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This article deals with the basic caterers requirements and pre-planning for larger outdoor events - often called 'outside catering'.

Outside or event catering is a specialist area of expertise and you are recommended to choose a professional catering company with a proven track record. We are referring to larger events of 150+ guests for both private functions and corporate hospitality events in marquees. In order to prepare the food and time 150+ servings to arrive on your guests tables at the same time in the middle of a field, or indeed the middle of London, is quite a challenge and good planning together with your chosen event caterer is an essential ingredient for success.

 

So what additional expenditure are you likely to incur that you have not already thought of? Firstly, there is requirement for room for catering preparation and clearing away. You may need to rent a catering tent for the exclusive use of your event caterer. Usually this smaller structure is linked to the main one. For event catering of around 250+ guests you may also need to rent a clearing down structure. For larger guest numbers it is efficient to have a food preparation area and a separate clearing down area for removing courses. This promotes an efficient 'flow' when large numbers of serving staff are required.
Event Catering
Another factor to consider is power requirements. Some caterers use gas and some electric for cooking. If your event caterer is going to be cooking with 3 phase ovens on site then you will require a mobile generator. Again space has to be allocated and you should budget accordingly. Even if your event caterer is using gas a 32 Amp or 63 Amp power supply may be required for the catering tent for the water boilers to make coffee, etc. You should budget for a mobile generator and additional power distribution costs for the catering.
 

Refrigeration might also be a consideration for you and event caterers. This is achieved by using either a refrigerated trailer which is parked on site, or by using walk-in fridges which are delivered 'flat packed' and assembled on site by the caterer. Fridges are available to rent from some larger catering equipment supply companies.

Cutlery, crockery and glasses will usually be supplied by your event caterer and included within the price per head. There are many event catering companies hiring crockery, or you may wish to allocate some of your budget on quality cutlery, crockery and crystal glasses from a separate catering equipment rental company.

Tables and chairs are usually supplied by the marquee company. Some of the larger catering companies offer tables and chairs but expect to pay extra. There are also many specialist event furniture hire companies offering a much wider choice of styles of chairs.
Jungle marquee theme event

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Table linen is again usually supplied by your chosen event caterer and either included in the price per head or as a separate charge. There are also specialist table linen hire companies.

For a corporate hospitality event or upmarket private functions you could consider a theme event. Your event catering company would be pleased to work with event organisers or they may provide props for theme parties themselves. A themed event can be very memorable and it gives you the option to theme everything including the catering. All tents can be themed although it has to be said that clear span structures are easier than traditional ones for both obtaining lining choices and hanging the linings or other material theme props.


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OUTSIDE CATERERS GUIDE