5 Tips for Planning a Catered Business Event by Eric Youel

A business event planning checklist to help you create an unforgettable event menu to capture your audience

Planning a catered business event can sometimes seem like a daunting task.  It is often hard to know what the guests will enjoy and there are always those who have special dietary needs.  You can make life easy for you and the client with the proper planning techniques. Here are 5 tips for planning a catered business event that will make a winning impression on your guests:

1. Identify the type of guests.

There are many different types of meetings and events that range from business people to women’s groups to construction crews.  It is important to identify the age range and types of guests that will attend.

  • A women’s group meeting for lunch might enjoy a tea party style with mini tea sandwiches and scones with petite pastries.
  • A business conference normally has a wide range of guests in many age categories, so picking something that hits a wide demographic works best.
  • If guests will be from other areas, showcase local flavors that represent the area in which the event will be held.

Key factors for identifying your guests include:

  • professional level
  • where the guests are from
  • age and ethnicity groups of guests

 2. Identify the style of event the client wants to create

Catered events range from the simple box lunch for a quick lunch break to cocktail style evening events with heavy hors d’oeuvres. Here are a few ideas and considerations for common types of catered events:

  • Quick lunch break: Easy boxed meals, either hot or cold, work best to maximize the guests’ time to enjoy their food in a short period of time.
  • Buffet meal: This style works well if you have at least 1 hour for meal service and can offer guests a nice variety of choices.
  • Plated meal: This is a great option for clients who want the guests to feel special. Each guest picks what they want to eat and has wait staff taking care of their needs.
  • Cocktail event: Perfect for celebrating a new big account, holiday parties or client appreciation events.  This style brings a variety of flavors with a fun and exciting atmosphere.

3. Menu considerations.

Once you have identified what type of guests and style the event falls into you can present menu options that fit.  The chosen catering company can put together multiple options that fit your guidelines. You can present these options to the client and they can pick what best fits there vision and budget.

Factors to consider when developing a menu:

  • Pick a menu that fits your budget
  • Choose food that is available in the season the event will be held in
  • Consider dietary needs, ether religious requirements or dietary restrictions
  • Ask the caterer for special needs options

4. Floor plan.

Develop a floor plan that works in the space you are using. These ideas can make any space work well to make your event a success:

  • Tight space: you might consider a plated meal service so you can maximize the space without having extra tables for a buffet.
  • Large conference room: develop a floor plan that spreads things out to avoid everyone staying in one area.
  • Office party: use the conference room for the buffet or do hors d’oeuvre stations that keep guests moving and mingling.

5. Enjoy the successful event and the praise from your client!


chef du jour catering, portland catering, business event cateringChef Eric Youel, owner of Chef du Jour Catering, has been in the food business for nearly two decades. A graduate of the Los Angeles Catering Institute, he brings over 16 years of culinary industry experience to the kitchen, working as a full-service event caterer for intimate social gatherings, large corporate events, and weddings. His talent and gift for the culinary arts is very apparent in the success of Chef du Jour. His work is exceptional. Chef du Jour truly is creative, custom catering at its finest.

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