How to Plan the Perfect Catering Menu

Posted on February 01, 2021

There are a lot of details that go into planning an event, including the guest list, venue, decorations, music, and more. But the food you serve is by far the most important selection, and it can make or break any event. Whether you're throwing a wedding reception, business meeting, or family reunion, here’s how to plan the perfect catering menu so your next event is a success.

If you’re searching for the best catering in NYC, Beyond Sushi is the perfect choice. We offer a variety of catering services, an extensive vegan menu, and a friendly staff that’s ready to serve you!

View Sample Menu  Get A Quote

Set Your Budget

Before you meet with your caterer, determine your budget for the event. You don’t have to know the exact number, but you should have a range in mind. This will help your caterer design a menu that’s not only delicious, but also affordable. If you’re not sure what your budget should be, your caterer should be able to give you a general idea on costs to help you create a catering menu that’s right for you and your event.

Know Your Guests and Their Preferences

If you want your event to be a culinary success, it’s important to know who’s on your guest list. Here are some questions to ask when coming up with your guest profile:

  • What is the professional level of your guests?
  • What is the age range of your guests?
  • What types of food might your guests be expecting at your event?
  • Where are your guests from/where do they live?

Once you know your guest profile, you can use that information to create a crowd-pleasing menu. Below are some guidelines to take into consideration when making food selections:

  • Older guests may prefer mild menu options.
  • Younger guests may be open to more adventurous foods.
  • Health-conscious guests may prefer a menu with fresh and lighter options over a heavy meal or fried foods.

Choose Your Service Style

From sit-down meals to buffets to boxed meals, there are plenty of ways to serve your guests. Whatever you choose, you want to make sure both the service style and menu fit the event and work with your timeline. If your guests only have a limited time to eat, a full meal service that can take up to two hours probably doesn’t make sense. But if your event is more formal, providing a boxed meal probably won’t impress your guests.

Provide a Variety of Options

You may not be able to please everyone, but your menu should have a couple of different (and tasty!) options so no one leaves the event with an unsatisfied stomach. Here are some general guidelines to consider when planning your catering menu:

  • Entrees: Offer two to three options.
  • Salads: Provide three or more salad dressing options.
  • Condiments: Serve on the side to accommodate guest preferences.
  • Dessert: Provide two options. Ideally, select one indulgent dessert and one healthy dessert.

Accommodate Those with Dietary Restrictions and Allergies

Whether you’re planning a wedding reception, birthday party, or work event, you always need to ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions or food allergies. Some common allergies and dietary restrictions include:

  • Nut allergy
  • Soy allergy
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Gluten intolerances (Celiac)
  • Religious requirements (Kosher) 
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Knowing this information ensures that all of your guests will have something to eat. It’s also important for your caterer so they can prepare food that’s safe and avoids cross-contamination.

Take the Venue into Consideration

Not all venues are designed to serve every size party and every type of meal. Talk to your venue ahead of time to figure out how the food can be stored (especially food that needs to be chilled or refrigerated), where the food can be heated up, and how much space you need to serve guests. You can also ask the venue what they’ve done for past events. However, if you work with an experienced caterer, they should be able to tell you what kind of facilities they need to serve different menus.

Do you need an event space to host your gathering? Beyond Sushi has several modern, eco-friendly establishments across Manhattan that are perfect for private events. Learn More.

Work with a Dependable Caterer

If you want to feel confident about the food you’re serving, it’s important to work with a caterer that’s both professional and dependable. Here are some questions to ask when meeting with potential caterers:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they specialize in certain types of food?
  • Are they knowledgeable in dietary restrictions and food allergies?
  • Are they fully insured?
  • If you plan to serve alcohol, are they fully licensed to provide and serve alcoholic beverages?
  • What’s included and what’s not included in their packages?
  • Can they provide references from previous clients?
  • When do they need to know the final guest count?

Cater Your Event with City Roots by Beyond Sushi!

Now that you know how to plan the perfect catering menu, get started today! Full-service catering from City Roots makes it easy for you to serve and enjoy amazing vegan cuisine at your event. With many delicious vegan options to choose from, assistance from our staff from start to finish, and great event spaces to enjoy your get-together, you’re sure to impress your guests when you work with us. Contact us to get a quote for your next event!

View Sample Menu  Get A Quote

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