Chinese food is a popular option for catered lunches and dinners. Most Americans enjoy the Western version of Chinese food and will appreciate the opportunity to enjoy something different at a catered event. When the lunch or dinner takes place within a business context, the task of ordering typically falls to an administrative assistant. Below are some tips to make the best choices and ensure that the event remains a memorable one.
How to Order the Right Amount of Chinese Food for a Large Group
Professional caterers often tell clients to start with the number of people attending the catered event and divide that number in half. This gives the organizer a good idea of the right number of quarts of Chinese food that he or she needs to order. For example, a group of 60 people would need at least 15 quarts to ensure that no one leaves the meeting or event hungry. Each quart should include several varieties of food, such as chicken and broccoli, chicken lo mein, or General Tso’s chicken.
Egg rolls and fortune cookies usually come separate from containers of food. A good rule of thumb is to order a fortune cookie for each person and an egg roll for every two people. The catering company can then split each egg roll in half so every attendee has the chance to have a portion of at least that size.
Consider the Time of Day and Weather Conditions
Steaming hot food may not seem like an attractive option on a 100-degree day, but many people would find it comforting and delicious on a cool, overcast day. It’s important to plan food for the season and for that day’s weather if the administrative assistant knows the forecast in advance.
Another important consideration is that the food people eat affects their mood and performance. Serving someone a meal with a lot of sugar for lunch may initially make them feel hyper and then sleepy and unable to pay attention to the presentation.
Provide Many Sauce Options
One of the reasons it’s enjoyable to eat Chinese food is that it gives people the chance to experiment with different sauces that they don’t use every day. While sweet and sour sauce is a main staple, consider branching out and adding choices like hoisin or oyster sauce. These are not only more novel, but a healthier option for Chinese catering as well.
Accommodating Food Restrictions
The best way to avoid disappointment about the food served is to ask people for preferences and food restrictions well in advance of the event. Sending out a mass email requesting people to list their food allergies or other types of restrictions will save the most time in planning the event.
After getting the responses, the organizer should figure a percentage of people who would not be able to eat what he or she planned on ordering and make a separate order for those people. This is a better option than ordering two main entrees because some people will want to try some of each, causing food to run out too quickly.