A Comprehensive Guide to Finding Affordable Event Catering
Are you planning an event and searching for affordable catering options that won't break the bank? Look no further. In this guide, we'll walk you through the essential steps to finding cost-effective event catering without compromising on quality or taste. From menu choices to negotiating discounts, we've got you covered.
I. Catering Service Choices: Making the Right Decisions
A. Food Delivery Options
A. Estimating Guest Count Begin by estimating the number of guests who will attend your event. Be as accurate as possible to avoid over-ordering and overspending.
B. Duration of Food Service Consider how long your guests will be fed. Longer events require more food, so plan accordingly. If your event spans several hours, you may need to provide snacks or additional meal options. If your event is running into dinner times, be sure to feed your guests appropriately.
C. Guest Expectations for Food Quantity Think about the expectations of your guests. Are they likely to expect generous portions? Are there dietary restrictions or preferences to accommodate? If you are keeping them back after work for a meeting conference, are they going to miss dinner with their family?
Many years ago, I remember a club function I catered for, and the client had added another twenty dollars on to the ticket price to attend, making the food they ordered twice the price of its actual value. The guests were not happy as they thought they were getting a banquet, not a light meal. These plans should be discussed with your caterer to ensure there is no misunderstanding.
III. Gathering Multiple Quotes: The Key to Cost Savings
A. Identify Sources for Quotes Start your search for affordable catering by identifying potential caterers in your area. Type into google key words such as the type of cuisine you are after (e.g., noodle box food), the type of event (e.g., corporate Christmas party). Seek recommendations from friends, family, or event planners. Additionally, explore online reviews and ratings to create a list of candidates.
B. Requesting Quotes from Caterers Once you have a list of caterers, reach out to them for quotes. Provide detailed information about your event, including the date, guest count, menu preferences, and any special requests.
Don't hesitate to ask for a breakdown of costs to understand what you're paying for. Most quotes are provided for a limited time (as food costs are always changing) and some will provide a discount if paid within a certain time period.
IV. Venue Considerations: Working with Your Event Space Before finalizing your catering decision, assess your event venue and its limitations.
A. Assess Venue Limitations
A. Haggling with the Caterer Negotiating with caterers can be a game-changer when it comes to affordability. Don't be afraid to discuss your budget constraints and explore options for cost reduction. From our point of view here at Flying Woks, when things slow down in the winter months, we are happy to negotiate a discount to suit budgets. However, in the warmer months we rarely do as demand is high and bookings come in fast.
B. Cash Payment Discounts Most caterers no longer offer discounts for cash payments as the reputable ones have systems in place that make handing cash somewhat difficult. It doesn’t hurt to inquire about this option, and some caterers may provide a discount for early payment or minimal discount for eft, in an effort to avoid credit card charges.
C. Providing Your Own Cutlery If you're looking to cut costs further, consider providing your own cutlery, plates, and glassware. Some caterers may offer a discount for this though it is not a common practice. Most caterers have their own crockery & cutlery or purchase in bulk quality disposable tableware. I have had several clients who have worked out it is less expensive to buy their own crockery & cutlery from Kmart or Alibaba than to hire from a caterer or marquee company. It's important to discuss what you plan to buy with your caterer, to ensure it's suitable for the type of cuisine the caterer is serving.
D. Special Offers from Caterers Keep an eye out for special offers or promotions from caterers. They may have seasonal discounts or package deals at certain periods of the year such as the low season or they may be keen to promote a new offer, a new menu, or meet their monthly sales goals. Here at Flying Woks, we offer bulk discounts when clients book in several functions or several sites and occasionally run promotions for new clients who we know will book again and again once they have enjoyed our service.
E. Volume Discounts If you're hosting a large event, inquire about volume discounts. Caterers often provide discounts for higher guest counts.
VI. Event-Specific Factors: Tailoring Catering to Your Occasion
A. Wedding Considerations Weddings tend to have higher catering expectations. While it's possible to find affordable wedding catering, be prepared for slightly higher costs due to these expectations. Here at Flying Woks, we charge a slightly higher than standard set-up fee for weddings, as we spend more time on the pre-function level with clients. We often have several zoom meetings, site visits, and menu changes which justify a higher fee. I do know of clients who have inquired for our services claiming it was for a birthday., even though it was catering for a wedding. They do this thinking they will save money, but I encourage you not to do this. Wedding catering requires you to build a relationship with your caterer, and the caterer may not dedicate as much attention to your wedding if they think they are catering for a birthday or something simpler.
B. Seasonal Price Variations The season in which your event takes place can affect catering prices. Consider how seasonality may impact your menu choices and budget. Some caterers will have a price guide that has low season and high season prices. Venues may do this too.
VII. Group or Organization Discounts: Leveraging Your Affiliation
A. Discounts for Clubs or Not-for-Profits If you're organizing an event for a club or not-for-profit organization, mention your affiliation when negotiating with caterers. Some may offer special rates or discounts for such groups. A caterer would prefer to sell four functions to one customer at a discount than four separate functions, as their efficiencies in dealing with the one customer four times, rather than four separate clients. If you can get the other retail outlet, the affiliated office, or the second location to have, for example, a Christmas party too, the caterer may offer a discount.
VIII. Food Cost Considerations: Finding the Right Balance
A. Cheapest Food Options for Catering When it comes to specific menu items, certain dishes are generally more budget-friendly than others. For example, pasta dishes, salads, and vegetarian options are often cost-effective choices.
B. Most Expensive Food Options for Catering
On the flip side, dishes featuring premium ingredients like seafood or filet mignon tend to be more expensive. If you're looking to cut costs, consider these options sparingly or explore alternatives.
