5 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Events Menu


A menu can make or break an event — if the food is sub-par, guests will remember. So, what are the best practices to keep in mind when crafting a catering or private events menu?

We chatted with Brian Lewis, owner of eclectic American eatery Bocado, about his expert tips to keep in mind when optimizing a restaurant’s menu.

1. Keep it fresh

“We like to think through the season and what’s available,” said Lewis. Incorporating just a select few or a whole menu’s worth of innovative, seasonally inspired dishes will keep guests coming back to try new dishes. This allows the chef to be inventive about the ingredients he wants to use, especially locally sourced ones that are often cheaper than sourcing from far away, and it keeps people guessing about what’ll be on offer on any given evening. Plus, it’s a great way to experiment with new dishes that may end up being menu staples.

2. Let the dishes take center stage

Beware of muddling your menu with too many graphics, wacky fonts, or unnecessary verbiage. “Our menu is designed to be concise with a thoughtful mix of items and restraint to allow ingredients to shine,” Lewis said. “Leave the “About Us” blurb to the company website, and allow the menu to showcase your dishes and their ingredients so guests don’t get sidetracked. (Experts have also reported that written-out prices, like “twelve dollars” vs. $12, encourage guests to spend more.) It’s fine to include a fun design that enhances your restaurant’s ambiance and vision — just don’t go overboard. Less is more.

3. Don’t be afraid to mix it up

Just because you usually serve dishes tapas-style or a la carte doesn’t mean the same has to go for your catering or private events menu. “Our favorite menus for events are served family-style,” says Lewis. “It makes for an interactive setting in which guests can enjoy one another’s company.” This allows guests to choose their own portions, so less food goes to waste and everyone leaves satiated. You can also consider bite-size passed apps or customizable food stations for things like cocktails or breakfast dishes.

4. Work smarter, not harder

“We love to design large-party menus with ease, to be sure our guests can all enjoy the menu at the same time,” Lewis said. “Hot food should be hot, and cold food should be cold.” Serving oysters? Consider a stylish raw bar where guests can walk up and fill their plates at their leisure instead of having the staff try to plate and distribute them individually. Work with your client to ensure that dishes are served in a manner conducive to the dish itself so that the presentation, temperature, and flavors are all top-notch for each and every guest. Another way to work smarter: mention to your client that you can tailor offerings to take into account any dietary restrictions and allergies.

5. Remember that consistency is key

The most important facet of a menu is that it meets the needs of your client and pleases your event guests — at the end of the day, it’s about quality over quantity. “While variety is important, too many items on a menu can be the downfall,” Lewis adds. “We like to think that a small, thoughtful, and technical menu that is consistent is most important. If every item isn’t perfect, why waste your time?”

Your creativity will lead to more event bookings

Start using these tips and get the right menu in place right now to help you drive more business and bookings. And, if you are a Tripleseat customer, we’ll help those new bookings for events and catering orders run smoothly. If you’re not a Tripleseat customer and you’re interested in learning more about Tripleseat’s event management tools and CRM features, schedule a demo at your convenience to take a closer look.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the Gather blog and written by Caroline Cox.