Food That Travels Well: 8 Catering Dishes for Your Next High-Stakes Meeting
- 3 Min Read
At a high-stakes meeting, everything needs to be perfect. And that includes what’s on the table for lunch. To ensure your meeting starts on-time, your catering order may need to arrive early so you have time for setup. That means your food might need to be served at room temperature — but still taste great. Because some foods travel better than others, ezCater’s Customer Service Specialist, Nick Kulla offers some intel on what to order. Here is a list of 8 reliable foods that travel well and are great served cold or at room temperature.
Dishes like hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, and lamb kebabs travel well. A lot of Mediterranean foods can be served cold or at room temperature. That’s ideal for appetizers or meals that will look and taste great, even if the pre-lunch meeting went an hour over schedule.
Pro-tip: Kulla suggests adding a note to any order asking for allergy tent cards. That way all the ingredients are spelled out for anyone with food intolerances or allergies.
Caterers who handle sushi work under strict USDA guidelines to make sure the food comes fresh, even up to two hours after it arrives. “This is true for all sushi with raw fish as well,” says Kulla.
Pro-tip: If you’re creating an Asian-themed meal, add spring and summer rolls or egg rolls, as they taste even better at room temperature. Chicken lettuce wraps and peanut noodles are also served cold, and make great add-ons.
3. Acai Bowls
This trendy dish does surprisingly well when left on a buffet table. Kulla says it’s thanks to advance planning by the caterer. “Acai bowls are delivered at their intended temperature,” he says, “and can be served at room temperature for up to one hour with nothing keeping them cold.”
4. Boxed Lunches
Packaged in their own containers, boxed lunches create a custom experience for your guests. They are designed to travel, and work for more casual settings. Each guest is guaranteed a complete meal, and the packaging makes them easy to take as leftovers.
Pro-tip: Customization means you can choose from any number of sandwiches and options.
This everyday favorite can be a real crowd pleaser. The secret of pasta served at restaurants is that the sauce is tossed with the hot noodles moments before serving. “Ask for pasta and sauce to be delivered separately and prepared at the meeting location,” says Kulla. And survey guests in advance to see if a batch of gluten-free pasta should be included with the order.
Pro-tip: Especially with larger orders, make sure a staff member is on site to pair the pasta with its sauce. ezCater’s Extended Services includes options for setup and takedown and for food service during your event.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but ordering a special salad jazzes up a catering order. Toppings like cheese, croutons, nuts, and fruit can be customized for local and seasonally appropriate ingredients. Dressing on the side means the salad arrives fresh and usable for hours. And guests can customize based on their own tastes. A main course salad is also great for gluten-free, dairy-free, or meat-free eaters.
Tacos may be the ultimate food that travels well. Chicken or beans are usually pre-split and easy to portion out on site. You can add color to any order with vegetable side dishes and toppings like corn, spinach, tomatoes, avocado, and peppers.
Pro-tip: “Look at what is included with big orders,” Kulla says. “Sometimes chips and even guacamole are included and sometimes not.” If guacamole is a must for your catering order, double-check that it’s part of your package.
The secret to ordering burgers for a high-stakes meeting is to order the burger bar, Kulla says. “With the meat served separately, there is no chance for the buns to get soggy.” And when there is a plant-based burger option, served on a nice compostable plate, it signals a new approach to these long-running takeout favorites.
Pro-tip: Skip the fries and get chips, salad, or coleslaw instead. “French fries don’t always hold up well, turning mushy mere minutes after they come out of the fryer,” says Kulla.
If you need to make impression at your next big meeting, always check with your cater to be sure you know what to expect. But these 8 catering dishes offer reliable favorites that travel well to make sure your high-stakes meeting is a success.
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