In conclusion, finding affordable event catering involves a series of thoughtful decisions and considerations. By carefully selecting your catering service style, menu, and service options, estimating food quantity, gathering multiple quotes, and considering venue constraints, you can stay within your budget while delighting your guests. Don't forget to negotiate, explore discounts, and tailor your choices to the specific needs of your event. With these tips and strategies, you can host a memorable event without breaking the bank.
Happy catering planning!
Antony Paul Hooton,
When it comes to corporate event catering, one of the most critical decisions you'll make is selecting the right catering service. The quality of food and service can significantly impact the success of your event. To ensure you make an informed choice, we've compiled eight essential tips for choosing the perfect corporate event catering service. In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide practical advice, share personal anecdotes when relevant, and walk you through the process step by step.
1. Aligning Your Catering Style with Your Event Vision
As you embark on the journey of selecting a corporate caterer, it's crucial to align the catering style with the vision you have for your event. The atmosphere, ambiance, and overall style you wish to create should be reflected in the catering choices you make.
I once attended a corporate retreat with a relaxed and informal vibe. However, the corporate catering the company had chosen specialised in formal, plated dinners. It was obvious to me that their style wasn’t complementing the event's laid-back atmosphere. A caterer experienced in casual, buffet-style dining, would have been a better choice, seamlessly harmonised the experience for the attendees.
Consider the following factors when thinking about the style of your event:
a. Formal vs. Informal:
Determine whether your event leans towards a formal or informal setting. A formal event may call for plated meals with elegant presentations, while an informal gathering might benefit from a buffet with bio-degradable crockery or shared grazing platters with simple palm lead bowls.
b. Theme and Decor:
If your event has a specific theme or decorative scheme, discuss it with your caterer. They can tailor their offerings to align with the chosen theme, ensuring a cohesive and visually appealing experience.
c. Dietary Restrictions and Preferences:
Consider the dietary needs and preferences of your attendees. Are there vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options required? A caterer specialising in corporate services can accommodate a variety of dietary requirements enhancing the inclusivity of your event. Be sure to discuss the dietary requirements all in advance of the event as the caterer may struggle on the day to accommodate for surprise dietary demands they have not prepared for.
d. Service Style:
Think about how you want the food to be served. Do you envision a formal waitstaff service, a self-serve buffet, or interactive food stations? The service style can significantly impact the guest experience.
I remember on one occasion I had a client who had chosen their own crockery and had ordered online beautiful large flat plates with golden borders, without informing us of their plans. I had to remind them that their function had food served most of the night with their guests standing and the menu was brimming with noodles and curries.
How are you anticipating your guests will hold the plate when they come to the buffet, or get the noodles off the plate? A smaller size, deep bowl with fork, spoon & chopsticks proved to be more suitable.
Again, chat with the caterer about your ideas and plans and avoid any assumptions.
2. Seeking Recommendations and Gathering Feedback for Corporate Event Catering
Your quest for the ideal corporate catering service begins with recommendations and feedback from trusted sources. Start by reaching out to your professional and personal network. Ask colleagues, superiors, and friends about their experiences with local catering companies. Their firsthand insights can be invaluable.
Many corporate catering companies have a substantial private client base as well. Quality catering companies often receive referrals from staff who have had a private function with them. The person was so impressed with the caterer they suggest the catering company to colleagues for the upcoming work function.
Also, when people move to new employment, they often bring their “preferred catering list” to the new premises. They know the caterers’ strengths & suitability and know precisely which caterer to choose from their list, for which type of work function they are organising.
Additionally, leverage online resources such as review platforms and social media to read about the experiences of others. Look for corporate event catering companies with a high ratio of positive reviews, as this is a good indicator of their overall performance and customer satisfaction. Be sure to read the negative reviews too and even more importantly read the response of the caterer to the negative review.
3. Defining Your Budget and Getting Detailed Estimates
Once you've aligned the catering style with your event vision, it's time to establish a clear budget for your corporate catering. Determine how much you can allocate to catering services, ensuring that quality and service align with your financial constraints.
It’s important to explain upfront to the caterer that the budget is firm or an estimate: the amount the company must spend may be its limit or is the budget a ballpark, an estimate and can be negotiated? Sometimes the company, after realising how much value the catering company will bring to the event, is willing to spend more for the extra value.
After outlining your budget, approach catering companies and request detailed estimates. A reputable corporate caterer should be transparent about their pricing, providing a breakdown of costs. This step ensures that you won't encounter unexpected expenses down the road.
It’s also important to talk upfront with the caterer about your budget, does it include gst. or is that not included? The catering company should ensure their quote clearly states the price inclusive or exclusive of gst. Corporate catering nearly always incurs the governments Gst., so be sure to read the caterers quote with that in mind; is Gst to be added on at the end?
When searching online for caterers you will find companies with their own website and other web-based directories listing catering companies. Some of the directories allow you to fill in your details once and they will send your catering enquiry out to all the caterers on their database. This seems like an efficient use of time to you however, many caterers do not value an enquiry from a directory as important as a direct enquiry from their own website.
The catering companies know they are just one of many responding to the directory request and that the potential customer has potentially not homed in on what they are looking for.
Its best to go to the caterer’s website, get to know their offer and if suitable, then fill out their enquiry form. Even better pick up the phone and call; you will soon capture the vibe of the caterer, their style, their professionalism, and their suitability should soon become evident.
4. Verifying Availability and Confirming Details
After shortlisting potential catering companies, it's crucial to verify their availability for your event date and time. Contact them and discuss your requirements. Be sure to secure a written confirmation, ensuring they can fulfil your needs as agreed upon.
