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5 Key Qualities of an Outsourced Catering Menu

5 Key Qualities of an Outsourced Catering Menu

You have an event to plant. An office meeting, a cocktail party, or a wedding ceremony coming up in a few days and among the many things you must plan for is the reception and accommodation of invited guests.  You have to plan for everything from seating to programming, and from lighting to eating. Planning a meal course for an event is perhaps the hardest, most inconvenient, and delicate task of all.

Of concern is how to match the event with an appropriate meal course whether you are planning a party, a sporting day, a corporate meeting, a religious gathering, or a birthday celebration. The cost and time of cooking the entire meal are oftentimes infeasible. So too is the likelihood of simply ordering out for bulk fast-food packages. In these moments, the only option is to look for outsourced catering. The question that remains now is how to select the appropriate and satisfactory caterer to hire, commission, or contract. The answer to that question is, in most cases, answered by the menu you select for the event.

Indeed, the quality of a catering menu usually helps profile the caterer you select. Besides the commercial trickery of how a menu is arranged, it is important to determine whether, in reality, the menu is in accordance with your needs and requirements. So, what about an outsourced catering menu should you look for to help you make a decision? What elements of the menu are vital to consider, and why? This article highlights five key features of an outsourced catering menu that are central in making your final decision on which caterer to hire.

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    Features to Look For Before Paying for a Catering Menu

    1. Healthy Alternatives Offered

    Today, food has been associated with numerous short-term and terminal health problems. Certain food choices, regardless of taste or popularity, are deemed unhealthy or health threatening. A significant section of the guest list is health conscious, and they would only appreciate a menu that acknowledges and respects their healthy preferences. So, evaluate the menu on whether the items offered are healthy or have healthy options, particularly for things like sport-related occasions. While the catering menu may offer assorted meals that are mouthwatering and extremely inviting, an equally important question is whether or not they are health conscious. The difference between ordering from a fast-food restaurant, buying food items from a supermarket, and hiring an outside caterer, is the score of healthier foods.

    2. The Question of Cost and Value

    Perhaps a more important consideration when qualifying a catering menu is the pricing of assorted food options, and whether the cost is justified by the value offered. The cost-value exchange is a critical quality of an outsourced catering menu. The menu prices should be affordable and competitively justified for their cost, in both the main course and alternatives. While the cheapest is not always the best choice, the outsourced catering menu must necessarily justify the item pricing with the value provided. As such, do not qualify a catering menu only by how cheap it is, but also by the value ration offered in its pricing.

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    3. Adequate Selection to Serve All Your Needs

    After considering the affordability and competitiveness of the menu, it is then good to determine how adequately the menu may serve the needs of your event, meeting, or party. Some events mandate the presence of specific food and drink items. Preferably, the menu should have a wide variety to choose from. While certain occasions would be adequately served by soft drinks and sandwiches, fries and or breakfasts, others need full-course dishes. It is, therefore important to look at the variety of options offered, and how they might appeal to your guests, and to your occasion.

      The menu should provide a wide selection of quality foods and drinks, with reasonable quantities accounted for. It is also important to determine if the catering menu provides adequate and foresighted options for guests who may be eating a restricted diet. Whether vegetarians, gluten-free, alcohol-free or otherwise, an outsourced catering menu should provide an adequate selection to choose from.

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      4. Quality of Food on Offer

      You might not remember what you chose several months after the event, but you will usually remember how delicious, or otherwise, it was. It is not just about the cost, the number of items available, or the healthy food score, it is also about the taste and quality promised by the outsourced catering company. Take a look at the catering menu based on the quality of food it promises. Ideally, you should settle for nothing less than what you want in quality, and you’ll be weighing that with an adequate selection and affordable prices.

        Some menus offer relatively inexpensive choices for a wide selection of diets and are defined by high-quality food. Always look out for that catering menu that promises well-prepared courses, with an assembly of fresh and natural ingredients which is prepared custom to your order. You don’t want a menu that will be delivered with a chaotic taste, but rather a planned out dining experience.

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        5. Requisite Accompaniments for Food and Beverages

        Finally, regardless of how good a catering menu seems, you must also consider the availability of accompanying requirements. How well have the outdoor catering packed and wrapped the food options? Does the outside caterer deliver the order, or do you have to collect it in person? Is the menu, affordable or inexpensive as it may be and regardless of quality and variety, accompanied by an ideal catering setup? Does the menu account for the event space? Does it come with accompanying furniture, or utensils necessary for serving food?

          It may surprise you that some catering menu packages come along with pans, warmers, tongs, fridges, buffet setups and related accompaniments. Some even include item naming for the packed or boxed meals, respective of the invited guests, as an added advantage to the catering menu. Your final decision for the ideal catering menu must also take into account the availability, provision, and adequacy of accompaniments to the foods and drinks served, as a value-adding complement.

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          Last Updated on March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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