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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 February 20, 2019

          13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

          13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

          Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

          Why is this so critically important to you?

          The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

          Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

          1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

          Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

          When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

          • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
          • The man facing the judge.
          • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
          • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
          • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
          • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

          These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

          Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

          Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

          2. Accept Your Fear

          Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

          We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

          And here’s what can be done.

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          3. Get Some Perspective

          I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

          And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

          That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

          We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

          So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

          • Are you really at risk?
          • Will this kill you?
          • Which leads us on to..
          • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

          4. Hold a Hand

          As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

          Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

          We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

          Ask yourself:

          • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
          • Could that really happen?
          • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
          • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

          By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

          5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

          This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

          Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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          The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

          It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

          For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

          Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

          6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

          I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

          Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

          Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

          Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

          Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

          Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

          7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

          Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

          I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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          It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

          One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

          Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

          It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

          8. Assume the Worse

          If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

          Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

          • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
          • Think about how they feel about champagne?
          • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

          And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

          When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

          Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

          9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

          If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

          Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

          Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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          10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

          One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

          11. Go with Fear

          When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

          I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

          Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

          One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

          However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

          We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

          12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

          And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

          The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

          What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

          13. Own Your Fear

          Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

          We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

          You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

          More Resources About Fighting Fear

          Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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