As a professional caterer for over twenty years, I encourage my clients to secure the day with us as soon as they know we are the right fit for their event. We can always sort out the number of serves, serving time, type of cuisine later, but if the event is a big event, many caterers like us, who cook on site can only do one function for that day, so be sure to secure the day at your earliest convenience.
Unfortunately, I can say, too many times customers have forgotten to secure the day by deposit. I’ll get back to you next week, months go buy and they call up about that “special day” to find it has booked by someone else. Most professional corporate caterers do not “hold days” waiting for the client to secure the booking by deposit sometime in the future.
I once got caught out on New Year’s Eve, where an event manger booked our services in. I thought it was all going ahead as I had had many meetings with them about this big event, and I failed to take a deposit. I had numerous further requests to provide our catering for that same New Year’s Eve and I declined because I had a “sure thing”. Two days out the client cancelled, and my New Year’s Eve catering had evaporated like a puff of smoke. That was a long time ago, these days the deposit always secures the booking.
The deposit paid in advance tells the caterer you are committed, and they can then invest time in planning and preparing for your event.
5. Arranging a Food Tasting Session for Corporate Event Catering
One of the most enjoyable aspects of choosing a corporate caterer is arranging a food tasting session. Many professional catering companies offer this service, usually for a nominal fee. It's a fantastic opportunity to sample their offerings and gauge their culinary expertise.
During the tasting, pay attention not only to the taste but also to the presentation and quality of the dishes. Assess whether their flavour profiles align with your event's theme and your guests' preferences.
Just remember though that some boutique budget caterers do not offer this service. The revenue generated for the catering may be limited or the caterer may be fully booked and so may not offer this service. In this case, it’s best to thoroughly review what their customers have to say on their website’s testimonial page & Google reviews.
6. Carefully Reviewing the Contract for Corporate Event Catering
Before sealing the deal with your chosen corporate caterer, carefully review the contract, agreement, or terms & conditions. Take the time to understand all the terms and conditions outlined. If any clauses are unclear, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.
Most reputable caterers will have a page on their website committed to laying out in a simple manner their terms, or it will be the small print on the back age of the quote they send you.
The covid shutdown produced a lot of financial pain for caterers and emotional stress for their clients. Here in Melbourne, we had our state government shut down the hospitality service (caterers, restaurateurs, hoteliers) three days before valentine’s day, which reaped havoc on our industry. Since them most corporate caterers have tightened their terms and conditions, resulting in less flexibility and more financial onus on the customer.
7. Exploring Their Specialties and Expertise in Corporate Event Catering
Corporate catering companies often have signature dishes or specialties that set them apart. Inquire about these unique offerings and assess whether they align with your event's theme and requirements. Additionally, consider whether the catering company specialises in the type of corporate event you're planning.
Have they catered for this type of event before?
Have they catered for this number of guests before?
Can they feed all the people in the designated time frame?
Ask your caterer as many questions upfront, don’t make assumptions or leave anything to chance. Anything you consider could go wrong you should discuss with the caterer; their response should give the peace of mind to proceed with confidence.
8. Determining the Best Location for Your Event
The finale: choosing the perfect location for your corporate event can significantly impact the overall experience. When deciding between hosting the event at your work premises or choosing an external venue, there are distinct advantages to consider.
Benefits of Corporate Event Catering at Your Work Premises:
1. Convenience: Hosting the event at your office or workplace provides unmatched convenience. Your employees won't need to commute to a different location, saving time and minimising logistical challenges.
e.g., I’ve seen staff carparks be converted into a little China Town for Chinese New Year and factory floors made into magnificent Christmas themed venues.
2. Cost-Effective: Opting for in-house corporate event catering can often be more cost-effective than booking an external venue. You can make the most of existing facilities, saving on venue rental fees. You can also keep the company doors still open with limited staff “holding the fort” while most staff enjoy the hospitality.
Money can also be saved by management, funding the beverages, sourcing, and preparing themselves, rather than paying for overprices beverages packages at a venue.
3. Customisation: Holding the event on your premises allows for greater customisation. You have control over the setup, decor, and overall ambiance, ensuring it aligns perfectly with your corporate image and objectives. Sometimes staff wish to be involved in fancying up the room or space, a lot easier to do at your own premises.
4. Time Efficiency: Your employees can maximise their workday when the event takes place at the office. There's no need to leave early or take time off, enhancing productivity.
E.g., I’ve seen the bus not turn up to pick up the staff reps and bring them to the event, I’ve seen the functions centre be overbooked and companies sharing the space.
You name it, things do not always go as planned and keeping the catering on your premises can be a godsend.
5. Familiar Environment: Employees and attendees are in a familiar environment, which can lead to increased comfort and engagement during the event. Social anxiety is real thing in the 2020’s and putting the event on at work is very reassuring for some staff.
6. Reduced Travel Stress: Avoiding the hassles of traffic and unfamiliar locations can contribute to a more relaxed and enjoyable experience for your guests.
I’ve noticed especially for corporate xmas parties, staff are happy to be catered for at work in huge marquee or spruced up staff room, as they are rushing around at that time of year, and keen to keep the celebrations “short & sweet” so they can finish the xmas shopping!
7. Enhanced Security: Your workplace likely has established security measures in place, providing peace of mind during the event.
While choosing an external venue can offer its own advantages, such as a change of scenery and access to specialised event facilities, carefully considering whether your work premises can serve as the ideal location is a cost-effective and efficient option that can enhance the overall success of your corporate event.
