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Company events, Food

Our Christmas Party Catering Guide - 7 Top Tips!

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Written by

Melanie Griffiths

Content Lead

As our Content Lead with 10 years experience in content creation, chances are Melanie's had something to do with most things you read on the platform.

A long-standing team member, she's been with Togather since the company's early days and can be found eating her way through London's food markets at the weekend.

Published on Thu 31 August 2023

Christmas party catering: Togather's top 7 tips to getting it right!

Many Christmas parties end up with ugly and embarrassing catering episodes; we’ve seen parties where guests didn’t enjoy the food, where there wasn’t enough food, where there was food but not enough plates to serve the food, etc. After putting so much into planning a corporate Christmas party, you don’t want your guests feeling deflated because the catering is a letdown. Implementing the following 7 tips will help you get it right when planning your corporate Christmas party catering:

  • Decide on a cuisine for your Christmas party catering

  • Work out special dietary requirements 

  • Work out a budget and spend per head before booking

  • Consider adding a mobile bar for drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)

  • Consider adding a venue to wow your guests

  • Consider staffing and tableware hire to enhance the catering experience

Decide on a cuisine for your Christmas party catering

One of the best party food ideas is moving away from the regular and serving something creative. You won’t be making any statement with your catering if guests receive the food they have every other day. Why not consider a showstopping street food truck?

Work out dietary requirements of your guests

  • One way to miss the mark when planning your Christmas party catering is by failing to consider the special dietary requirements of your guests.

  • Know that people avoid certain foods for different reasons - a medical condition (allergy, intolerance, etc.), religious or cultural beliefs, vegetarianism, etc. For example, if your guest list features many vegans, you wouldn’t want to make succulent marinated lamb ribs the centrepiece of your Christmas party.

  • You should be sensitive to the special dietary requirements of your guests when confirming your menu with your supplier

Work out a budget and spend per head

  • A critical task when planning Christmas catering is knowing the right amount of food to serve. While you don’t want to waste resources by serving too much food, you also don’t want to spoil the experience for guests by having too little food. The solution to this problem is working out a per-head budget. This includes working out your catering cost as well as your chosen extras such as the cost of a mobile bar. 

  • How much you want to spend. This method works best if you have a particular amount in mind to spend on food. Say you budget £500 for catering and will have 50 guests, it means you plan £10 per head. You can then work with a caterer to see how far the £10 per-head catering budget can go.

  • What you want to serve. This method works best if you do not have a particular amount in mind. You start by picking your menu without regard to the cost. Then you get the per-head cost of the menu, negotiate with the caterer, and arrive at your catering budget.

However, whatever method you choose, some factors that will determine the cost of your per-head budget include:

  • Your guests. The kind of guests you’ll have at your party should guide you when considering your budget. For example, if your guests are more upscale, they may expect hors d’ oeuvre before a meal. The kind of guests you’ll have will determine the per-head cost, while the number of guests will determine the total catering budget.  

  • Menu. Some food options are more expensive than others. So, the food you want to serve directly affects how much you’ll spend per head. However, when you have a menu and a per-head budget in mind, your caterer can help you work out possibilities so you serve your planned menu and still stick to your budget. 

  • Non-food costs. Catering budgets include non-food costs, such as paper products (serviettes, etc.), serving utensils, etc. For example, the per-head price of the same menu may differ when the serving dishes are china plates and plastic plates. Verify that the quotes your caterer gives cover all non-food elements needed to offer a better catering experience.

Consider adding a mobile bar for drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)

  • Serving some drinks at your corporate Christmas party is a must. From steaming hot chocolate and nutritious juices to sparkling wine and babbling champagne, drinks complement your party food.

  • One of the best ways to make a statement with your party drinks is using a mobile bar. With a mobile bar, it isn’t just about serving drinks, but serving drinks in a stunning set-up that adds glam to a party’s atmosphere. 

  • The best mobile bars for corporate events offer a wide variety of drinks. Togather has mobile bar suppliers that can give you unforgettable Christmas bar experiences with tailor-made beverages, like a special cocktail named after your company or a particular company project.

Add a venue to accommodate your catering needs

  • One of the best ways to make your guests remember your Christmas party long into the future is to book an exclusive Christmas party venue. An exclusive party venue will bring lots of excitement to your party, setting the tone for enjoying party food and drinks.

  • We have some stunning event venues in London on our platform including film studios, galleries, halls, clubs, farms, and more. We always recommend a dry hire venue as this lets you put your stamp on the event! 

Consider staffing and tableware hire to enhance the catering experience

  • Beautiful tableware can add glam to your party, while having event staff serve and tend to the guests’ needs can make them feel special, adding to their overall experience.

  • Generally, event staff help your party run like clockwork while you rest. Your corporate Christmas party staffing needs may include servers, bartenders, security, cleaners, etc.

  • Having event staff takes much of the work off you, allowing you to relax and watch your event run smoothly. The staff will help with setting up, serving, shutting down, cleaning after the event, etc. 

  • Worried about finding reliable event staff? Togather partners with the most professional agencies in the country to help you find dynamic and hard-working event staff that’ll enhance the experience for your Christmas party guests.

We take Christmas party planning pretty seriously here at Togather (if you couldn't tell!) Take a look at our suite of Christmas services to take your event to the next level.