Corporate Catering for your Office Party

If you’re considering having an Office Christmas staff party then we all know that one of the largest costs of the event will be the catering. There are four initial considerations when deciding what level of service and what format you would like for your company’s annual Christmas event.

  1. Number of guests to attend the Christmas Party
  2. The chosen venue
  3. Budget for Catering
  4. Previous Christmas Party formats and the levels of expectation of your staff

Once you have finalized what your guests require from their Christmas party and have established that the chosen Christmas party venue is large enough for a sit down meal of either format, there are two types of buffet options and several options for a three course served sit down Christmas meal.

  • A Formal seated Buffet is a good medium option, it allows a full set up for the tables which adds to the look of the party venue, allows for networking at table level, as well as allowing your staff to choose the type and portion of festive food on their plate. Staff costs for this format will often be equal to the three course sit down meal, with waiting staff laying up the tables, serving at the buffet and clearing crockery, the same numbers of events staff are often necessary. Christmas meal service can also be slow in this format, calling up staff members to a serving station to choose their food can be very time consuming, if you’re the last table called all of your wine is most likely to have been consumed. Always ensure that the venue has adequate numbers of serving stations to avoid unnecessary queues.
  • An informal seated buffet is probably the most cost effective Christmas party idea but comes with negative points as well as positives. The informal seated buffet is very popular with companies who really like to party at Christmas. The lack of lay up on the table can often make the venue theme look a little sparse and collecting your plate and cutlery from the end of the serving station can be more school dinner than Christmas dinner dance. On the plus side, informal Xmas buffets often provide much more choice; catering for all tastes, allowing large portions and often provide a second service for the really hungry. If you are a company of varied tastes this option could be ideal for you Christmas party.
  • A three course served seated meal is the most common Christmas menu serving option and has a perceived value with your staff members. It is the end of the year, it’s the Christmas party, and this is your thank you to them. This format will ensure that all of your staff are served similar portions, that quality is the same across the board and that networking with workmates is an integral part of the evening. The downside of this service is that, given waiting staff numbers, it can be costly, therefore taking away from other elements of the Christmas Party entertainment. Three Course seated service can also lead to some elements of staff feeling uncomfortable in their environment, if you have a range of skills throughout the company e.g. a large shop floor and large amounts of office staff, their requirements from the Christmas event could differ.

There are variations on the service options for your Christmas event. You could have silver service waiting staff, two courses served and a dessert buffet or chocolate fountain, out of hand food served off trays around the venue, a finger buffet or buffet with occasional seating that runs throughout the night.

Whatever your decision with regard to the Christmas party food service the most important elements are the first four points, if you know your staff and venue and the caterers are experienced then the rest should naturally fall into place.

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