Selecting the right corporate catering service is pivotal to the success of your event. By following these eight essential tips and suggestions, you can navigate the process with confidence and make an informed choice. Remember, thorough research, clear communication, and attention to detail are your allies in ensuring a seamless and memorable corporate event.
Your thoughtful event catering choices will leave a lasting positive impression on your attendees, making your event a memorable and successful one.
Much success to you!
Antony Paul Hooton
Flying Woks Australia Pty Ltd
In today's ever-evolving work landscape, one thing remains constant: the importance of a satisfied and motivated workforce. Victoria boasts over six hundred thousand businesses, with over one hundred thousand employees in the City of Melbourne alone. Professional corporate staff catering services provided for staff can increase morale and reward staff in a very cost-effective and popular manner.
The Power of Corporate Staff Catering By now, you likely grasp the significance of creating a positive and enjoyable work environment. One effective way to achieve this is through thoughtful and appropriate corporate staff catering. In this article, we will dive deep into the realm of office catering, dissect its profound impact on employee morale, and introduce innovative catering options tailored to different work environments.
As Victoria stands as the nation's manufacturing hub, we will also shed light on the importance of corporate staff catering for blue-collar workers in factories and warehouses—because they, too, deserve support and motivation.
Whether you're a manager aiming to boost team spirits or an employer keen on enhancing your workplace experience, read on to uncover invaluable insights into corporate staff catering. Let's embark on a journey to transform your Melbourne office into a haven of happiness.
The Importance of Office Morale The Link Between Morale and Productivity In any workplace, morale plays a pivotal role in determining productivity and job satisfaction. Research has repeatedly shown that happy employees are more engaged, creative, and loyal. When employees feel valued and well-cared for, they are more likely to go above and beyond in their roles.
As a seasoned professional caterer, I've had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the transformative positive power of quality corporate staff catering on workplace environments. Having catered for hundreds of companies and serving thousands of staff our cuisine, we've seen the smiles on staff's faces when fed healthy, nourishing food. Staff feel appreciated when management takes the time to feed them—a simple gesture that can be very cost-effective compared to other more traditional staff rewards.
"41 percent felt that the best corporate gift was food. 40 percent said that having food in the office would reduce stress."
Ms. Suzanne Lucas, Inc.com
The Catering Revolution In recent years, the concept of office catering has evolved from a mere necessity to a strategic tool for enhancing office morale. The days of generic, uninspired office lunches are fading into history as businesses recognize the need to cater to the diverse tastes and dietary preferences of their employees. Nearly five hundred tech companies in America (listed on Builtin.com) are offering the perk of "free food" to their employees, and this trend for employer-provided staff food is on the rise in Melbourne's businesses too.
The Changing Preferences of Employees Melbourne is home to residents of over two hundred countries, and this diversity is reflected in the labor market too. Melbourne's modern international restaurants mirror this diversity, making a broad range of cuisine available for corporate staff catering, night shift feeds, Christmas parties, and beyond.
Back in the eighties, Melbourne began embracing the coffee culture. Companies transitioned from the Nescafe Blend 43 and Birko urn on the wall to Nespresso Coffee machines in the staff room or café at the office entrance. The same transformation is happening now with corporate catering. Food trucks, coffee carts, exotic BBQs, marquee catering in staff carparks—these are all on the rise, and the most forward-thinking companies are using these corporate staff catering offers to keep their staff happy. With low unemployment rates in Australia, companies are seeking smart ways to retain staff, and "food enticements" are proving to be effective staff benefits.
The diverse background of Melburnians and their broad palate are helping reshape the catering landscape. Over 50% of Melbourne's residents were born overseas, and their cultural and personal preferences are reflected in the diverse catering options now available for corporate staff catering.
With many multi-nationals such as Bosch, Siemens & Asahi based in Melbourne, expats make up a substantial part of the payroll, and their expected staff perks match those they had back home—quality lunches or food offers when working extended hours.
Staff generally want options that cater to various dietary needs and a desire for healthier choices too. Employing professional caterers can ensure that all staff are nurtured, all dietary requirements are met, enhancing morale without leaving anyone behind.
Enticing Staff Back to the Office The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a seismic shift in the way we work. As remote work became the norm, office spaces sat empty for extended periods. Many employees discovered the convenience of working from home, and the office seemed less appealing. In this new reality, employers faced the challenge of luring their staff back to the office, and one solution emerged as a powerful enticement—quality corporate staff catering.
Elon Musk tells staff to go back to work:
"Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean minimum) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla."
The Allure of Office Catering Quality office catering offers a compelling reason for employees to return to the workplace. It transforms the office into a place where not only work happens but also where culinary delights await. Here's how it works:
Variety and Convenience Catered breakfasts and lunches provide an enticing array of food options. From gourmet sandwiches to exotic salads and chef-prepared hot meals, the variety is endless. This variety appeals to employees who may have grown tired of preparing their own meals while working from home. Variety is the spice of life, and employing an external caterer can transform the office into a place to "be."
A Taste of Normalcy The office environment with its camaraderie and social interactions is something many employees missed during the pandemic. Quality catering can recreate some of that sense of normalcy. Sharing meals with colleagues fosters connections and a feeling of belonging. Many great caterers in our wonderful town follow the approach of having staff come up to the woks and pans that are sizzling away, brimming with food delights—letting them interact and choose their favorite dish.
Time-Saving Employees working from home often spend a considerable amount of time planning, preparing, and cleaning up after meals. Returning to the office means less time spent on these tasks and more time for work and relaxation.
