Catering for a Seminar – What Should You Get?

You’re organizing a business seminar but have no idea what kind of catering to provide. Try to take the number of participants, the location, and atmosphere into consideration to start with. For a seminar with clients, opting for a buffet or sit-down meal might be best, whereas a team-building or employee seminar may be more suitable for a cocktail lunch.

Meal Type

Before deciding what kind of food to serve, identifying the objective of the seminar will definitely help. Whether it’s for training purposes, management or team building, answering these questions will define the aim of your seminar, thus helping you plan it further. Whether or not your attendees will be standing or sitting for the majority of this seminar can be an important consideration to make as the stand-up format might feel a little more informal and is generally recommended with more than 50 people. A sit-down or lunch or dinner may make the atmosphere a lot more formal and the meals may be a bit more substantial, making it perfect for a seminar meant for business partners or clients.

Cocktail Party Option

A cocktail event would normally be held either mid-morning or late afternoon. For this type of party, there are no tables and chairs, but there may be bar tables for guests to place drinks and other items. Food is arranged on one large table and guests will serve themselves. Plates and glasses are usually made of plastic or cardboard, cutlery is limited and the food is mainly in bite-sized portions, making it easy to eat.

Aperitif Cocktails

Generally, this type of cocktail party involves hot and cold food, sweet and savory bites and even appetizers served before a sit-down lunch or dinner.

Cocktail Lunch

This involves gourmet-style food served for lunch from midday.

Cocktail Dinner

This replaces dinner and is served from 6 pm.

Advantages to Cocktail Parties

These types of parties are great because they’re economical, requires less staff, less space, and is less cleaning after it’s over. Even though the atmosphere for cocktail parties is less formal, it is still ideal for meeting new people or building relationships. Guests can move more freely, making communication a lot easier.

The Buffet Option

Since a buffet means more substantial food, guests are generally seated. Buffets are best for lunch or dinner and this kind of catering will need enough space for tables and chairs, as well as the buffet itself. Even though guests can serve themselves, hiring a waiter can give a more formal feel to your seminar. With this option, the menu is more flexible and can include starters, salads, meat or seafood-based course and a dessert, possibly with a charcuterie platter or cheese board on the side. A buffet is generally either hot or cold, and you could provide a mix of cold and hot dishes to offer more variety. And just as with the cocktail option, the dishes and cutlery are often disposable, but if your budget allows for it, there’s nothing wrong with using actual cutlery.

Advantages to Buffets
Because the buffet option requires less staff, it will be cheaper. It will also be more comfortable as guests can sit down to enjoy themselves while having a proper meal. It can be quite the social even as well since guests can mingle and talk at the tables or even while getting a serving of food. Try to arrange a good amount and layout with your caterer to work with your number of guests to avoid having to queue up.

Sit-Down Meal Option

Also known as the three-course meal option, which is more formal as the guests remain seated and are served by waiting staff. Since the menu is provided in advance, things are more organized and schedules are easier to stick with. The downside is that guests will not be able to have second helpings and the wait between each course may be longer.

The Rest
If your seminar will take place throughout a full day, it is crucial to allow breaks in the middle of the morning and afternoon so that participants can get up, stretch and recharge. These breaks should include hot drinks or fruit juice, along with a sweet snack such as fresh fruit, biscuits, a cake or pastry. Finally, if your seminar is lasting more than one day, consider offering breakfast, preferably in a buffet format to save time.

Elegant Touch offers a range of catering options in Perth, get in touch today to see how we can help.

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