Even though catering does not play the key role in an event but a good arrangement can always impress the attendees. However, the food prices keep increasing over the past years. A UN Food & Agriculture Organization reported that the index of 73 food prices increased 3.9% in November. The cost for F&B will inevitably getting higher in the future. Therefore, it is time for event organizers to think of a way to balance the F&B cost and the catering arrangement.
While reducing or cutting out pre-packaged catering is one of the ways to control the cost, providing buffets in the event is also a favourable alternative choice. Buffets can offer plenty of food while maintaining a wide variety of choice in a simple format. Interactive food experience is also encouraged with buffets setting. “Solutions include offering more pre-made items such as sandwiches and then a salad-buffet, rather than a full-blown one, or Asian menus where rice or noodle dishes are offered with a smaller buffet,” Kaci McAllister, creative product director at Destination Asia (China) said. For a big event, it will be more cost effective to provide buffets while set menu will be more suitable for a small event.
There is trend to provide simpler, more elegant and healthy food. Providing lunch boxes maybe a good method and it is now more favourable to the conference organizers. ‘Eating Chinese food the Western way’, which means serving three or four courses only, also becoming popular in the industry. There are also many other ways to control the food costs at the event, such as change the timing of a conference, start earlier and finish before lunch, order food by the dozen and serve it canape-style.
Controlling the F&B cost will be the key in the future but the catering quality also has to be maintained at the same time.