Health and Well-Being Quality catering can address employees' desires for healthier food options. It's an opportunity for employers to promote nutrition and well-being by offering balanced and nutritious meals. Many clients have worked with us to have our giant paella pans on display, a "noodle box" lunch, or end-of-month get-togethers with a sausage sizzle and coffee cart on offer. (Don't forget these days you must provide vegan, gluten-free, and halal options to keep all staff happy).
I recently spoke with Sarah, a marketing manager who had been working from home during the pandemic. She shared her experience of returning to the office when her company reintroduced catering services. "I'll admit, I was quite comfortable working from home," she said. "But the prospect of having you guys catering for us again, I remembered Flying Woks from pre-covid days, delicious! That was too tempting to resist. It's a great way to catch up with colleagues over your delicious food."
The Role of Catering Providers To entice employees back into the office, employers often turn to professional catering providers who specialize in corporate staff catering. These providers bring expertise, culinary creativity, and a keen understanding of employee preferences to the site.
Collaborative Menu Planning Catering providers work closely with companies to design menus that align with the tastes and dietary needs of employees. They often offer flexibility, allowing employees to customize their meals to suit their preferences.
Safe and Hygienic Practices In the post-COVID era, safety and hygiene are paramount. Catering providers have adapted to stringent health and safety protocols, ensuring that the food they deliver is not only delicious but also safe to consume.
Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Options Many catering providers have embraced sustainability and eco-friendly practices, aligning with the values of employees who are environmentally conscious. This commitment includes eco-friendly packaging, locally sourced ingredients, and reduced food waste. (Here at Flying Woks too, we clean up and take the rubbish away!)
Bulk Catering Like other professional caterers, Flying Woks has many clients who have us cook for every employee, not just the executive team in the office. Sometimes we cook on-site for extended hours (Australia Post has us on-site for 12 hours) to accommodate shift workers or the sales reps returning later in the day. In our case, as we cook on-site, staff usually come up to the woks and choose their selection. At other times, we are "boxing food" and sending it up to level 11 or down to the coal face of the warehouse, where staff must keep the machine running.
For example, at Monash Hospital, we have catered for the staff Christmas party many times. There, we serve 2700 staff over a few hours. But there are always trolleys of delicious food, sealed up hot and sent away to the surgeons and nurses in the emergency department, who can't step away. Anyway, why should they miss out on a great healthy lunch?
Unique On-Site Catering Offers While traditional office catering is highly effective, some workplaces opt for unique on-site catering options to further elevate office morale. These creative catering choices add an element of surprise and delight to the workday. Here are some unique on-site catering offers that can bring a touch of excitement to your Melbourne workplace:
20 Types of Corporate Events or Occasions Requiring Professional Catering
1) Corporate Meetings: Catering enhances focus and engagement during important meetings.
2) Conferences: Fuel attendees with refreshments and meals to keep them energized.
3) Product Launches: Impress clients and partners with culinary flair at product unveilings.
4) Training Sessions: Provide nourishing meals for optimal learning and retention.
5) Board Meetings: Elevate discussions with gourmet catering for board members.
6) Team Building Events: Foster teamwork with delightful snacks and meals, presented in a fun interactive way.
7) Employee Appreciation Days: Show gratitude with a catered feast for your hardworking staff.
8) Holiday Parties: Celebrate the festive season with a grand catered event.
9) Client Appreciation Dinners: Strengthen client relationships over a gourmet dinner.
10) Sales Presentations: Win over clients with impressive catering during pitches.
11) Company Anniversaries: Mark milestones with a catered celebration.
12) Employee Onboarding: Welcome new hires with a catered orientation.
13) Employee Training Workshops: Fuel learning with nutritious catering options.
14) Charity Events: Support causes with catering that leaves a lasting impression.
15) Networking Events: Enhance connections with food and beverages.
16) Award Ceremonies: Recognize achievements with an elegant catered affair.
17) Exhibitions and Trade Shows: Attract visitors with enticing food offerings.
18) Seminars: Keep attendees engaged with nourishing snacks and meals.
19) Company Picnics: Enjoy the outdoors with a catered picnic feast.
20) Retirement Parties: Bid farewell with a memorable catered event.
These occasions highlight the diverse range of events that can benefit from professional catering services, making them memorable and successful.
In the world of modern business, creating a positive workplace environment is crucial for employee morale and productivity. Corporate staff catering is a powerful tool that can significantly contribute to achieving this goal. As Account Directors, Event Managers, or maybe the PA left with the role of sorting out the food & beverages for the next staff get-together, you can make a difference in your workplace by advocating for catering choices that align with your staff's preferences and needs.
By offering creative breakfast and lunch options, celebrating special occasions, catering to diverse dietary needs, embracing sustainability, and exploring unique on-site catering offers, you can create a workplace where employees feel valued and motivated.
Remember, the future of corporate catering is dynamic, and staying ahead of the curve by embracing emerging trends will help ensure that your Melbourne workforce remains a positive and morale-boosting environment for years to come. So, go ahead, explore these corporate staff catering options, and watch as your office transforms into a hub of happiness and productivity.
Your journey to elevating office morale with corporate staff catering in Melbourne starts with well-informed choices. If you would like our guidance, you can email us here or call Bonnie in the office on 1300 00 9657.
When it comes to organising a memorable event in Melbourne, there's one element that often takes center stage - the beverages. Melbourne is renowned for its vibrant event scene, and whether you're planning a corporate gathering, a wedding, or a special birthday celebration, the drinks you serve can leave a lasting impression on your guests. As an experienced caterer specializing in Melbourne's bustling event industry, I understand the significance of choosing the right beverage company. In this guide, I'm here to help you navigate through the options and find the best mobile bar company for your event. Since we are mobile caterers, I have tailored my suggestions to apply to outdoor functions such as backyard weddings, corporate events, and public gatherings.
