Article contributed by Robert Egert, Exquisite Catering
This coming holiday season, many people are excited to once again gather together and celebrate Thanksgiving with their friends and family, especially after missing out on a “normal” celebration last year.
However, hosting a holiday dinner can be quite overwhelming for many. That is where our job begins. People want to turn to turn to the professionals in the food and restaurant industry to plan and execute a delicious Thanksgiving meal. As people eagerly anticipate this year’s Thanksgiving celebrations, it is up to us to take all the stress and work out of hosting and allow our clientele to focus on the festivities. Working with your clients, preparing the perfect menu, and ensuring safety for all as we continue to navigate through COVID are key to successfully catering a great Thanksgiving feast.
The first step to take when planning a Thanksgiving meal with a client is to have an open discussion about what their requests and priorities are. Not only is it important to collaborate on all of the options for the menu and setting of the event, but it is equally important to go through safety precautions that will be taken. Understanding what each client expects when it comes to COVID safety is pivotal when creating a positive relationship as you plan their holiday celebration. You want to make sure that there is a sense of trust and comfort as you do so.
Always try to be as accommodating as possible to ensure your clients’ satisfaction. Prioritize their needs and assist them in any way that you can as you plan and implement Thanksgiving meals for clients and their loved ones. Provide on every aspect on the menu, from the amount of food needed to the specific menu items to include, and everything in between.
Many people may opt to host smaller, more intimate gatherings, while others are planning on hosting their usual holiday crowd. Knowing the size of the guest list is essential when preparing for an event. Once this is determined, you can begin creating the ideal menu. While turkey may be the traditional dinner option, some may look to you for alternate choices, such as chicken, fish, or even a vegetarian or vegan alternative. You should also have various suggestions for appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and drinks. Have a prepared list or menu featuring holiday staples, but also consider offering more unique selections as well. Don’t forget to keep in mind potential dietary restrictions and choices that may apply.
Along with discussing menu items, you may want to also recommend portion sizes for your client to help make sure that there is enough food for everyone at the table. This will help reduce stress for the host or hostess. It is not uncommon for people to hesitate on how many pounds of turkey they will need, or the quantity of each side or dessert. No matter what size event you are planning for, it is important to keep your clients happy and make them feel as though their event is a top priority.
Serving ones’ guests may look different for each event you cater this season, depending on what each client prefers and is most comfortable with, especially when considering COVID precautions. Have several serving styles and options available.
For those who would like a more casual Thanksgiving event, suggest a buffet-style dinner. An alternate, more formal option would be a plated dinner, which removes the need for stations and platters to be set up and presented throughout the meal. No matter which style service your clients choose, it is important to reassure the safety and comfort of them, as well as their guests.
As we begin to cater holiday dinners and events once again, keep in mind that many still have concerns or questions regarding COVID. Clients may ask how you are staying in compliance with government health guidelines, so make sure to stay updated on the latest advisories. You want to make sure that you are transparent and vigilant in your COVID protocols. Ensure that all staff wear proper equipment such as masks and gloves to keep food sanitary and clean as you prepare and serve your guests.
Another possibility to ensure further comfort and safety is to suggest hosting an outdoor event. This has become a popular trend over the past year, so keep this as a viable option as you head into the upcoming holiday season. Offering accommodations such as individually packaged meals and pre-wrapped silverware may be another option to keep in mind. Be adaptable and think of new, creative ways to serve your clients. In the age of COVID, we have seen a lot of unique and original trends when it comes to event planning and catering. Now is the time to think outside the box and wow your clients with your fresh take on Thanksgiving entertaining.
To learn more about Exquisite Catering, visit their website.