Catering for school or outside events can be an excellent source of income if planned well. It can be as small as morning tea for the Principals guest or hundreds for a sit down meal, either way, it takes organisation and planning to be a success.
I find having a catering request form available for customers to complete helps streamline the catering and stops people from wanting to give you vital information at the busiest time of your day. You can leave the forms with admin and keep copies at the canteen. This form would include
- Name and phone number of person ordering
- Where it is
- Date and time
- How many people
- Food type-hot, cold, mixed
- Basic, middle of the range or gourmet?
- Special dietary requirements
- Will it be collected or delivered by the canteen
- Is any serving assistance required?
- How much $ per head
- Will it be a sit down event or be eaten on the run
- Who to make the invoice out to
Consider adding in something along these lines- : At least 48hr notice is to be given for the booking of any catered event and numbers to be confirmed no later than 24hr before the date or you will be charged for the number that was originally booked.
It is a great idea to have a few priced per head menus already set so your customers can choose easily, some canteens just make what ever is wanted and charge accordingly.
Remember this is to make money and you don’t have to have bargain prices. If it is out of hours, ensure you allow for wages including overtime. Also allow for plates, serviettes and cutlery, if you are using crockery and not disposable allow for the extra wash up time in your wages calculations.
Some foods that work well for daytime catering are fruit platters, cheese platters, vegie sticks and dips, mini muffins and wraps[chicken Caesar wraps mmmyum] strawberries and a yogurt dip, cheese balls, tiny sushi, soups, picnic boxes and everyone’s favourite, sandwiches. The sandwiches don’t have to be egg and lettuce, try going gourmet and using the fancy lettuce or some turkey and cranberry. Try and include something for vegetarians.
For big events consider asking your hospitality students to help out, it is great experience for them. Your frozen distributors have a great range of catering foods but to make that extra profit onsite cooking is generally the way to go.
Consider having a feedback form so you know what worked and what didn’t.
Advertising catering is available is vital. If your potential customers don’t know you offer this service then it won’t happen and all that extra money will leave the school.
Finally, remember to record everything so you will have a better idea the next time this same event comes up.