Tips For Catering Thanksgiving Dinner
If you’re getting ready to cater your first Thanksgiving dinner you may be anxious and excited at the same time. Things can go wrong with a large group of people but the good news is that when things go right, you’ll have a lot of great feedback. With a little planning and thinking ahead you can cater the best dinner ever. To ensure that you cater an excellent Thanksgiving dinner, consider some of the following tips.
Get an Accurate Headcount Early
Without an accurate headcount, all other aspects of your party planning will be nearly impossible. You won’t know how much turkey to cook, how many drinks to provide or even what kind of seating you’ll need. The earlier you start to get your headcount, the better chance you will have of it being accurate. Don’t forget to recheck your headcount shortly before the party as well. Sometimes things change and your guests might not remember to notify you. Once you have your final headcount you’ll be better able to plan both the meal and the seating arrangements.
Depending on whether you are catering professionally or organizing a meal in a more casual sense, early planning will help ensure that you don’t miss anything. From counting all your guests, including children, to actually planning what dinnerware and chairs you’ll be using, the earlier you start making preparations, the better. Start by planning the actual day out and then work back from there. For instance, you’ll be eating on Thursday so you should make sure to have all your shopping completed by the previous Monday. This will also give you a chance to plan what dishes, serveware and glassware you will need and If something needs to be cleaned, brought from storage, bought or borrowed, the earlier you start, the better chance you have for success.
Stick to the Budget
Regardless of whether you are budgeting on a professional level or on a personal scale, a budget is very important. This will help prevent over extending yourself, or having food go to waste. Plan a reasonable budget, shop for sales, clip coupons and always try to stick within the numbers.
These days more and more people are on specific diets. This means that it is a good idea to plan your menu in such a way as to provide some options for those on a stricter diet. If you are unsure about specific dietary requirements, then ask family and friends specific questions. If you know ahead of time, it will be easier to make sure that you have a dish they can enjoy. By providing a few selections that aren’t traditional, but offer something for all your diners, you are sure to get many compliments for the thoughtful menu.
Gather Your Essentials
As the day approaches it is important to spend time checking your supplies. If you are in your own kitchen, make sure that it is thoroughly organized. Check the dishes that you only use for the holidays and make sure that they are easily accessible. You will also want to consider the rest of the house and make sure that you have what you need. If you are a professional caterer, count your supplies and have them ready. Pack well in advance so that you can go over everything and not forget something. Also make sure to have your staff briefed on the menu and about any particulars of the event.
Organize for Tidying up
It is easy to forget the mess a big party or dinner can create. One way of making sure that catering a Thanksgiving party goes well is to plan for the cleanup. In a professional setting make sure that everyone on your team knows which part of the breakdown they are responsible for. When setting up, do so in a logical fashion. Make sure there are plenty of large trash cans and that the trash bags are secured. Make sure that there are areas for dirty dishes and that places for returnable cans and bottles are clearly marked. You will also want to have items on hand such as a bucket, mop and clothes for spills to help take care of any bigger cleanup jobs.