5 Menu Planning Tips For Your Next Event

5 Menu Planning Tips For Your Next Event

It’s time to get planning, book the venue and get RSVPs. Don’t leave everything until the last minute; that includes the catering!

Planning an event can be extremely stressful and time-consuming. Before you do anything, read this guide to finding the right venue – one that can work with your menu plan. Follow our menu planning tips to take the stress out of this crucial aspect of event planning!

Finding the right venue

The venue has the power to make or break your event. This is why it is so important to do your research and ensure they can accommodate all your requirements and the atmosphere is what you desire. There is no point booking a table at a rowdy club when you really want an intimate sit down dinner to celebrate your wedding or grandmas’ 70th birthday. Likewise, you wouldn’t reserve a ballroom with canapes and finger food if you want to party hard for an 18th.

There are a few things you should enquire about once you think you have found the right establishment. They include:

  • Capacity: do they cater to the number of people you have invited? And do they have a minimum number of guests required before you can book the room? Once you know this, you then work out if there will be enough space to have a great time.
  • Function room: first and foremost, you should find out what is included in the hire fee. Does the function room come with a bar, dance floor and media equipment? And is it reasonably priced?
  • Location: is the venue conveniently located for guests? Is it close to public transport or does it offer parking? You want to make it as easy as possible for your guests so they can have a good time as well. Also, consider what is located around the establishment; is it ideal for those who might want to keep the celebrations going after your event comes to a close?
  • Entertainment: does the establishment have in house entertainment or do you need to hire a band, DJ or musician? More often than not you will need to book and source these yourself, however, the venue should be able to offer recommendations based on who has played there in the past.

Meal planning tips – the food is important

Once you have a venue in mind, food is the next most important factor in creating a night to remember. Food brings families and friends closer together. It creates an environment that encourages fun, laughter and closeness.

It is important to take the time to discuss and plan your menu ahead of time. Don’t just assume that any old catering arrangement will do!

Here are a few menu planning tips that will help you for your next event.

  • Cuisine: Decide whether you want a specific cuisine served. If you prefer Spanish, then an Italian restaurant is not going to offer the techniques and flavours you want to enjoy. If hors d’oeuvres and cocktails are the preferred catering for your event, ensure they have a wide range of flavours and textures on their menu.
  • Seasonal produce: Base your menu on what produce is in season. Not only will it help to keep costs lower, it will also taste better. Keep an eye out at your local farmer’s markets for current seasonal foods, as this is what chefs will be purchasing for their restaurants.
  • Set menus: Depending on the number of guests you have attending, the venue will have menu packages already prepared. If there are flavours on these that don’t excite you, most venues will be more than happy to alter their standard dishes to suit your preferences.
  • Service: Ensure there is the style of serving you desire – a la carte, table d’hote, alternate drop, buffet or finger foods. While each of these are great options, your event might be best suited to one particular style.
  • Kids: If kids are attending the event, it is important that you organise children’s meals for them. As kids meals are typically cheaper, you will save money doing it this way, whilst avoiding any fuss from children who don’t enjoy fancier food choices.
  • Number of courses: When offering sit down meals for guests, there is typically a minimum of two courses. However, it is entirely up to you whether you offer two or three. It is important to keep in mind that meals should cater to different tastes; some people prefer fish or chicken, while others will choose steak or lamb every time. And what about dessert? Cakes, mousse, or something even finer like crème caramels or pannacotta? You can also opt for savoury selections like a cheese board instead of sweet desserts.
  • Dietary requirements: It is crucial to ask your guests when you send out invites whether they have any dietary requirements or cultural needs to consider. Allergies can be life threatening, so your chef must be aware of any issues. No one should have to miss out because there was not an option available that they could safely eat. Be sure to check that there is something to suit everyone.
  • Cost: Does the cost per head seem reasonable for what is included? Compare prices from venues with similar ratings and reputations.
  • Drinks: Spirits or cocktails can be enjoyable, but will add considerable cost to your event pricing. During dinner, try to offer drinks that complement the menu – like red wines, white wines and beers. There should also be a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages on offer.

Planning an event should not leave you stressed. It is, after all, supposed to be a chance to let your hair down and have some fun. Regardless whether your event is for work, a wedding, retirement or birthday, these venue and menu planning tips will help you to achieve the event you’re dreaming about.

Need more menu planning tips or venue help? Give the friendly team at Moda Restaurant a call today on (07) 3221 7655 to discuss your next event!




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