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Catering 101: Tips for Planning a Memorable Event

Planning an event can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to catering. Whether you're organising a corporate function, a wedding, or a birthday party, the food and drinks you serve can make or break the entire event. That's why we've put together this guide to help you plan a memorable event that your guests will love.

First and foremost, it's important to consider your guest list and their dietary needs. Are there any vegetarians, vegans, or individuals with food allergies attending? It's crucial to have options for everyone, so make sure to communicate with your caterer about any dietary restrictions. Additionally, consider the time of day and the type of event you're hosting. A breakfast meeting will likely require different catering options than a formal dinner party.

Another important aspect to consider is the presentation of the food. Not only should the food taste great, but it should also look appealing. Consider incorporating different colours and textures into your menu, and think about how the food will be displayed. A well-planned catering setup can add to the overall atmosphere of your event. By keeping these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to planning a memorable and successful event.

Understanding the Basics of Catering

When planning an event, catering is one of the most important aspects to consider. As caterers, we understand that food is not just fuel, but a way to bring people together and create memorable experiences. Here are some basics to keep in mind when planning your catering:

Menu Planning

The first step in catering is menu planning. Consider the type of event you're hosting and the preferences of your guests. When creating your menu, keep in mind any dietary restrictions or allergies. It's important to have a variety of options to accommodate everyone's needs.

Equipment and Staffing

In addition to food, you'll need to consider equipment and staffing. Depending on the size of your event, you may need tables, chairs, linens, and serving ware. You'll also need to consider the number of staff needed to prepare and serve the food.

Timing and Logistics

Timing and logistics are crucial when it comes to catering. It's important to have a clear timeline for when food will be served and to ensure that there is enough time for preparation and cleanup. Consider the layout of your event space and how food will be served. Buffet-style or family-style service may require more space than plated service.


Finally, it's important to consider your budget when planning catering. Be upfront with your caterer about your budget and work together to create a menu and service that fits within your means. Keep in mind that higher quality ingredients and service may come at a higher cost.

Overall, catering is a complex and important aspect of event planning. By considering menu planning, equipment and staffing, timing and logistics, and budget, you can create a memorable and successful event.

Event Type and Catering Needs

When planning an event, it is important to consider the type of event and its catering needs. Here are some tips for catering different types of events:

Corporate Events

Corporate events are usually held for business purposes, such as product launches, conferences, team building activities, and holiday parties. When catering for a corporate event, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Consider the time of day: If the event is in the morning, consider serving breakfast items such as pastries, fruit, and coffee. For lunch events, sandwiches, salads, and other light fare are appropriate. For evening events, consider serving heavier main dishes and possibly multi-course options.

  • Consider dietary restrictions: Ensure there are choices available for guests with various dietary needs, including options for vegetarians, those with gluten-free requirements, and others.

  • Keep it professional: Make sure the food presentation is professional and matches the tone of the event.


Weddings are one of the most important events in a person's life, and the catering can make or break the celebration. Here are some tips for catering a wedding:

  • Consider the theme: The food should match the theme of the wedding. For example, if the wedding is a rustic theme, consider serving barbecue or farm-to-table cuisine.

  • Consider the number of guests: Make sure to have enough food for all guests, but don't overdo it. It's better to have a little extra than to run out.

  • Consider dietary restrictions: Make sure to offer vegetarian, gluten-free, and other dietary options to accommodate all guests.


Private Parties

Private parties can range from small gatherings to large celebrations. When catering for a private party, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Take into account the event's timing: If it's scheduled for the morning, think about offering breakfast options like pastries, fruit, and coffee. When planning a lunch event, opt for sandwiches, salads, and lighter fare. For evening gatherings, contemplate serving heartier main dishes, and perhaps even consider offering multi-course meal options.

  • Consider the number of guests: Ensure there is sufficient food for all attendees, but avoid excessive quantities. It's preferable to have a slight surplus rather than risk running out.

