Planning Your Event Menu

In order to execute a great event, lots of things must be taken into consideration, and that includes great food and beverages to ensure the enjoyment of guests. As an event planner, your duties are varied and many as you will be likely working with a catering professional to select the menu for the group that is pitch perfect.


Planning the Menu




Whether you are working with a catering manager or a private caterer, it is always advantageous to take into consideration the many factors that can affect building an event menu. When it comes to menu options, remember that they are 100% flexible and subject to change. It is advisable to confirm the menu and number of guests at least three weeks before the event. I would suggest confirming even sooner if possible to prevent any last minute issues that could arise. Besides, the food should be treated as an essential component just like a foot spa machine for relaxation.


Menus for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


A pre-packaged menu option with a few a la carte options are a nice touch and can be selected by a caterer or executive chef. The approach to meals of the day are unique and you should consider these issues for breakfast, lunch, or dinner:


Breakfast: for breakfast, the most cost effective are packaged menus as they are quite easy to select. Options include hot buffets, continental breakfasts, and even a breakfast station. If you have breakfast as part of the actual official program, ensure that it works with the rest of the things scheduled.


Lunch: from boxed lunches, a la carte sandwiches, lunch buffets or more, there are various options to consider that all depend on the amount of time you have on the schedule


Dinner: from plated dinners to 3 to 5-course meals, dinner options can vary and depend on the guests and the chef’s personal preferences that allow him/her to shine


Snacks, Reception Menus


Planning for the event goes beyond just three square meals, of course. For some conferences, there may be scheduled breaks for pre-packaged snacks that may come with a la carte options.


Break Items: depending on your budget, these breaks can be basic or be extremely interesting


Receptions: from a la carte selections to hors d’oeuvres, caterers can offer a number of selections based on the group’s wishes


Buffet vs. Plated Dinner?




No matter what the meal is, there are still problems that can arise that each come with their own set of guidelines.


Plated: these require a minimum of about 1.5 hours and are normally used for informal executive meetings


Buffet: a buffet meal should have at least an hour of allotted time and are perfect for both breakfast or lunch


Passed Items: typically used at receptions, hors d’oeuvres are always a great option for this type of setting


Special Needs


Many people have dietary issues that must be addressed, making it important for the catering manager to be made aware of those requests that include but are not limited to:


Food allergies


Religious requirements


Dietary restrictions


It is always important to ask what special needs are and let the catering professional know in advance before any menu is made.