Food is an important part of any event. Many people will judge the success of your event on how good the food was. However, good food doesn't necessarily come cheap. This puts you in a position where you have to figure out how to provide excellent food for your event without spending your entire event budget on food alone. There are several options you can try out that are less pricey than a premium caterer.
Just because it's for your business, that doesn't mean you need to go overboard. Speak with a variety of corporate catering teams to determine who has reasonable pricing and can work with your budget.
For non-profit caterers, events requiring catering services are the perfect training grounds for their aspiring chefs and professionals in matters to do with food service. These caterers can offer complete services from meal preparation to serving.
Colleges and Universities
Universities and colleges with culinary programs are a great place to source for complete meals from breakfast and lunch to dinner. You may also find some schools that offer cooking and delivery services as part of the curriculum. However, you'll find that many are focused on restaurant-style services.
These companies are excellent sources of both fresh and frozen entrees, desserts and side dishes that have been pre-prepared. You may even find those that offer box lunches too. These companies can be independently run or part of a national chain. The food quality usually ranges from good to excellent.
However, you may find the menu choices to be limited. This can be a problem if you wish to have a full menu. However, you can supplement the entrees with desserts or fresh bread from a nearby bakery.
Grocery Chains and Specialty Grocers
You can find pre-prepared items at your grocery store similar to what is provided by meals-to-go companies. You can find good luncheon items like potato salad, chicken salad and other standard items such as deli trays. Depending on the size of your event, you'll want to call ahead to ensure a large enough batch is prepared for you.
You can find restaurants that sell menu items in large quantities. Because you'll be buying in large portions, you can save a lot of money if you control the portion sizes as the meals are served to guests. Some restaurants also double up as caterers.
Sandwich and Bagel Shops
This may seem like an odd choice but these can be a very good option when you need food for a business breakfast or lunch. They can also offer you a good deal to cater for such events.