5 Tips for Catering an Outdoor Event

Each catering job will offer its own challenges – and outdoor parties are no exception. When you’re serving food outdoors you’ve gotta do a bit more planning. You won’t have access to a kitchen, sinks, air conditioning… on top of that you’ll need to bring your own table space and plan ahead to make sure it’s used properly.

Don’t worry, as long as you take some time and plan ahead it can go as smoothly as any other catering job. Here are five tips to help your event go as smoothly as possible.

1.Check the weather… and then check it again! The weather is going to decide a lot about the party. You’re likely going to be planning the menu around the weather. You also need to be ready with canopies or tents if it looks like rain might be in the forecast and the event planner is having you supply the tables.
2.How much room does the venue have? Is it enough for everything you plan to bring?Will you be able to plug in hotplates if you need them? If not you’ll need to stick to foods you can BBQ and stuff that is okay room temperature or cold. Alternatively, find a way to keep it hot such as tin foil baking pans wrapped in foil. They’ll keep the heat in for a while, though you may want to have someone drive the hot food over after you’ve set up. Some caterers prefer to bring a portable generator so they know they can keep the hotplates going.
3.If your catering company wears uniforms think about the weather and where you’re going to be. Is the uniform still practical? You don’t want to end up sweating because of the heat on top of your uniform or freezing because it gets a little chilly. You may consider some lightweight but matching and professional outfits for outdoor events and allow everyone to layer up if it gets cold.
4.Plastic plates and silverware are a must for outdoor parties. It’s so easy for regular plates to get dropped and break which is dangerous. You’re also going to end up with a big mess when you have to haul the dirty dishes back to wash at your headquarters. Disposable tableware will make both setup and cleanup easier and you can still look professional by picking high quality plates. Look for thermoformed plastic plates or injected plastic tableware for a professional and sturdy product that’s still disposable and inexpensive.
5.You can never have too much ice. If you’re bringing any kind of cold salads or fresh food it’s essential it stays cold, especially in warm weather. It’ll get gross fast if you don’t. The easiest way to deal with this is to have tubs or trays full of ice and put the bowls of food inside so they stay chilled. Make sure they’re covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil until it’s time to eat.

Outdoor events are so much fun to cater! They add a bit of extra challenge but it’s always nice to do something a little out of the ordinary. It all comes down to a little bit of extra planning and attention to detail so everything comes together properly.

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