Office party catering ideas for a delicious and memorable experience

Cassy Aite
November 3, 2021
Office party catering ideas for a delicious and memorable experience

Finding both tasty and trustworthy catering is a vital part of any corporate event. Being able to provide your guests with a variety of delicious options can elevate an average office party into a memorable one, and you have to find a reliable company that can successfully deliver the wonderful event experience you want.

According to a Facilities Management Link survey, food quality was deemed the most essential element when it comes to selecting a caterer. Keeping each guest happy and well-fed can produce a positive atmosphere that everyone will appreciate.

In this guide, we’ll outline some important tips to keep in mind for organizing your office party catering, and also highlight some creative ideas to help make your next event unforgettable for everyone in attendance.

8 important tips to organize catering for your office party

1. Know your audience

The catering you provide at events will vary depending on the audience, in terms of both preferences and numbers. If you believe that your guests will have certain favorite items, ask around to get a better sense of things. You also need to have a general idea of how many people will be in the audience, because the numbers directly affect your financial commitments.

2. Set your budget

Once you have a handle on how many people are expected to attend your event, it’s important to start preparing for how much catering will cost. Although the number of guests could either increase or decrease before the event, being financially prepared can help you avoid a disaster. Setting a budget plan helps in the early stage, but make sure it’s flexible in case of an unexpected turnout.

3. Try before you buy

girl testng office party catering options on white background

The catering you serve at events are all assumed to have your personal stamp of approval, so make sure that you enjoy the items being provided. Offering quality meals and drinks can lead to a more engaging meeting, while sub-par products can give the impression that you don’t care about your guests. Trying out the catering before purchasing allows you to vet the items and avoid getting any negative reactions from your audience.

4. Account for dietary restrictions

Speaking of frustrating the guests, always make sure to account for any dietary restrictions before finalizing a list of choices. Find a way to include vegan and kosher options on your menu, as those are common restrictions that people encounter when looking for food. It’s also key to avoid any common allergies that cause problems, like peanut butter and other nut-based goods.

5. Follow a relevant theme

The best office parties tend to follow a theme. Usually these themes are dependent on the particular reason for why there’s a party in the first place. Perhaps use a Christmas-inspired spread if it’s a winter holiday party, or maybe something personalized to one particular guest if it’s a birthday party. There are so many different themes to choose from, but connecting your catering to a particular theme can help boost your event’s energy.

6. Create a list of menu options

chef in apron contemplating menu options on yellow background

After you’ve come to a catering company decision, it’s time to create the list of options available so your guests know what to order. Office catering menus can be sent out both in-person and electronically, making them a versatile tool for any kind of event. Give your attendees plenty of time in advance to reply with their menu submissions, which puts them at ease and also makes it easier for you to keep track of how much money the catering will cost.

7. Order the food and drinks

Now that your guests have all been given menus, it’s time to get their orders rolling. The type of delivery systems will vary depending on whether the event is virtual, in-person, or hybrid, but what matters most is ensuring the items are delivered on time. You should have a reliable delivery plan lined up, because shipping concerns that delay your catering will irritate everyone when they get hungry.

8. Impress your guests

Last but not least, you want to use office party catering ideas that will genuinely impress your guests. It’s an underrated skill to organize and execute a detailed plan, but it’s certainly not under-appreciated by anyone in the audience if their orders are delivered on time. Providing people with delicious food and drinks can greatly help boost their engagement, which can result in them having a more positive experience.

8 great catering ideas to elevate your next office party

1. Local food or drink menu

Partnering with a local fixture to provide office catering can help your event connect to the community. Lots of restaurants are looking to do catering now as a way to make up for money lost during the pandemic, so look into popular local establishments and see if there’s a good match. You can also order deliveries from a community brewery or vineyard, both of which would be well-received by guests who love trying new drinks.

2. Personalized DIY items

Customizing stuff just the way you want makes people feel special. Although there’s an emphasis on not handling communal supplies nowadays, that doesn’t mean you can’t give people DIY catering options. Letting people order things like pizza with personalized toppings, dessert with various combinations, or cocktails with ingredients of their choice can provide everyone at your event with a catering experience they’ll appreciate.

3. Cook-along class

happy woman taking cooking class on green background

If you’re planning a longer event and hoping to break up the day with various fun activities, a cook-along class is a great idea to keep people focused. Bringing in a chef to host a fairly brief cooking seminar or webinar during your event creates audience engagement, and is a fun DIY spin as opposed to wide-scale catering. We do advise that you have backup catering options on standby though, since not everyone is a good cook and you still want to make sure people are well-fed.

4. Hoppier virtual cards

Catering has become even more difficult with the rise of virtual events. Instead of stressing out over how to organize catering for a large audience with everyone in different locations, try Hoppier to help simplify that process. Our virtual cards can be used to order food and drinks from a long list of vendors, who will then deliver the requested items to each person individually. Not only does Hoppier streamline all these orders, but its customizable nature also means every guest can pick something they’ll enjoy.

5. Food trucks

Food trucks are an exciting way to bring the street food experience conveniently to your guests at in-person gatherings. There are so many different cultured dishes to choose from, and presenting a variety of options (depending on your budget) means there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Partnering with local food trucks is also a great way to give your event attendees a community-driven experience.

6. Edible bouquets

joyful woman with edible bouquet on pink background

The design of your food is often just as important as the taste. The presentation of food can play a significant factor in how appetizing it looks. Edible bouquets are a fun catering snack that can impress your audience. You can encourage healthy habits by delivering popular fruit arrangements, while you can also cater to people’s sweet tooth by offering chocolate or candy-based bouquets.

7. No-touch finger foods

One of the best things at in-person events used to be trying all of the finger foods offered on platters. Even though we’re limiting the old concept of shared touching plates, we can still offer those tasty finger foods in a different way. Instead of letting your guests grab stuff right off the platter, have the catering workers use tongs or another device to place them on people’s plates. This system maintains the traditional notion of finger food, but does so in a COVID-safe way.

8. Emphasize healthy options

Promoting healthy food options is far from a new catering idea, but it’s one that will never go out of style. If you’re planning to provide some heavy meals, you must be sure to offer healthier alternatives for those who value nutrition. The food and drinks that you offer at events can suggest a lot about the kind of principles you believe in. Encouraging healthy options is a great way to demonstrate how you care for people’s well-being, which sends a positive message that can resonate with your guests.

Hoppier: a simple spin on office party catering

There are so many factors involved in planning your party catering that it can be hard to keep track of it all. But now, you can try Hoppier as a way to simplify that complicated process.

It’s easy to get started with Hoppier. All you have to do is sign up and start customizing your virtual cards that will be distributed to the guests. These cards can be filled with money to order catering items from a wide list of vendors, and you can design their appearance however you want. As an added bonus, we’ll offer you refunds if there’s any money left over on the cards, or give you the option to use the remaining money for future events.

Hoppier is tailor-made for catering modern virtual events. You already have a lot on your plate as the host of an event, so allow us to help relieve some of that stress with our popular catering solution.

Take your office party to the next level with clever catering

Catering is sometimes an overlooked component of the event planning process, but it certainly shouldn’t be ignored — it should be prioritized. Using imaginative catering ideas can drastically help improve the atmosphere around your event, which could lead to a more entertaining time for everyone involved.

Locking down a reliable catering system is one of many ways to enhance the event experience you’re offering. For more ideas on how to improve your office parties, check out our webinar on how to host a magical virtual holiday party or read our article on virtual office Christmas party ideas for this winter.

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