Why You Want to Consider Your Food Before Creating Your Event Layout
From an outside perspective, organizing food setup and an event layout seem like two totally different things that wouldn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. However, from an industry standpoint, we know that a caterer setting up for an event (including the types of food served) should also coordinate with how an event is organized in terms of layout. There are a number of variables that factor into pulling off a seamless, well-orchestrated event.
How the overall layout affects catering
The setup and logistics of your event should be well thought out and carefully planned for, keeping in mind that your space not only needs to accommodate guests, but vendors as well. In any given space, you want to make sure that you prioritize the needs of your caterer and other vendors, otherwise the vibe of the entire event will be thrown off. It is important to know the flow of the room and what else will be going on during the event. For example, will there be a band, dance floor, presentation, etc.?
Keep in mind that each element impacts where and how you will set up the serving of food. Access to the back of the house or kitchen area must also always be considered. You’ll want to make transportation of menu items from one station to the next as effortless and stress-free as possible.
Using AllSeated to collaborate with your vendor teams on the floorplan layout and design will prove invaluable to your process. Not only will details be organized and every team’s needs address in the layout, you will be operating on the same page with everyone updated in realtime.
Ideal serving styles regardless of venue
Depending on the venue or space, some event layouts will naturally be trickier than others. When table setup comes into play as well as the foot traffic of the event, it’s crucial that menu items are compatible with the atmosphere.
More often than not, passed and buffet-style service is the easiest option due to the limitations on prep area, especially for plating a dinner. Additionally, you wouldn’t want guests to have to juggle large plates of food if there isn’t enough proper seating to accommodate everyone. That being said, the client may dictate your service style but it’s your call on planning and execution. Strategize by serving food in bowls with smaller portions.
Navigating outdoor event logistics
So, what about planning for an outdoor event? First off, an initial site visit is critical to event day success. Think about site access for vendors, how to bring in outside equipment, where the vehicles will be staged, and what utilities (if any) are available. Is there any shelter, and what does the terrain look like?
The type of surface for prepping and serving is also a major factor to think about, as it goes into planning your timeline and execution. Check the weather ahead of the event and determine how where the rainwater will run (you don’t want to be set up in a mud bog). Always be ready for a backup plan! Run every possible scenario through your mind and make checklists, because it’s much better to be over-prepared than caught scrambling on the big day.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions and express your needs or concerns. No one like surprises before an event so it is important to make sure everything has been covered and accounted for. Organizing catering setup hand-in-hand with the event layout is a recipe for a flawless itinerary and an unforgettable guest experience!
Clint Elkins is the VP of Sales of SB Value, a group purchasing program designed to reduce catering, kitchen and food-service costs by leveraging the collective buying power of thousands of companies.
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