Sample Essay On Special Event
Quality of Good Caterers
Caters are very important in an event because what they offer is intangible and they therefore have to be up to the task of selling themselves to people. Caterers who strive to maintain a competitive advantage have a higher chance of performing better since they emphasize on consistency which some other caterers may not be able to offer. Good caterers should be able to create and cultivate trust with their clients. Because catering is furthermore a consumer-driven market that is stimulated by clients demanding for exceptional quality and the best value for a reasonable price, the perceptions of the buyers ought to be of paramount importance to caterers and event planners as well. Good caterers should therefore work towards satisfying the needs of their clients.
The average age, ethnic background, sex, where the attendees are from, fraternal and employment affiliations, political leanings and socioeconomic levels of the group being ordered for a meal can indicate the menu items likely to be preferred by any of them. The psychographics of attendees are similarly useful indicators. Politics similarly has a very important role in menu selection. There are some political active groups who do not consume certain food types and hence the need for politically correct foods. For instance, caterers should not serve veal to animal-rights organizations as this can anger them from their belief concerning how it is raised and processed under inhumane condition. There are also “green” attendees who have concerns on food packaging in disposable containers rather than reusable containers. On psychographics, caterers should also avoid offering foods as well as beverages which can cause unexpected embarrassment to attendees, for example if one of the luncheon speakers is offered an unhealthy meal and yet they are well-known nutritionists as well as motivational speakers who advocate for healthy lifestyles.
Apart from demographics, there are many other factors that determine menu selections. There are also attendees with dietary restrictions, who need consideration and should be contacted and asked if they are vegetarian or have certain allergies. There is also the need to give consideration to the religious and ethnic requirements of attendees who may for instance not be able to eat pork or shellfish or kosher. The nutritional concerns of attendees are also of great significance especially for groups staying in a conference center for several days. Many attendees appreciate when they are provided with alternatives that include low-fat, high-protein and low-calorie meal options with a variety of low-carbohydrate foods. Sauces, dressings and desserts should be served on side plates to allow the guests to control their portion sizes.
Solution to menu selection choices
Although it may be a tedious job to plan a meal based on dietary restrictions and preferences, it is advisable to have food on the table that everyone can eat. Banquet servers should therefore be knowledgeable on the preparation method and ingredients of the items on their menu. To address these factors as an event planner, it is therefore important to meet with the planners who book several in order to be able to provide attendees with menus before time. This sort of professional association convention will be responsible to list the daily menus for attendees to know in advance what they can expect. As a result, the attendees with special dietary needs can then have enough time make orders for special meal or have other alternate plans. This will then be communicated to the caterer who will work to ensure that the menu is properly substituted. There can also be meetings of the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) where the attendees are provided with complete menus of the different events they will attend as well as a form where they can indicate the meals they will prefer to change.
There are certain delicate food items like soufflé, lobsters, medium-rare tuna, rare duck breast, salmon steak as well as rare roast beef that are difficult to prepare and serve without sacrificing their culinary quality. Such meals need creativity to reduce the cost of procedure to accommodate the request. It is also important to use in-season foods since they are less expensive and do not have to be shipped over long distances. It is similarly advised for caterers to have menu selections with easy to produce foods like chicken and beef which are tried, tested and familiar menu options.
Caterers can also choose to use Standardized Menu offerings to keep the costs of food on control especially because the banquet leftovers can be used elsewhere. The length of the meeting also determines menu selections because other than the breakfast meal, it is advised against repeating the same preparation, product and presentation of food. Foods on the menu should also be readily available in the market to avoid product shortages. Foods requiring special equipment like large ovens for a standing rib-roast dinner should also be avoided. There should furthermore be a menu balance whereby the shape, size, texture, color and flavor of meals are well balanced with non-overpowering the other. This should go hand in hand with food presentation which maximizes on a careful arrangement of the menu items depending on their characteristics. Food and wine should similarly be well-balanced, with delicate, less-flavorful foods served with white wines and red meats and tomato sauce as well as other strong-flavored foods served with red wine. Attendance can also be improved by menu selections that have entertaining displays the dining room like Seafood bars.
Product Shelf Life
On product shelf-life, caterers should have foods capable of holding up well during service since most catered events do not always run on time. This is especially when a banquet has been prepared for a large group of people.