The Melbourne Event Experience
Melbourne: A hub of events, from international extravaganzas to the smallest boutique affairs, Melbourne is a city that knows how to celebrate. As a caterer for over twenty years in the city I love, I've had the privilege of tapping into Melbourne's unique energy and creative spirit, working with many beverage companies to create truly memorable occasions.
The Role of Beverage Catering
Now let's talk about the unsung heroes of Melbourne's events – the mobile beverage companies. You might wonder, why are they so crucial? Well, let me share; at Flying Woks, it's our staff that make you feel truly special and the right bartenders can do the same. Choose the perfect mobile bar service and, and your event comes alive. Match the food menu to the beverage menu, and your function harmoniously blends the magic of yin and yang!
Criteria for Selecting the Best Mobile Bar Company
As you embark on your journey to find the perfect mobile bar option for your Melbourne event, here are some essential criteria to keep in mind:
Quality and VarietyQuality matters, and Melbourne's diverse crowd appreciates it. Look for a beverage option that matches the expectations of your guests. Are cocktails mixed on-site a must, or will that option be unappreciated or out of budget? Do you need alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, pre-mixed, grab-and-go, exotic mocktails? Who is handling the glassware? Do you need crystal Stolzle Weinland stemware? Plan it out with your chosen bar company, and your guests will thank you for it.
Experience and Reputation
In Melbourne's competitive event industry, experience is invaluable. Consider a beverage catering company with a proven track record of success. Reading customer reviews and checking their portfolio can provide valuable insights. Their website usually captures their style; does it suit your occasion?
Customization and Flexibility
Every event is unique, and your beverage choices should reflect that. If the budget allows, opt for a mobile bar provider that is willing to customize their offerings to match your event's theme and requirements. Flexibility is key.
Budgeting is always a concern, but remember that quality doesn't always mean extravagant costs. Seek a balance between your budget and the quality of service provided. I've had clients create amazing backyard weddings with limited bar budgets, setting up self-service iced eskies and hiring glassware and alcohol from the local pub. Others have created the most extravagant affairs with incredible signature cocktails and luxurious presentations; it's worth spending the time to find your perfect match in bar service.
Top Beverage Options in Melbourne
Now, let's dive into the heart of the matter – the top beverage catering companies in Melbourne. I've handpicked three companies that consistently deliver exceptional service. I am not affiliated with these businesses; rather, I have worked with them at numerous events and love their professional service. Each is different and each has carved out its own niche to play a central role in the successful execution of an event.
Company 1: Liquid Infusion
They have been a prominent player in Melbourne's event catering scene for over a decade. Their dedication to quality and innovation has earned them a stellar reputation. Liquid Infusion offers an extensive range of beverages, from classic cocktails to artisanal mocktails. Their mixologists are known for crafting unique, palate-pleasing concoctions. I have seen their mobile bars become central themes in marquees and corporate head offices, and they perfectly complement our mobile offer. Liquid Infusion has catered to high-profile events, including Melbourne's best Food and Wine Festivals and many impressive weddings. Their attention to detail sets them apart.
"We hired Liquid Infusion to provide drinks and a barista service for our daughter's wedding in May 2023. From the first point of inquiry nearly a year prior to the wedding to the delivery of service, Liquid Infusion surpassed our expectations.” - Damelia Notrevo
Company 2: Mister Bartender
Mister Bartender is a boutique beverage catering company that focuses on the art of mixology. Their commitment to craftsmanship and creativity is evident in every sip. Like Flying Woks, they started with one passionate individual, doing what he loves – in this case, Steve was making amazing cocktails for his friends, and it took off! Mister Bartender specializes in crafting bespoke cocktails that align with your event's theme. Their bartenders are RSA trained, and they service the whole of Victoria. There is a lot to love about Mister Bartender, including their impressive bespoke gifting option, customizing your cocktails to fit your event perfectly.
“On the night, the bartenders were fabulous, friendly, and made great drinks! They made the whole experience stress-free and easy, and it meant I did not have to worry about my guests. All bartenders were fantastic” - Prue Laurence
Company 3: Tom Collins Caravan Bar Tom Collins Caravan Bar is a beverage company on wheels, traveling across Victoria, creating a great vibe for weddings and other outdoor events. They've quickly become a crowd favorite in Melbourne's private and corporate events and suit the “flying woks style” perfectly. Post Covid, we have seen an increase in outdoor weddings, and Tom Collins Caravan Bar is a special addition to your most important day. Tom Collins Caravan Bar promotes mingling of your guests as they serve beer, wine, champagne from the classic caravan window. Their team brings enthusiasm and charm to every event they cater.
"We had the pleasure of having Tom Collins caravan bar at our wedding, and my goodness. The service, the cocktails, absolutely everything was perfect!” - Anna-Louise Hammar
Making Your Choice
Now that you've had a glimpse of these exceptional mobile bar companies, it's time to consider your direction. Weigh the options considering the unique aspects of each company. Do their offerings align with your event's theme and guest preferences? Take your time to make an informed decision. When planning your event, start the discussion with mobile bar specialists early in the process; the best are booked up sometimes years in advance on the most popular days.
Finalising the Decision
Once you've made your choice, ensure all details are outlined in a contract or quote confirmed via deposit. Running sheets confirming bump-in times, access points for water and power, entry and exit points are a must. Clear communication and documentation are crucial for a successful partnership.
