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Christmas party catering: money-saving tips

Oct 31, 2013 | Blog

The festive season is almost upon us and many people will be looking forward to the feast awaiting them at their office Christmas party. Christmas parties and events can carry a heavier price tag than usual but expectations remain high when it comes to the food and drinks, so here are some suggestions for providing your guests with quality food but at reasonable prices.

Organising your company’s Christmas do on a strict budget can be daunting but there are deals to be had, especially if you are willing to consider the non-traditional options for food. International cuisine can provide the perfect answer for your staff do, as at this time of year it usually carries a lower cost per head than venues serving traditional Christmas dinner.

However, if the traditional Christmas dinner is a must for your staff, a cheaper option would be to have a lunchtime do. This can save a considerable amount per head and to get your staff in the festive mood you could combine it with an early finish, or an afternoon bar crawl.

We recently featured results from Warwick Conference’s Value of Satisfaction survey. A worrying 79% per cent of delegates and event attendees have been disappointed by a venue’s catering in the last 12 months. One of the main reasons cited for the disappointment was limited choice, with 49% citing this as a problem and one in five delegates having found catering inappropriate for their dietary requirements.

To avoid disappointment during your Christmas party ensure you know whether any of your guests have special dietary requirements. A venue or catering company should be able to provide alternatives to meet most dietary needs.  Also, providing the venue with exact guest numbers will ensure you won’t end up paying for more than you need.

The lack of choice may be due to the extra cost applied for offering a second option, but there are ways around this. You could consider having one option for starter, two for main meal and a shared dessert platter. This way guests get variety but you aren't paying extra per course for an alternate serve.

Or for a more informal atmosphere for your event, having drinks and canapés or bowl food provides a great cost saving option and can create a much livelier and fun, party atmosphere than a sit down meal. Cocktail menus or buffet menus provide a huge variety of choice and cost less as they cut down on the number of staff required.

When you contact the venues ask whether there are menu items that are easier for the kitchen to create or whether there are options with ingredients that are seasonal and locally sourced, as these should be cheaper.

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for venues so the best advice we can give is to start your search early and to shop around. Our venue search couldn’t be easier; you can search by location, venue type and capacity and choose whether to contact multiple venues in one go, or select your perfect venue and contact them individually. So good luck with your search and have a fabulous Christmas party!

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