Event Food Catering & DIY- Feeding the Masses

Nonprofit Event Catering

You’re event is really coming together—you’ve got a great venue, top-notch entertainment and lots of people eager to attend.

How are you going to feed them all— professional event food catering or DIY?

The good news is, people love to eat. Whether it’s breakfast, dinner or afternoon high tea, delicious food is a powerful draw.
Here are some strategies to consider in planning for the food at your next event:

Venue-Provided Food and Beverage

Often your options for food depend on your choice of venue. Some venues insist that you use their in-house event food catering service. Others may require you to choose from a select vendor list for your event food catering services. And then there are those venues that give you complete freedom over your food choices. In that case, read on for more strategies.

Professional Event Food Catering

If your venue allows it, catering the meal can give you a wide range of menu choices, allowing you to match the food to the theme of your event. Keep in mind though, catering can be costly. So pay attention to your budget: the more you spend on food, the more you’ll need to charge for tickets.

Choose your caterer carefully—more expensive doesn’t always mean better quality. Do a taste test. Look at portion sizes and presentation. Make sure they’ll have enough wait staff to serve your guests promptly.

If cost is an issue, consider alternatives to a formal sit-down meal, such as: hors d’oeuvres, a salad luncheon, a tea party, or a cake and punch reception.

Event Food Catering

Sponsored Services and In-Kind Donations

You can think of the food like a sponsorship: Can you find someone to provide quality food for free or reduced cost? Local restaurants are great candidates for catering your event. They get exposure and publicity and you get excellent (free!) food.

As an alternative, why not have your guests provide the food? You could hold a Chili Cook-off or Barbecue Competition. You’ll need to develop a clear set of guidelines for the competition, find local celebrities to judge the event, and come up with great awards.

Another possibility is a Food Truck Fundraiser. Find the best gourmet food trucks in your area (think crepes and tri tip) and gather them together for your event. You’ll need a great outdoor space, tables and seating, and a good plan for garbage disposal.

Do It Yourself

For those operating on a tight budget, there’s always the tried-and-true approach of making the meal yourself. Make sure to have lots of committed volunteers—it’s a lot of work to provide a quality experience for your donors.

In terms of food, there’s always the traditional Spaghetti Feed. Or you could mix it up with a Crab Feed, Clam Bake, Southern Fish Fry, Taco Bar, Soup and Pie Supper, or an Ice Cream Social. You’ll need to put together a solid plan and line up several dedicated teams to deliver the ingredients, cook the food, serve the meal and clean up afterwards.

Final Thoughts

With all this food, there’s bound to be leftovers. Consider spreading the good will and donating the extra food to those who need it.

Whether you choose a high-class sit-down dinner or a relaxed barbecue, serving great food will make your event memorable and keep people coming back for more.

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3 Responses to “Event Food Catering & DIY- Feeding the Masses”

  1. We did a Food Truck event a few years back, but we actually had the food trucks set up in our venue. Many of them will cater an event. It was fabulous! Lots of variety and great publicity for the vendors.

  2. Todd Smith

    Our high school baseball team puts on an annual crab feed with auction where the players host and serve the dinner. The community loves the interaction with the team-especially the family members!

  3. Joshua Allen

    I love the idea of in-kind sponsorships. I’ve been to several events where the organization invited 10 restaurants to do a “Taste of the City” and each brought small bites. Together the bites fed the entire crowd and was great exposure to the restaurants!


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