When it comes organising this years work's Summer Party, you want to be offering your team something that gets people talking and not your standard office lunch buffet that's associated with meetings that drag on too long. Let's get dreaming about those long sunny afternoons where everyone (even your boss) seems that little bit cheerier!
Our top food ideas for corporate summer events
Interactive. Because people get bored easily.
Increasingly so, people like to actually see their food being cooked and prepared. There has been a huge surge in restaurants opting for open kitchens as restauranters are combining the cooking as part of the dining experience. People like to understand where their meal has come from as well as it adding visual entertainment to the catering experience, This may go someway to explaining why BBQs and hog roasts have always been a winner when it comes to summer catering.
We feel watching the food being cooked fresh is an important part of the experience and theatre. Even when we were designing our food truck, one of our main aims was for the grill to be as visible as possible so we thought carefully about its size, position and the size of the hatch, We love people asking questions about our food and it just makes it a more of fun experience for both sides!
Opting for food such as BBQs, burgers, hot dogs or spit roast chicken, where seeing the cooking is part of the experience, adds another exciting element to the catering, again involving the guests as much as possible.
New Trends. Because if its not new, i'm not interested!
People love talking about new places they've eaten or new recipes they've tried at home. It is always a great way to get these 'foodies' excited about your event by incorporating some new food trends at your summer party. This could be something as simple as having the most jaw-dropping vegan dish that
These don't have to stop at foods, we've recently discovered an amazing berry kombucha drink that is a great gut-friendly alternative to alcohol.
It is also a good idea to consider how the food is going to be displayed. Super colourful and interesting sharing platters are very popular now, and again another good way to engage all your guests' senses.
Casual Dining. Because people love to be free-range.
Often guests like to eat at their own pace at an event. You'll always get the eager ones who prioritise eating over anything else! You'll then get others who would prefer to have as many mojitos as it acceptable, an inappropriate conversation with their manager and a cheeky flirt with their co-worker before realising they should perhaps have something to soak it all up!
Have all bases covered by offering a more informal, casual dining experience and allow guests to come up at their leisure to eat. Scrap any formal seating plans or 'meal times' and leave it up to the guests to decide when, what and where they'd like to eat.
With our festival-style food truck, we tend to offer a 'serving period' of a couple of hours or more, to give guests plenty of time to come up when they fancy it and decide what takes their interest on the day.
Choice. Because variety is the spice of life.
Feeding large groups can be tricky when it comes to catering for all the special dietary requirements out there. It is best to bear these in mind when creating the initial menu as you don't want any guests feeling they are having second rate or 'after-thought' food!
Use this as an opportunity to get creative and give people a good amount of choice with what they can eat, this way, everyone will leave happy.
Try to find a caterer who will offer a choice of menu items for guests on the day, without you having to gather exact orders beforehand.
For special events, we like to offer around 3 or 4 different types of gourmet hot dogs with a mix of toppings. For example, we may offer one that is fully loaded with all the meat, cheese and sauces you can fit on, to satisfy those guests who go mad for protein overload!
We'd also offer a healthier, lighter option, perhaps a vegan dog with crisp fresh salad and a colourful array of toppings, along with something a little more unique for those guests who like to try something different. Our Hawaiian Dog with pineapple salsa and chimichurri sauce is a particular winner at summer events.
Giving people choice allows them to get involved with the menu and end up with something they have individually chosen, hopefully leading to nothing but smiles and happy stomachs all round!
Things to consider when choosing the catering
When planning catering for your office summer party, there are of course some things you should consider before diving head first into that vegan sushi caterer you saw on the 'gram!
How many people are you catering for? This may rule out some catering options all together as the last thing you want is guests spending the whole event in the queue for food.
What is your budget? If you are working to a strict budget, it is often a good idea to discuss this with the caterer so they can put together a package within this budget and prevent any disappointment down the line.
Are there any themes or current office vibes you can incorporate? Perhaps you are merging with an office in Cornwall or you've just won a contract with a company in Japan, it could be fun to incorporate any current office themes into your catering. We love designing hot dogs to fit in with the craziest themes. Our unicorn dog with pastel coloured sauces and savoury sprinkles is probably one of my faves so far!
Is there someone in particular you need to keep happy? We all know office politics infiltrates most parts of working life and though it is often best to steer clear of this, sometimes it is in your interests to not pee off certain people! For example, if the person who fought for this event budget to grow is gluten-free and the only option you have is chips, this may not go down too well!
What space is available? If you are having your event in a huge open field, this may have different implications for the catering than if you are chilling on the top floor of a small office block. Before ploughing into menu options, check with your caterers what their requirements are in terms of access, space and power. You'll be pleased to know we can caterer pretty much wherever your summer do is happening - rooftop, remote field or your boss' driveway, we can make it work!
Most of all, enjoy the process and try to keep everyone happy but at the same time, don't ask for too many opinions! Happy Summer Days to come!