Should You Cater Fundraisers and Other Public Events?

Your company could use some good press and community appreciation, so you’ve decided to host a public event of some kind. That public event could involve a once-in-a-lifetime sale, or it could feature a live band and free handouts to turn it into a party. Or you may host a fundraiser or charity event to show your company’s humanitarian side.

But regardless of what event you have planned, you have to make sure it goes perfectly. You need just the right decorations and the right music. You have to advertise the event in just the right way so it attracts the right kind of attention. And then you need to decide if you should have the event catered. After all, nothing makes potential customers happier than the prospect of free food.

However, you have a few considerations to take into account before you call your caterer. Does your event merit culinary giveaways? Can your business afford it? And what kind of food should you serve? We’ll answer these questions and more below.

Does Your Event Need Catering?

First, consider the kind of event you want to host. If you simply want to attract customers with a special sale, then you probably don’t need catering to entice them. The food will distract them from the sale. But if you plan to host a charity event, grand opening, or customer appreciation party, even snack-style catering will add to the event.

Second, have a look at your budget. Even if you don’t include food, your event will likely cost you a lot of money. You’ll have to pay for advertising, and you’ll have to pay for any decorations or entertainment you include that day. Since you’ll have to accommodate hundreds or thousands of people, even something as small as a free lanyard for each guest could quickly become expensive.

But if your budget still has some wiggle room, you can start thinking about catering. As you consider it, remember that quality catering companies charge about seven dollars per guest for a snack-sized dish.

If your budget can cover food for your guests and visitors, you should definitely add it to your event. It gives you a variety of benefits:

It attracts a larger number of people, which means your business or event will get more attention.
It appeals to humans’ most memorable senses, taste and smell, which means people won’t forget about your company. They’ll think of you first when they need a service from your industry.
It shows that your business has the financial security to splurge on its customers. You’ll look more stable and trustworthy, so people will feel safer purchasing products or services from you.
Just remember to include gluten-free, lactose-free, and nut-free dishes so those with food allergies or intolerances can still partake. You want your food to give you a good image, not lead to an accident.

What Food Should You Cater?

Now that you’ve determined that you want catering during your public event, you need to decide what to serve. You don’t want generic or plain foods like a vegetable tray or overly processed pastries. You need to serve quality. Consider succulent options like:

Asian samples, including dim sims, spring rolls, pan rolls, and dumplings
Italian delights like bruschetta, meatballs, and risotto
Comfort foods like mini quiches, spinach puffs, and chicken wings
Healthy options, including Greek or Caesar salads
Each option creates a different atmosphere for your event. If you want to paint your company as a member of the community, opt for comfort foods. If you want to seem more upscale, use ethnic foods like those listed above.

Alternatively, you can serve many foods to give guests variety. Talk to your caterer to see what he or she would recommend. Once you’ve chosen the right catering option, your public event will have everything it needs to impress your community.