The ezCater Guide to Planning Great Work Holiday Parties
- 3 Min Read
The holidays are a magical time of year — but for people who truly like to get festive, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year are extra amazing. As soon as the cooler months roll in, so do the reasons to celebrate. In addition to holiday decorating, Friendsgiving events, and hosting family and friends, there are also company-wide holiday parties and office festivities to look forward to. But if you happen to be the person tasked with ordering all the food, you might feel a bit overwhelmed.
It’s understandable, of course, because ordering work holiday party catering can be a daunting task. But don’t panic yet. In this guide, we dive into how to plan a successful holiday feast — with tips for managing your budget, navigating dietary restrictions, and selecting food the whole office will love.
Catering Work Holiday Parties for a Crowd
Before you get too far in your planning process, find out how many people you’ll be feeding at the party. Of course, you’ll want to ensure you have enough food to satisfy everyone — but not too much that you’re left with a work full fridge of leftovers. Get an official head count, and then leave some wiggle room for any last-minute attendees. You’ll be glad you did.
Keep in mind, with ezCater you can have peace of mind knowing you ordered enough food for everyone. Just select a headcount at the beginning of your order, and the ezCater platform will compare the selected serving sizes to your headcount and alert you of any discrepancies.
To help you get the order just right, here are two considerations to keep in mind when ordering work holiday party catering:
The length of the party
With every hour that passes, there’s more of a chance people will go back for seconds, or even thirds. And the last thing you want to do is run out of food. That’s why portion-size estimates are so important. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend ordering one pound of an entree dish for every three to four people, and then add 4 oz. servings of side dishes or appetizers per person to complete the spread.
The type of cuisine
Hearty cuisines like barbecue or Italian will fill employees up more quickly than lighter fare dishes and finger foods. Knowing this, you can adjust not only the volume of food you order, but also the number of side dishes you include. And who doesn’t love a good side dish or two?
Don’t forget the extras
Whether your employees dish up at a self-serve buffet or sit down for a more formal spread, the last thing you want to do is scramble to find plates, bowls, and cutlery. Don’t make employees go fork-free on the day of your party — triple check that your caterer will provide all the serving and dining accessories you need ahead of time. This includes cups, too, especially if you’re ordering beverages by the gallon instead of individual cans or bottles.
Keep your budget on point
There are simple tips and tricks you can use to stay on budget, like sticking to one entree. Sure, it’s always nice to provide variety, but if you offer more than one entree, most people will want to try a little of everything, meaning you’ll need to order significantly more food. You can also consider more cost-efficient foods, from vegetarian and rice-based dishes to taco bars and pasta stations.
Keep in mind, your budget should also account for more than just food. Additional costs — like delivery fees, tips, and beverages— can quickly add up too. And not tipping is definitely a no-no.
If your budget has you feeling stressed, consider ezCater. You can set a per-headcount or total budget for your catering order, with the flexibility to include delivery fee and tip in the calculation.
Will alcohol be served?
Some companies allow alcohol, while others discourage holiday imbibing in the workplace. Find out where your company stands, so you’ll know whether to include it in your budget or not. If alcohol is in the plan, you’ll need to determine what type to buy and in what quantity. Keep in mind, it’s always a good idea to ensure you offer plenty of nonalcoholic options for those who don’t drink.
Be mindful of dietary restrictions and preferences
Workplaces today have a variety of dietary needs and preferences, from vegan and gluten-free to vegetarian and kosher. Your challenge is accommodating everyone so they’re included and satisfied. You can streamline your efforts, and limit stress in the process, by collecting dietary information from employees ahead of time. This will allow you to advise your caterer of any food allergies or preferences at the time you order.
For faster results, search for restaurants and caterers that can accommodate specific dietary needs with ezCater’s filters.
Try food in advance
You can tell a lot about a restaurant by reading reviews and skimming the menu, but until you’ve experienced the food for yourself, you never know exactly what you’ll get. Don’t let the first time you taste the food be at the event. Try ordering a sample lunch for you and a few colleagues to try before placing a larger order. That way you’ll know if the raving reviews hold true — and avoid the feeling that you should have gone with another restaurant the day of the party.
Create your headcount — and check it twice!
In some ways, your guest list is your most important list. You’ll find that plus-ones can quickly become plus-twos, and even plus-threes, making it an ever-evolving document. You can tackle the changes manually, or use ezCater. Our platform lets you easily adjust headcounts and provides suggested ordering sizing, so you can get just the right amount.
The tips are only some of what goes into work holiday party planning, but you’ve got this. Start the planning process as early as possible, so you can get everything done ahead of time and won’t have to rush to complete everything at the last minute. Check out ezCater for more tips and advice on taking your holiday work party to the next level.