In the vibrant tapestry of Melbourne's events, mobile bar companies play a pivotal role in creating unforgettable moments. With this guide, I hope you're now better equipped to choose the perfect beverage partner for your upcoming event. Remember, it's not just about drinks; it's about crafting an experience that your guests will cherish. Cheers to a successful event in Melbourne!
If you found this guide helpful and want more event planning tips, feel free to reach out. I'm here to assist you in creating exceptional events in Melbourne. Cheers! Antony Paul Hooton
Introduction: Hi fellow event organisers. For over twenty years I have been catering for Melbourne’s most impressive corporate events and I’ve learnt a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. From conferences that buzz with excitement to team-building workshops that spark creativity, I've learned one thing: the right catering can turn an ordinary event into an unforgettable experience. So, lets journey through the ins and outs of crafting outstanding corporate event catering that'll have your guests talking long after the last bite. This overview will help you consider all the most important points, so your event is a huge success.
Understanding the Essence of Corporate Event Catering First things first, let's talk about why catering matters. Imagine this: a conference with a stellar line-up of speakers and game-changing ideas. Now picture the angry faces of attendees munching on bland sandwiches and sipping weak & lukewarm coffee. See the contrast? Catering isn't just about filling bellies; it's about enhancing the entire event's vibe and making guests feel valued. Everyone has been to an event where the food was cold, or it didn’t appear on the centre table while the guests waited hungrily! Let’s read on so you cover all bases, to ensure smooth sailing on the day. I once had a manager that constantly stressed the ”six P’s” – “proper planning prevents piss-poor performance” and this catchcry certainly applies here.
Tailoring Menus to Event Objectives Okay, let's dive into the nitty-gritty. When planning your catering menu, think like a detective. What's the event's purpose? Is it a formal conference demanding a sophisticated menu, or a relaxed team-building retreat that calls for hearty, interactive food stations? How long will my guests be present for? Am I keeping them from getting home in time for dinner? If so, to keep them happy you better ensure there is plenty to go around.
Tailoring your menu to match the event's goals is like serving up a slice of understanding to your guests. Make sure the menu is supporting the event e.g., if you overfeed your guests, they may become lethargic and not be as attentive; didn’t you want them to listen to the speakers and not have them fall asleep? I once went to a Tony Robbins’ “fire-walk” weekend and no buttery croissants for morning tea for us, just a bowl of fruit with apples and oranges to choose from, it certainly kept us focused on our huge task at hand!
If the event is built around “wellbeing” you obviously would want the caterer to serve healthy food covering all dietary requirements such as fodmap diet & vegan. If the event is a relaxed celebratory affair your guests may be hoping to indulge in something richer. Perhaps they are anticipating a treat such as petit fours or even overindulging on the second serve of the seafood paella is what they have in mind.
Navigating Dietary Diverse Needs Dietary restrictions don't have to be a headache. I've seen guests light up when they find out their dietary needs were not just met but exceeded. Sometimes it’s just giving two or three choices for them instead of just one is enough to make them content. It's like giving someone a personal thumbs-up for their choices. Going the extra mile to accommodate special diets is a game-changer.
In the past people probably lived with “that bloating feeling” after eating too much pasta, not knowing they were e.g., gluten intolerant. Some people are working out for themselves what diet suits them best, others with health issues such as peanut allergy & coeliacs must be very careful about what they consume. A good caterer will ensure their menu has variety, flavour and suitability to the occasion and we encourage our clients to provide on the menu the most common dietary requirements. These are gluten free, peanut free, dairy free, halal, vegan & vegetarian.
Budgets Must Be Kept in Mind. It’s great to come up with some creative food ideas that will make your event impressive and amazing, but does it fit your budget? When chatting with your caterer its best to talk about your budget upfront. Most modern caterers have a few clients with deep pockets and more with lessor ones so it pays to be honest and as direct as possible when it comes to your finances, otherwise they may attempt to upgrade you to the maximum spend. Other things to consider is when comparing quotes from different caterers is have included GST tax in the price or is that to be added on? Is the quote on offer for a certain period of time only? What are the terms of payment? Most caterers will do their best to create an experience for you that fits your budget whilst honouring your desired outcome. I know, like other decent caterers; I will tell the client where they can save money e.g., they may be over catering or choosing a product that is less costly in a different volume or format. A good caterer will be upfront about your spend & will work with you so there is no financial stress.
Curating Culinary Excellence Here's where my love for locally sourced ingredients comes in. Fresh produce isn't just a fad; it's the heart of a remarkable dish. When I lived in the Otway’s I built a giant green house and grew grey oyster mushrooms in coffee grounds I had collected from local cafes. These delicious mushrooms ended up in stir-fry’s’ at our client’s parties and guests couldn't stop raving about the vibrant flavours of them. Fresh is best and here in Melbourne, Australia we have incredible markets with fresh Asian greens, world class coffee grinders and French patisseries that would hold their own in Paris. Choose a caterer that’s accessing the best ingredients & remember, presentation is like a sneak peek; if it's appealing, you'll leave mouths watering.
Personalizing the Experience Let's chat about customisation. It’s important to think about the theme of the event, and talk this through with the caterer, as they may have some ideas you haven’t thought of e.g., how to present the food, a signature dish that suits best or even a supplier they have used that can provide those balloons in the right colour. We once had clients have us print “you rock” & staff names on our noodle boxes, giving staff the feeling, they are seen and valued. Little personal touches, like a dessert with their company logo, goes a long way.
