If you want to keep your guests, employees or colleagues well-fed while sticking to a budget, outsourcing food delivery and extra services can be an excellent solution. This is especially true in London, where many of the living and working spaces have limited cooking facilities. On this page, we’ll cover everything you need to know, from possible dish choices, to event catering for special occasions, to getting the most out of your budget. Regular Office Lunches Do you want to keep your employees full with healthy, delicious meal choices? Then you may want to consider getting regular food catering for your company. This can help you: Save money on going out, ordering in, or hiring temp staff to cook and serve for you. Save office space by removing the need to cook internally. Improve employee engagement and motivation by offering an option that’s better than home-made lunchboxes - and cheaper than eating elsewhere. There are several things to consider here. For small offices, you may want a drop-off provider that simply brings you food. If you have a large number of employees, it may be prudent to opt for a full-service catering delivery that also provides cutlery, waiters, etc. Next, you’ll want to develop a menu with multiple dishes. The first reason is that this gives people with dietary restrictions a chance to find something they eat. The second reason is that this prevents boredom, which can set in if you serve the same thing each day. Event Catering Planning Outsourcing food for a corporate occasion is very different from working with providers on a regular basis. For starters, expect to pay a lot more per head, especially if the occasion is fancy. Second, be mindful of seating arrangements and floor layouts. If your event is formal, you’ll want to avoid buffets and serving stations - especially if you’re expecting executives. Third, don’t count on your provider delivering all your fare pre-cooked. Most special occasions, from banquets to seminars, call for some combination of hot dishes and hot drinks that need to be made (or warmed up) on the spot. This requires more equipment - or you finding a service that’s very close to your location (you can do this by googling “caterers near me”). Money-Saving Tips If you’re using catering services to bring meals to your office, we recommend you discuss and set a menu for several weeks at a time. This will let your provider buy in bulk, saving both of you money; especially on fresh, local and seasonal produce. Another way to save on regular food deliveries is by letting your provider leave some or all of their cooking equipment with you overnight. Saving money on special occasions is different. You want to stay under budget, but at the same time, you don’t want to get inferior dishes or drinks when ordering food for important events. One choice is to take over some of the extras your service provider charges a lot for. For instance, looking up “chocolate fountain rental near me” will usually help you save up to 50% on this specific dessert station. Consider doing the same for ice sculptures, party favors and other extras. Our best advice for saving money on both types of catering is to talk to your provider. Let them know what your budget and needs are - and they’ll likely do what they can to help you. In our own business, we strive to meet our customers halfway whenever we can; finding teams and brands that do the same for you will stop you from overpaying. --- As a rule, catered meals consist of starters; main dishes; drinks; desserts. Some brands also offer soups, hot beverages and snacks. When choosing a provider, keep the following tips in mind: Grains and vegetables are cheaper, but often less filling. It’s important to offer protein-rich dishes based on meat, fish, dairy and/or beans. Anecdotally, many managers have told us that their teams report feeling more sated after hot meals. When ordering catering for events, remember that fancy occasions don’t mix with buffets and serving stations. If you want to find the best provider available in your area, don’t just google “caterers near me”. Look at various websites and do word-of-mouth research instead of going with the first thing you find. If you’d like to learn more or get a free consultation, visit us at catery.co.uk.