  • Consider dietary restrictions: Ensure there are choices available for guests with various dietary needs, including options for vegetarians, those with gluten-free requirements, and others.

Overall, catering for different types of events requires careful consideration of the event type, theme, number of guests, and dietary restrictions. By keeping these factors in mind, we can ensure that the catering is a memorable part of the event.

Creating a Suitable Menu

When planning an event, one of the most important aspects is creating a suitable menu. A well-planned menu can make or break the success of your event. Here are some important factors to consider when creating a menu:

Dietary Restrictions

It's important to consider any dietary restrictions or allergies of your guests when planning the menu. This includes vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other dietary restrictions. Offering a variety of options can help ensure that all guests are able to enjoy the meal.

Seasonal Ingredients

Using seasonal ingredients can help create a more flavorful and memorable meal. It's important to consider the time of year and what ingredients are in season when planning the menu. This can also help with budgeting, as seasonal ingredients are often more affordable.

Balancing Flavours

When planning a menu, it's important to consider the balance of flavours. A well-balanced menu should include a variety of flavours, including sweet, savoury, and spicy. It's also important to consider the overall theme of the event and incorporate flavours that fit with the theme.

By considering these factors when creating a menu, you can ensure that your guests will have a memorable dining experience at your event.

Food Presentation

When it comes to catering, food presentation is just as important as taste. The way food is presented can enhance the overall experience of the event. Here are some tips for presenting food in different styles of catering.


Cocktail Style

For cocktail-style events, small bite-sized portions are the way to go. Finger foods like arancini, sliders, and skewers are perfect for this type of event. To make the presentation more visually appealing, consider using unique serving dishes like shot glasses, mini spoons, or small plates.

Buffet Style

Buffet-style events offer a wide variety of food options for guests to choose from. To make the presentation more visually appealing, consider using tiered serving dishes, chafing dishes, and decorative platters. Labelling each dish with a small card can also help guests identify what they are eating.

Food Stations

Food stations are becoming more popular for events. They offer a unique way for guests to interact with the food and create their own dishes. For example, a mashed potato bar can have toppings like bacon bits, cheese, and sour cream. To make the presentation more visually appealing, consider using decorative bowls and plates.


Plated Dining

For more formal events, plated dining is the way to go. Each guest receives a pre-plated dish that has been carefully composed by the chef. To make the presentation more visually appealing, consider using unique plates and garnishes.

Staffing and Equipment

When planning an event, it's essential to have the right staff and equipment to ensure everything runs smoothly. Here are some tips to help you with staffing and equipment:

Hiring Professional Staff

Hiring professional staff can make all the difference in the success of your event. Here are some things to consider when hiring staff:

  • Experience: Look for staff with experience in catering and events. They will be able to handle any issues that arise and ensure that everything runs smoothly.

  • Attitude: Staff with a positive attitude can make a big difference in the success of your event. Look for staff who are friendly, approachable, and willing to go the extra mile.

  • Training: Make sure the staff you hire have the necessary training to handle the equipment and tasks required for your event.

Choosing the Right Equipment

The equipment you choose for your event can make a big difference in the success of your event. Here are some things to consider when choosing equipment:

  • Capacity: Make sure the equipment you choose can handle the number of guests you are expecting. For example, if you are planning a large event, you'll need equipment with a high capacity.

  • Quality: Choose equipment that is of high quality and in good condition. This will ensure that it works properly and looks professional.

  • Backup Equipment: Always have backup equipment on hand in case of any issues. This will ensure that your event runs smoothly even if there are any equipment failures.

By hiring professional staff and choosing the right equipment, you can ensure that your event runs smoothly and is a success.

Budget Management

When planning an event, it is essential to manage your budget effectively. Here are a few tips that can help you stay within your budget:

Cost Estimation

Before you start planning your event, it is crucial to estimate the total cost. You can begin by creating a list of all the items you will need, such as food, beverages, decorations, and entertainment. Once you have a list of items, research their prices and create a rough estimate of the total cost. Be sure to include any additional expenses, such as taxes, service charges, and gratuities.