Innovations in Serving Styles Get ready to think outside the buffet! Interactive food stations are our secret weapon and there are plenty of quality caterers out there with their own unique presentation. Of course, bain-maries and warmers have their place but picture a DIY taco bar where guests create their perfect masterpiece. Food trucks are popular these days and our own wok-powered BBQ’s create great ambience. These new innovative caterers are like a surprise visit from a gourmet restaurant, it isn’t just about food; they spark conversations and connections. The “wow factor” is enhanced when there is some interaction between customer & caterer.
Enhancing Atmosphere Through Decor and Setup Let's talk ambiance. Decor isn't just a backdrop; it's part of the experience. It's not about over-the-top luxury; it's about making your guests feel like they've stepped into a memorable moment. There are plenty of event planners and party suppliers out there who can guide you through all the options (Harry the Hirer is a great one here in Melbourne) out there and sometimes you can encourage staff to get involved in decorating the room or venue. This way they have some investment in the success of the night. Certainly, the caterer can enhance the atmosphere too e.g., over the years our massive paella pans and giant woks have often been place in a central position of the venue, to give that great buzz we all wish to create for a themed event.
Crafted Beverage Experiences Drinks matter too! You can rope in your staff or employ a professional bar service (e.g., I list a few here in Melbourne we work with for corporate events). You can also approach your local pub to provide the beverages and often they will provide glassware for free and a bartender or three for a fee. A professional bar service can create a signature mocktails inspired by the event's theme, sure to be a hit. From wine pairings to refreshing non-alcoholic options, beverages add that extra layer of delight to the catering experience.
Sustainability and Local Sourcing Being eco-conscious isn't just trendy; it's essential. Using local, sustainable ingredients doesn't just create mouth-watering dishes; it supports our community and planet too. These days most professional caterers provide sustainable sourced crockery and cutlery made from sugar can, recycled cardboard and even corn. One of our favourites is palm leaf crockery, sourced from the Areca tree in India, natural, compostable and biodegradable. Trust me, guests appreciate knowing that you have made a genuine effort to be environmentally friendly.
Benefits of Outdoor Catering Here's a thought: why not take the event outdoors? The natural ambiance, fresh air, and versatile setups can take your event to a whole new level. Often staff love an excuse to get out of the office or noise of the factory and a catering event set up outside can feel like a more relaxing affair than being stuck inside. The caterer can sometimes provide a marquee or recommend a marquee hire company they work with. Studies have shown corporate client interactions increase when formalities are not overstated and catering in your local park, or even your work carpark with a marquee can be very effective in keeping the team together whilst still managing the occasion the way you had planned.
Delivered vs. On-Site Catering Let's tackle a big question. Delivered catering? Convenient and ready to roll. On-site catering? Freshly prepared and customized to perfection. It's a balancing act between convenience and culinary wizardry. Choose what suits your event's style and goals. Delivered food is usually more cost-effective and easier to organise than on-site catering, though this option opens some other challenges. We have had clients come to us complaining about other caterers who didn’t deliver on time or delivered cold what was meant to be hot! This problem is solved when your caterer cooks everything there and then at your premises or venue. On-site catering avoids the challenge of keeping delivered food delivered hot, unfortunately health department requirements of 60 degrees Celsius is not always maintained by some delivery services, even though the restaurant sent its food out at the right temperature. Mobile catering specialists solve this problem.
Choosing the Right Dining Experience Standing or seated, formal or informal? It's like choosing the right outfit for the occasion. Casual settings encourage mingling, while seated dinners add a touch of elegance. I've found that mixing things up keeps guests engaged and the conversation flowing. E.g., sometimes we serve our entrees standing before guests are seated, other times we have the guests come up to our “woks” for the mains. If you have chosen to have your corporate event at a venue, choose a space that fits the number of people. A room too big or too small is uncomfortable for your guests. Similarly, if the room is formal whilst the event is a casual affair, the “vibe’ of the event may feel out of sync. Is it appropriate to have a seating menu at the entrance for your guests to be guided by as to where to sit? Or is this overkill and not necessary? Take some time to ensure the “type of event’ fits the chosen space. Is the venue easy for guests to get to? Does everyone know where the toilets are? Is the bar not too close to the catering service? Does the caterer need access to the kitchen? Is there enough parking for guests? Work with the venue to ensure all your questions are answered and keep the caterer informed too.
Ensuring Seamless Service Ah, the unsung heroes – the waitstaff. They're not just serving food; they're creating an experience. Coordination between catering and venue staff is key for a smooth flowing event. I've learned that when everyone's on the same page, the magic happens seamlessly. You can employ waiters directly through the caterer or the venue and if you have decided for guests to enjoy self-service from a bain-marie or wok BBQs like us, your waitering costs can be kept to a minimum. It’s important to discuss this in advance with the caterer as they will be able to guide you as to how many waiters are needed, and for how long. Costs can vary greatly as caterers charge either by the hour or build the staff cost into the “catering package”. The more plates to the table, the greater the service and the higher the cost. As the waiters are often the first people your guests will meet, its best to view the caterer’s website in detail, there you will discover the “attitude & vibe” of the caterer, this will be reflected in their testimonials, and this will be what your guests will experience.
Conclusion: In Melbourne's bustling corporate event scene, catering isn't just about food; it's about crafting an experience. With a menu tailored to your event's objectives, personalized touches that show you care, and creative presentation that dazzles, you're setting the stage for a corporate event that leaves a mark. And remember, fellow event enthusiasts, whether you're savouring food under the open sky or enjoying a seated dinner, it's the thoughtful details that make your event stand out. Here's to creating memories that last far beyond the final bite!
Hi, my name is Antony Hooton I am the founder of Flying Woks.