Where Do I Start When Ordering Corporate Catering?

“At your service”

Between phone calls, meetings, emails, and everything else thrown at you, you were just asked to set up the catering for the next board meeting. What is one to do? Where do you start?

Have no fear: you can do this. (Deep breaths…) By following these simple tips, you could be organising the best office event ever in no time. Here you’ll find a list of the important factors that go into ordering corporate catering. We know there are so many things to consider when organising catering – it’s hard to think of them all. Use the below list and any good caterer should be able to help you – no worries.



We understand that changes on the day of the event are hard. Also, planning too far in advance is also difficult because things may change a couple hundred times. Here are some time saving tips when booking catering for your event. For large events, set up your catering early (5-7 days). This will help make sure caterers are available for your event and can fulfill your order.  For your daily meetings and lunches, catering should be set up 24-48 hours before the event. That way you don’t have to worry about the details changing.

(About) how many people

The amount of food you order can get very tricky – it all depends on the time of day, how many drinks they’ve had, the meals they’ve eaten before they’ve come to your event – this list goes on. The more the caterer knows about the event (including about how many people are attending) the better the options they propose will be when it comes to how much food to order. It’s always a good idea to order just a bit extra – you never know if people are extra hungry that day (maybe it was weights day at the gym?)


You were given a budget, and it’s important you stick to that budget. You may want to set a capped budget for each person attending. For example, if you were planning a lunch you may allocate $12 per person. If you need some help, follow these general guidelines:

  1. Breakfast/Morning Tea/Afternoon Tea: a fruit cup, muffin, or egg slider is about  $5 each, and people usually eat 2-3 items.
  2. Lunch: a typical lunch is about $10 for a sandwich, and about $15 for a larger meal.  Buffets are also a great option, but can be messy to serve, and remember that an open setting allows people to go up for seconds or thirds.
  3. Finger food / networking:  canapés are anywhere $2-$4 per item or more, and the average person helps themselves to 3-5 pieces per hour.  

Type of event

The type of event can dictate what serving option will work best.


  1. BuffetBuffets are good for socialising events, allowing  people to get up and mingle while getting food.  They are not ideal for events with a presentation or speaker, because people will constantly be a distraction when getting up for food.
  2. Lunch BoxesLunch boxes are quick and easy way  to pass out food to large groups. They are also carry friendly if your event is on the move. Plus, it’s fun to get a packed lunch (especially when it tastes good).
  3. PlattersPlatters allow for there to be a  variety of food options.  Place a platter in the middle of the table, where everyone can reach and to choose what they want.
  4. Finger foodsFinger foods are best for workshops and seminars where people can grab food as they work. Also, it is ideal for cocktail events.

Variety of foods

Are you feeling inspired to toss the boring boardroom sandwiches and add a little flair to everyone’s workday? There are so many options to consider, Vietnamese, Mexican, Middle Eastern, to name a few. Speak with your caterer to explore all the options.

Dietary Requirements

It is important to make note of any dietary requirements in the office (gluten free, vegetarian, vegan etc.)  Caterers have options for all these requirements, but it is important to take note of them. Sending out a survey on the RSVP to all your attendees via email or person is the easiest way to make sure all dietary needs are accounted for.

These simple steps will help you set up catering in no time (and that’s one less thing  on your “to do” list).


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