Negotiating with Vendors

When it comes to catering, negotiating with vendors can help you save money. Here are a few tips that can help you negotiate effectively:

  • Be clear about your budget and what you expect from the vendor.

  • Ask for a detailed breakdown of the cost, including any additional fees or charges.

  • Ask if there are any discounts or promotions available.

  • Consider negotiating the menu items or the quantity of food to fit your budget.

  • Be willing to compromise and find a solution that works for both parties.

By following these tips, you can effectively manage your budget and plan a memorable event that meets your expectations without breaking the bank.

Health and Safety Regulations

When planning an event, it is essential to prioritise the safety and well-being of your guests. As caterers, we understand the importance of adhering to health and safety regulations to ensure that everyone enjoys the event without any mishaps. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Food Safety: Always make sure that the food is prepared and stored correctly to prevent foodborne illnesses. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, and use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and fish.

  • Allergies and Dietary Restrictions: Be aware of any allergies or dietary restrictions your guests may have. Label the food items clearly to indicate any allergens present and offer alternative options to accommodate dietary restrictions.

  • Sanitation: Keep the food preparation and serving areas clean and sanitised to prevent the spread of germs. Use disposable gloves when handling food and change them frequently.

  • Alcohol Service: If you plan to serve alcohol, make sure to follow the local laws and regulations. Have a designated bartender to monitor alcohol consumption and prevent over-serving.

  • Emergency Preparedness: Be prepared for emergencies by having a first aid kit on hand and knowing the location of the nearest medical facility. In case of a fire, make sure to have fire extinguishers readily available and a clear evacuation plan in place.

By following these health and safety regulations, you can ensure that your event is not only memorable but also safe and enjoyable for everyone involved.


How EPIC Ensures Exceptional Catering Services

At EPIC, we take pride in delivering top-notch catering services that elevate your event to the next level. Our commitment to excellence is reflected in every aspect of our catering offerings. Here's how we make it happen:

Diverse Culinary Expertise

EPIC partners with five talented chefs in residence, each specialising in distinct cuisines. This culinary dream team covers a wide range of culinary styles, including French, Italian, plant-forward, Asian-fusion, and tapas and small plates. With this diversity, we can craft a tailored menu to suit the theme and preferences of your event, including if you’re looking for custom options.

Versatile Catering Options

We understand that every event is unique. That's why EPIC can provide a wide range of catering services, from delectable cocktail platters to elegantly plated multi-course dinners. Whether you're hosting a corporate event, a wedding, or a private party, our offerings are flexible and adaptable to meet your specific needs.

Experienced and Dedicated Staff

Our team comprises experienced professionals who are passionate about delivering the best catering experience. From chefs who create mouthwatering dishes, to our talented mixologists who craft a wide array of signature cocktails and serving staff who ensure seamless execution, our team is committed to excellence at every step. We take pride in delivering the utmost quality and service to make your event unforgettable and ensuring a well-rounded and memorable dining and drinking experience for your guests.

With EPIC's culinary diversity, versatile catering options, and dedicated staff, you can rest assured that your event will be a successful occasion. We're here to handle all your catering requests and provide the exceptional service you deserve. Contact us today to discuss your upcoming event and let EPIC bring a taste of perfection to your gathering.

Review and Feedback

At the end of any event, it's essential to gather feedback to improve future catering services. We always make sure to follow up with our clients to get their thoughts on the event.

We send a survey to our clients to gather feedback on the catering service. The survey includes questions about the food, service, and overall experience. We also ask for suggestions on how we can improve our services.

We take the feedback we receive seriously and use it to improve our services. If we receive negative feedback, we take steps to address the issue and prevent it from happening in the future.

Overall, gathering feedback is crucial to improving our catering services and ensuring that we provide memorable events for our clients.

Interested in booking a catering event with EPIC? Click here.

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