How Catering Works

catering, caterers for veg cuisineFor most of us, catering seems pretty straightforward and simple: You cook some food and serve it, right? That is the basic idea, but there's lot more to it.

So, in simple words, catering is the act of providing food and beverage at a remote site for various events like wedding or marriage, birthday party, anniversary party, retirement party, home inauguration party, social get together, business meetings, conferences, exhibitions etc...

In this article, we'll take you behind the scenes to see what catering is all about. From the initial client-caterer meeting to the big event, catering involves a lot of planning, preparation, teamwork and creativity.

  • Meeting with client: The caterers first job is to figure out what you want and decide how the caterers can arrange it for you. In this process, several questions caterers ask their client like: date, time and venue of the event, if its a social or professional function, your budget, no of people going to attend the function.Then, they will discuss the menu for the event. Framing a menu is always a tedious task. Often the most difficult part of the job is to select a few from a list of hundreds of dishes.
  • Preparing a Catering Proposal: The foundation of a proposal is the information gathered during an initial meeting with the prospective client: type of event, date, time, guest count, venue, menu.Armed with these guidelines, the caterer can build a detailed proposal that includes the actual menu, beverages, an itemized listing for equipment rental, the staff requirements, many other factors are considered in addition to the basic information.When the proposal is ready, the caterer gives it to the client for his or her perusal. After the client accepts the proposal, the caterer schedules another meeting to discuss the decor and layout and to plan a detailed timeline of the event.
  • Catering Planning: This is one of the major steps. Minute by minute planning is very essential for a successful event, it depends upon various things like the nature and length of an event, nature of the gathering etc...Caterers have to consider several factors before finalizing the schedule. Set-up time is a big consideration. For example, if an event is outside, with no set structures, the caterer might need a couple of days to get the site ready, depending on the number of tents, decor and layout. Cleanup is also a major concern.Suppose, if the event is at a rented facility with a strict end-time, the team has to precisely time and execute all this according to the schedule. These schedules are a script of exactly what should happen and when; providing direction to each of the staff involved.
  • Catering Setup: Finally, the event day has arrived. This is when the catering team finally puts the itinerary to use. First, the place gets clean up then all the equipment, utensils, burners, raw material etc are kept at the right place.Nothing goes unchecked - the staff accounts for every linen, glass, chafing dish, tray, pot, pan and silver piece on the packing list. They even itemize small items like aluminum foil, garbage bags etc....
  • Cooking: Now comes the most challenging part i.e; cooking. Its the major task, the real success depends upon this step. At the end of the day, the thing which matters the most is taste, smell and quality of your food. It needs lots of management, creativity, good cooking skills etc...
  • The Presentation: It includes arranging & decor tables, plates, crockery, chaffing dish, different stalls, serving staff etc...everything should sound very clean with good presentation.
  • Serving Guests: Finally, comes the serving time, the guests has arrived, everything should be in its place by this time i.e; from welcome drinks to desserts. While guests are having food, make sure chaffing dish are not empty, serving men are alert, food temperature is maintained as per the item etc....
  • Packing Up: This is when all the guests leave and the event is over. All the dishes are clean, unwrap the tables, load back all the equipments, utensils etc...Make payments to all the staff, left out items should be fixed somewhere etc...