Catering a lunch that is paired with a business meeting seems like it should be pretty simple, right? But it’s not. You never know who you’re dealing with, especially if the meeting involves outside business partners, investors, or clients you aren’t familiar with. It’s not exactly feasible to poll everyone in advance, so your next best bet is to find a way to make food choices that ensure everyone is bound to find something to eat on the buffet table.
Do the Catering Yourself
If you have a little bit of know-how and don’t mind doing some extra prep work, you could easily cater the business luncheon yourself. You’ll need to ask attendees to verify their attendance so that you have an accurate headcount, adding a couple of extra to the total to be safe. Create a list of the items you’ll need to purchase and head out to the store the day before so that everything is fresh.
In this case, cold dishes – like salads – can be paired with sandwiches. You don’t have to make the sandwiches, either. Simply buy some cheeses and cold cuts and create your own deli tray. Pair this with a fruit/cheese/cracker tray and perhaps some veggies and dip and you have a well-rounded meal. Make sure you have plenty of veggies and/or tuna for those who don’t eat meat.
Bring in Choices
Let’s say you don’t want to do the cooking but you don’t want to limit yourself to just one restaurant. Try using a service like foodydirect.com to cater from several different restaurants or sources. This opens up your choices to a wide variety of restaurants and cuisine types, and may even help you to find something closer to what your guests enjoy in their own home towns or states.
Go to Your Old Standby
There has to be a local restaurant that caters for business functions in your area. Simply ask them to prepare a variety of dishes – sandwiches, a veggie/pasta salad, or maybe even hot roast beef. While you might be stressing over someone else’s special dietary needs, most who have them will come prepared.
And that’s another thing. You can always ask your guests if they have any special needs. They’ll either tell you not to worry about it or they will be honored you asked and made special arrangements. That’s really not a bad way to get a strong business relationship going!