At your workplace, you almost certainly would have partaken in a lunch event and probably even asked to organize one. Of course, there can be different types of workplace events, and it will be up to the event organizer to select an appropriate menu, choice of dishes, beverages and the type of service.
From our experience as caterers for multiple events –private as well as work related, here are a few tips on organizing a memorable event.
Types of Events
Not all workplace events are alike, and it is upto the organizers to take decisions suited to the type of event, the nature of the venue, and the number of guests in attendance. For instance, a dinner served to the attendees of a management conference will be very different from an all out “luncheon” laid out for donors at a charitable event.
Here are the common variables one has to take into account:
The nature of the occasion – Whether a formal event, maybe a sit-down luncheon after an evening town hall or a simple corporate lunch buffet in the midst of a daylong conference.
The type of service – Whether a plated or buffet event? While most corporate lunches are held buffet style, you’ll need to consult with your event organizers before finalizing the decision.
The number in attendance – Whether serving hundreds or a mere dozen, you’ll need to design an appropriate menu, food items, service options and pricing. And you might need to pay attention to the needs of vegetarian, gluten-free, and kosher guests.
The location – In the cases of large gatherings, the catering may occur at a large venue where staff and facilities are readily available. On a lower scale, lunches may be staged in conference rooms, private homes or unusual settings such as a gallery or park grounds.
It’s a concrete rule that the client’s needs always come first, and these common options may not suit your client at all. But in most situations, one of these can be a good choice.
A Deli Buffet
The deli buffet can be quite popular for a simple occasion and consist of mostly lighter snacks. These are easy to select and can satisfy most of the crowd. Common deli buffets include the following:
- A mixed green salad (include different choices of dressing)
- Fruit, potato salad, chips and/or antipasto
- Choice of multiple healthy breads, sandwich meats and fillings.
- Dessert trays with brownies or cookies and ice cream.
Most caterers will offer different options for themed lunches – such as Italian, American, Asian, Ethnic etc. This allows the event planner to select the food items by keeping with the overall theme of the event.
Popular themes can include the following options:
American: Burgers or Sandwiches with Fries
Italian: Pizza, pasta or chicken cooked Tuscan style
Southwest: Tacos and Fajitas
Asian: Rice, Noodles, Curries and Kebabs
It’d be wise to add on a variety of entrée, appetizers, dessert and drink options to these and any other buffet themes.
Best suited for working lunches, the box is an effective and easy way to have the guests focus on the objective of the event itself. While sandwiches are the most common item, you can also go in for rolls, wraps or stuffed tacos. You can also offer different varieties of box lunches for attendees to choose from.
- Turkey, ham, roast beef and vegetarian sandwiches
- A selection of freshly diced fruit
- Brownies and Cookies
- Condiments, add-ons, disposable utensils and napkins
Creating a Unique Menu
Most caterers offer a choice of dishes for an event planner to build their own lunch menu combination, including the choice to be served as buffet or plated meals. This can be appropriate for a formal event or one at which the organizers need to impress their guests.
Tip: If plated, serve a minimum three-course option. Be sure to include the following:
Appetizers and Salads
- Soup (at-least two options)
- Vegetable salad (Lettuce, Spinach, Mixed Greens, Cucumber, Tomatoes etc)
- Fruit salad (Apples, grapes, melons, pineapple, banana etc)
Entrees (popular options)
- Chicken, beef, pork or salmon
- Sides can include vegetables, pasta or rice
Desserts (popular choices)
- Cheesecake or Chocolate Brownies
- Pie and ice cream
Choice of Beverages
Whatever the choice of meal, it’s important to offer guests a selection of beverages to go along with their meal. With their increased availability, flavored and vitamin waters are popular at catering events. Event planners can easily request specific brands or flavors of in addition to the common bottled water. Most venues can supply these products readily from their suppliers, and may charge only as per consumption. While alcohol is rarely served at lunches, it is included in some cases when appropriate.
- Bottled water
- Assorted soft drinks (diet and regular)
- Assorted bottled juices
- Coffee (decaffeinated or regular), Tea
Hope the information above is of use to anyone planning to hold an event at the workplace. Do tell us if our ideas helped and how it worked out for you.