A catering service can certainly save you many headaches when planning an event menu, but some planners worry about how it will affect their event budget. Fortunately, there are many ways to work with a caterer while being budget friendly. Here are some tips for saving money on a catering service.
Lighten the Appetizers
While you may think that appetizers are critical to your menu, the truth is that the entree is your main event. Guests are waiting for the actual meal, and they simply want something to much on during the cocktail hour. You can save a lot of money by going with something simple for the appetizers, such as crackers and dips.
Many event planners think that having expensive menu items, such as lobster or caviar, can make their event appear more elegant. When you're on a budget, it may not be possible to include these as a main dish. You might want to choose one delicacy item and include it as part of an appetizer or side dish rather than the main event.
Use Bread Wisely
Although the old bread and butter trick may feel cheap to you, it can actually be pulled off tastefully if you include unusual and high quality toppings for the bread.
For a budget event, you may want to go light on the plated dish. This can be a waste if not everyone finishes their entree and side. For those guests who are extra hungry, you can set up catering stations with inexpensive but filling sides. For instance, a baked potato station could be a great option for providing more starches and interesting toppings.
Alcohol can cut into your catering budget quickly. If having a cash bar is out of the question, you might consider having a limited selection of alcoholic beverages, such as a few beer selections and a red and white wine. Another option is to go with drink tickets that allow guests to have one or two free drinks and then pay for the rest out of pocket. Finally, some caterers allow you to bring your own alcohol.
Often, the key to saving money on catering is to compromise with your caterer on the final menu. Your caterer can help you work within your budget and suggest alternative items that would fit your needs, or solutions for menu areas that have gone over budget.
For more information about possible catering services, contact a local food provider such as Chef Mom Grill & Bakery.