Sustainable Catering

Date Posted: 20/01/2016 10:23:47 AM
Posted By: Tara Connolly

Catering and Sustainability for Large Events

Have you ever been to a huge event and wondered how caterers and organisers are able to manage such an organisational feat? Or how do they do it while being sustainable?

Large events can range from personal celebrations to corporate parties to promotional events. Overall, there are 10 million meetings and events held annually all over the world. The events industry was worth an estimated total of $565 billion in 2015, and some of the largest events had a budget of $200,000 or more.

Big events need to cover factors like the venue, catering, entertainment, theming and audiovisual. Each of these aspects will have a budget allocation and the priorities will be determined by the focus or the aim of the event.

With the holiday season still upon us, countless parties have been booked, corporate events discussed and catering menus planned out to the smallest ingredient.


Big event management

Managing big events requires lots of staff and manpower. For everything to be successful, the groundwork must be laid out during planning stages. Caterers and suppliers must be sourced and briefed about the event well ahead of time.

All events are different and the way they are managed depends largely on the type of event and the purpose. For example, some events may not require entertainment while others rely on live music or a showcase of some kind.

Venues should be taken into consideration as soon as you know how many guests to expect. For our list of venues suitable for large events, check this out - Laissez Faire venues.

Food choices

For large events, a great deal of pressure lies on us, the catering service. But long guest lists shouldn’t scare caterers into sacrificing the quality and taste of the food they plan to serve.

Here are a few tips to make catering for a large party of guests a little easier:

  • Use seasonal produce
  • Serve foods that can be easily replenished and easily accessed by guests
  • Ask your caterer to map everything out in the floorplan. Carefully consider kitchen locations and guest flow
  • When dealing with large events Laissez-faire's strategy is to divide the space into different areas with separate kitchens, bars and staff. This allows us to create small events within a large event and will enhance the guest experience by improving service enormously

Weddings and other lavish parties are all about the right food and the right cocktails. Extra-large corporate events (with thousands of guests) are not usually seated since guests are interested in mingling and networking. This type of event will need a different strategy to cater and would require foods that can be eaten easily anywhere while guests socialise.


Catering and Staffing

Another trick to the success of large venue catering is how organisers staff the party. To ensure smooth sailing, the ratio of service personnel to the number of guests should be observed. As a standard, here’s our guideline ratio for various staff to guests:

  • 1 bartender for every 50-75 guests
  • 1 wait staff for every 10 guests at sit-down lunches and dinners 
  • 1 wait staff for every 30 guests at cocktail events
  • 1 wait staff for every 40 guests at conference events
  • 1 security guard for every 75-100 guests
  • 1 function coordinator for every 200 guests

This of course all depends on the type of event you are holding. Change the ratios to suit your event.


Large but Sustainable

Big events should be aware of sustainable catering. Countries all over the world, including Australia, are trying to build and establish sustainability as a way for life. Big industries like catering should lead by example as a frontrunner in the sustainability practice.

At Laissez, our Foodified policy aims to “take actions to prevent degradations of our natural systems, while supporting the repair and recovery of those systems.” Catering policies such as this can help to change the way large and sustainable events are organised. By making use of composting strategies, minimising use of plastics and use of seasonal and local ingredients in the menu, the catering industry can turn over a new leaf in sustainable practice.