose from our fine dining menu, bear in mind the catering team will need to serve and clear tables within a three-hour timeslot. So if your event includes awards or speeches, make sure you’re well organised and your speakers understand they must stick to their time limit!

Meet your final deadlines

A crucial part of event planning is meeting deadlines. It is essential that guest numbers, menu choices and dietary requirements are confirmed in advance as agreed in your contract, to ensure that the catering team can accommodate for your guests.

Event food

Hosting your event with us

Not only do we boast beautiful venues and spaces across University of Birmingham, but at our city centre venue, The Exchange, also offers delicious food and drink menus to suit any occasion, and a team of event experts to help you from start to finish.

We can also support you with events management, helping you to build your event from scratch, and manage all aspects including catering in our venues as well as event spaces across the city.

Get in touch with the team.

Conferences & Events | 0121 415 8400 | [email protected]

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