January 3, 2019

All about catering

As well known, catering is the business of providing food & beverage at a requested venue. Even though catering was first started in the 1800s, it had become more popular at the beginning of 2000s.

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The main reason for this is that people have started to spend less time in the kitchen for meal preparation and cleaning it afterwards. Besides, caterers have become the only option for big events not only with serving eye-catching and tasty food but also providing a first-class service to the guests.

Year after year, people have started preferring to hire a caterer rather than spending time for grocery shopping, preparing and cooking the food. Other than this, some prefer or must follow special diets for themselves. Therefore catering started expanding and contributing the economy in Kuala Lumpur, and around the globe.

When the subject comes to event catering, we can see a lot of catering companies in Kuala Lumpur competing for each other. There are several catering groups such as delivery catering, hotel or restaurant catering, and private full-service catering. As Smartbite, we offer delivery catering service to our customers along with experienced staff and also promising a good taste.

We would be more than happy to assist you with your special event such as lunch or party arranged for your employees at the office building!

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Why catering is important?

It is not easy to decide on the venue for a special event itself but the service and the menu are as important as the venue as well. Everyone would like to host their event in sightly venues for sure but with lack of service and poor menu or bad taste, that nice-looking venue would be worthless, unfortunately. While many event venues have an executive chef along with a culinary team and/or catering executives (especially hotels), many of the most shining and popular venues do not offer any catering service.

A catering service is a useful service that can take some of the stress off of your shoulders. Because they have to take care of every single detail according to your expectations and needs.

What makes a caterer be good? Not only the menu content of course. Nutrition, cooking, food safety, quality of service, flexibility and creativity, and being detail oriented could be the key points for a caterer to be good. Also, they should anticipate the needs of the host and the event at the same time.

Hiring a professional catering company will make your event memorable at any point. To be honest, most of the invited people will only remember the food at some point. Caterers take care of customized menus, beverages, table arrangements like silverware and plates, the general decor of the venue, service and much more. Since catering is not just preparing and serving the specified menu, leaving the job to the professionals have become inevitable. For more detailed information on the importance of catering, please visit the blog post here.

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What is the ideal menu for a wedding?

Deciding on the menu could be more complicated than thought. It is so important that can be compared to finding the right caterer as well. When planning of an event, the menu should be prepared according to guest profile and event type. It is crucial to create or customize the most convenient menu for an event. In this manner, the ideal menu should be arranged both with caterer’s knowledge and event host’s preferences according to the guest profile. For example, you are planning an after-party event at your office for 3 hours. This is the time when a good caterer must step in and warn you about timing as an after party should not take 3-hour long. Let's take a look at the average timings of some events that could be:

  • Box meals – usually take 30 minutes maximum.
  • Plated lunch – usually takes at 1.5 hours.
  • Plated dinner – usually takes two to three hours.
  • Buffets – usually take one or two hours.
  • Cocktail receptions – usually take 30 minutes to one hour prior to dinner.

After deciding on the budget and guest number, it is time to find the most suitable catering company for that specific event. A good caterer could be chosen according to their past experiences including menu details, service and size of the events. You may request a copy of their insurance and licenses (to serve and/or delivery) or take a look at online reviews and comments of the company (feel free to check on Smartbite reviews!). You may even ask for their permission to visit their kitchen during operation of an event. People eat with their eyes and nose at first. So it could be a good idea to step in a kitchen of a catering company just to see. This is not a must of course, or the company might not allow any visitors in terms of hygienic measures. Please also note that hiring a caterer which had organized events only for 10-50 people while you are planning your event for 350 people could be risky.

During the meeting with your potential catering company, you may ask for setting a menu tasting before the event date. By this way, you will be able to taste and criticize the menu. Your feedback should be very important fort he caterer and should have taken seriously for their own success. During the menu tasting, you may even want to meet with the executive chef and ask some questions about cooking and storing. You may want to learn if some of the food will be prepared in their own kitchen and transferred to the event venue? Or will they cook everything from scratch at the venue? When you ask these kinds of questions, you will have a chance to look experienced and create a good impact than they thought.

A good caterer must anticipate the guest needs and think of special circumstances such as food allergies, dietary restrictions, and religious necessities before telling them.

For more tips, you may enjoy reading our article on this.

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What is the ideal menu for a work event?

There are numerous types of events such as corporate events, social events (like weddings, engagements, birthday parties, baby showers), conferences, press launches, grand openings, charity events and much more. Every single event has the necessity of special attention as they are unique by themselves. The key point is creating a personalized menu according to the big picture. Here is a sample set lunch menu that could be chosen for a work event;

Appetizer

Chinese Traditional Chili Pan Mee Soup with fried wontons

Main Course

Oven Cooked Chicken Breast with mushrooms and thyme jus with mixed rice and salad on the side

Dessert

Fruit Salad with a cone at the bottom and vanilla ice cream on the side (serving with tea or coffee)

We, Smartbite, provide different cuisines like Malay, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Western and more; an ideal menu can be created for a work event up to your needs and expectations, and the theme of the event! You may enjoy our article about work events by clicking here.

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What is the average price for a good catering service?

When an event host first sees the menu alternatives and their prices, he/she might think that prices are outrageous. This is totally normal. The fact is when creating a menu, the price is not fixed only by the ingredients but also with labour cost, time, transportation and additional supplies as well. If the total price is over the budget, many deductions could be made according to the type of the event. Do not forget: the total price of a catering event depends on the number of guests, not the timing.

The average price of a catering service could be (including beverages);

  • Dinner (set menu) – 600RM
  • Lunch buffet – 105RM
  • Corporate event – 315RM
  • Wedding – 355RM

*Above prices may vary according to the season, menu, guest number, and the caterer.

When hiring a caterer, a negotiation can always be made according to the client’s budget and expectations. As an example, alcoholic and/or non-alcoholic beverages could be bought from a local store by the host, menu items could be changed according to the season or even some food items could be prepared by the host. Imagine that your wedding day is around the corner, all preparations are settled and you are throwing a cooking party for your family members a day before the big wedding to prepare canapes for the cocktail reception. Therefore you could spend priceless time with your family along with experiencing a different occasion just for your dream day.

Professional caterers are attached to the hospitality sector, they can be the heart of a body. With ever-increasing competition, there is no room for failure or lack of experience. They must devote themselves to the business and do more than they could to be successful and make a difference.

We are truly looking forward to meeting with you to discuss the needs of your special event. Let Smartbite create a service of excellence just for you.