Today I offer easy tips on how to accomplish your goal:
- Ask the caterer to provide condiments in bulk. What exactly does this mean? Milk in creamers instead of little plastic "moo juice" cups, sugar in covered bowls instead of paper wrappers and and butter on a plate without a foil wrapper. Doesn't that sound more elegant anyway?
- Request fruit be served whole on breaks. We have found a significant cost savings by switching to whole fruit as the labor costs are much lower than sliced fruit. Guests like the "comfort food" aspect of eating fruit this way.
- Serve pitchers of lemonade and iced tea for afternoon breaks instead of individually bottled soft drinks. This is a huge cost savings for meeting organizers and also saves in cans and bottles.
- Ask for yogurt to be served in large bowls so guests may spoon it into pretty glass bowls instead of the usual plastic container and foil lid.
- Request snacks and cookies be made fresh and served on platters. Not only do they taste better, you will save money as guests are less likely to grab a handful for later.
- Ask participants not to use room service, but to dine in the restaurant instead. If you are footing the bill, the reason may be financial. We are seeing a growing trend where companies will no longer pay for this guest service. Also think of all the tiny, individual containers which arrive on the tray.
- Use large pitchers or "bubblers" instead of individual bottled water. I won't go into the lecture here (you are welcome), just a friendly reminder. Save oodles of money and your corporate image too!
These ideas should get you started and you can add your own each time you place a catering order. Don't forget to ask for and document your cost savings.