The prospect of catering can be daunting, especially when large guest numbers are involved. There are so many dietary requirements to cater for, along with the stress that comes with preparing such high volumes of food. However, with a bit of forward planning, catering for an event yourself can be a lot of fun… yes, really!

Pay attention to our tips for catering success to ensure you next event runs smoothly and stress free.

1. Confirm your guest numbers

As with any large-scale project, planning ahead is a must. Before you decide on the menu, nail down guest numbers as firmly as you can. This means setting an RSVP date at least a couple of weeks in advance. You should also ask guests to indicate any dietary requirements when they RSVP, so you can make sure everyone has something to eat, regardless of their food intolerances and dietary choices.

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2. Consider the event style

If you are hosting a formal dinner party, then sausage rolls and party pies might not be the best option! Will your guests be seated or standing? If they’re going to be standing around or if there is limited seating, it’s best to serve canapés and foods that don’t require cutlery. Do some research and think about how different menu items will complement each other.

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3. Stick to crowd pleasers

When feeding the masses, it’s best to stick to foods that are commonly popular. While you might love sashimi, it may not be on top of everyone’s list. You want your guests leaving satisfied, not hungry!

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4. Work out quantities

Once you have your guest list confirmed and have chosen your recipes, it’s time to calculate the quantities of ingredients you will need. Here’s where your math skills are tested; for example, if a recipe serves four, you first need to determine what measurements will be when cut down by three quarters to serve one. Once you have this, you simply multiply these measurements for servings of one by the number of guests. If the idea of that hurts your head, there are also some handy online calculators to use!

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5. Prepare the ingredients

It’s important to get as much done beforehand as possible. That way, when the day of the event comes around you aren’t running around and stressing. Make sure you have enough fridge storage to keep all the prepared ingredients or dishes.

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6. Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help. This can be as simple as asking for help with handing out trays of food, right down to having an assistant chef. This comes down to whatever you feel comfortable with.

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