Dinner Menu that addresses Product Shelf Life Concerns
For such a case, the menu can be an ‘Oven braised steak filled with spinach, lettuce wedges and infused with hot Béarnaise sauce. Salad can include almonds dipped in whole yoghurt with a dessert of muffins.
Menu for reception with no dinner for heavy eaters
Guests here can be served with three pieces of pulled BBQ pork shoulder for every person sprinkled with Carolina honey mustard served with two pieces of grilled chicken breast, two servings of Cheddar macaroni & cheese, a serving of vegetarian Calico baked beans, a piece of corn bread and cole slaw.
Styles of Service
There are different types of serving styles, in the Buffet, food is attractively arranged on tables and attendees serve themselves before taking their full plates to a table where they sit to eat with beverages served at the tables. The buffet/cafeteria is similar to the buffet only that attendees are served by attendants or chefs. The combination buffet serving style has the inexpensive items like salads presented buffet style as guests help themselves while the expensive items like meats are served cafeteria style for portion control. The Plated Buffet has a selection of pre-plated foods which are set on a buffet table and selected by guests for portion control. Action stations have food freshly prepared as attendees wait and watch. The reception style service on the other hand has light foods which are served buffet style or passed on trays by butlers. Here attendees serve and eat while standing. In the family-style/English service guests are served when seated with large serving platters and bowls of food placed on the table by servers, which are then passed around and the host carves the meat. In plated/American-style service, attendees are also served when seated from proportioned and plated meals in the kitchen, similar to preset service where some items are already on the table as guests arrive. Butlered service on the other hand has hors d’oeuvres passed on trays or food often passed on silver trays during dinners. Russian service has seated attendees with foods cooked on the tableside on a portable cooking stove is on a tableside cart with wheels. In banquet French service, attendees are served seated with food platters assembled in the kitchen and served to the left of guests on tables. The Cart French Service is similar to the Russian as attendees are served seated with foods prepared tableside and served with rechaud on a gueridon. There are many other different serving styles like the hand service with one server for every two attendees, server parade with numerous white gloved servers who march around to serve attendees and mixing serving style which is a more flexible and versatile serving style depending on the meals.
Menus depending on Serving Style
Butlered Service Style Menu
Chicken Tenders served with BBQ, honey mustard or ranch dressing or Buffalo Chicken Wings with celery and bleu cheese dressing. This will be appropriate as the foods will be passed on trays as the guests help themselves and it is also an upscale type of service.
Plated Buffet Style Menu
Menu can be Roast Beef and Smoked Turkey Breast that is topped with roasted garlic mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, and tomato and romaine lettuce. This is appropriate as it helps in portion control.
Buffet Style Menu
The BBQ Cookout menu can work with barbecued chicken breast, grilled hamburgers and veggie burgers, served with watermelon and potato salad. Alternatively, the menu selection can include meat or marinara sauce with Spaghetti noodles or Penne pasta with Parmesan cheese, roasted Italian vegetables, house salad and a choice of Caesar Salad or Dressings. Attendees here will be allowed to choose a food combination they prefer.
Dinner Preparation for four different categories
Chicken Florentine: Chicken breast filled spinach and ham and topped crisp bacon crumbles and
With creamy cheese sauce.
Grilled Eggplant Parmesan: Grilled fresh eggplant with light breading and served with a light
Tomato sauce (Vegan)
Of this Earth: Brown rice pilaf, Chick pea salad, red pepper and garden greens with toasted Pita
Chips. Other food choices of one: Spinach and zucchini served over Polenta, grilled herbed Portobello mushrooms with layered sweet peppers or vegetable Frittata with asparagus, artichoke, peas and sweet Onion with fresh chopped herbs and parmesan.
Mashed Potato Bar; Roasted traditional mashed potatoes with cheese sauce, bacon bits, chilli,
Chopped green onions, butter and sour cream toppings or salad and dinner rolls with choice of dressing (Vegan).
Greek Celebration; Chicken Souvlakia, Spanakopita, Gyros with tomato, Tzatziki and Onion sauce, served with Greek salad.
Business Formal Occupations
Italiano: Meat or marinara sauce, with Penne pasta Served with roasted Italian vegetables and Parmesan cheese and Caesar Salad.
Shock, Patti J., & Stefanelli, John M. (2008-12-03). A Meeting Planner's Guide to Catered
Events (Kindle Locations 198-202). Wiley. Kindle Edition.
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