One of the things we find that clients feel is the most stressful part of planning any event is picking out their catering menu, so we have put together a step by step “how to” guide with some of our best tips and tricks! Always feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email if you’re struggling picking out your menu. This is our specialty! We work with clients every day and have tried most of the menu items, so we can guide you along the process.
Step One – Menu Style
The first thing you need to determine is menu style, this is particularly important for evening events.
- Plated – This is going to be your most formal option and guests will be limited to socializing primarily with the other guests at their table. We feel this is best for awards banquets where there is a long program that we can incorporate dinner service into or a formal event.
- Buffet – A buffet is great in-between. It allows your guests to help themselves as they arrive to the event, but also provides the full plate. Buffets are great for groups that are going to flow in and out, like our daytime picnics.
- Heavy Hors d’oeuvres/Reception Style – This is by far the most popular option that we see here at Riverbanks. It allows you to create a diverse menu and allows your guest to socialize and help themselves throughout the event.
Step Two – Menu Selections
When picking a menu for a large group, we always suggest working towards variety that way you’ve accommodated lots of different tastes.
- Plated – If you’re going with a plated menu and you want to give your guests a choice of entrée, then you’ll need to plan on requesting that information from them ahead of time as well as doing assigned table numbers. Looking to do plated, but don’t want to mess with counts and table assignments? Ask us about a duo-plate option.
- Buffet – Most of our buffets are already set up to give you a good selection of items or to guide you through building a well balance menu.
- Heavy Hors d’oeuvres – We suggest starting with 3 hors d’oeuvres and then 1 of each station type (display, carving and action). Breaking it down into a few smaller choices can help make it feel not quite as overwhelming, but will also help give you that assortment you’re looking for.
Step Three – Dietary Restrictions
Have some guests with dietary restrictions? That’s no problem at all! Just about every event these days does, so we’re ready to accommodate those folks. We suggest that if it’s only a couple of people, don’t worry about making your whole menu fit them. Pick what you want, let us know of those dietary restrictions and Chef will make something special just for them. However, if quite a few of your group have a similar preference. Just let us know and Chef can easily make some slight adjustments to the whole menu to fit that specification.
Step Four – Additions
Looking to add just a little something more? Give us a call we’re happy to help you come up with some ideas specific to your event. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Butler Passed Hors d’oeuvres – This is a great way to welcome your guests and let them go ahead and get a bite while they make their way through the room saying hi to all of the other guests.
- Novelty Stations – You’re at the zoo, so why not treat your guests to some of our concession favorites like Popcorn and Cotton Candy or a Pretzel Station.
- Dessert – A lot of time dessert can be forgotten about, so don’t let those with a sweet tooth go without at your event. Dessert can also be a great way to add fun items to your menu; from cobbler to assorted dessert bars to s’mores we have something perfect for your group.
Getting hungry thinking about all this food? Happens to us all the time! Head on over to our website to check out our menus then give us a call at 803.602.0900.