The menu is arguably the most crucial element of any catering business.
In addition to stellar customer service, preparation and communication, at the end of the day it’s about the food. Caterers must consider food preferences but also food allergies and dietary restrictions of everyone in attendance. No matter what size of the event, there will be guests who have special requirements for food. For any catering and restaurant service, it is important to familiarize yourself and employees with various types of food choices. A menu with a variety of dishes will accommodate everyone while also given the kitchen a chance to experiment with ingredients.
Common Food Restrictions:
Vegetarian: Consuming no meat, but still eats some animal products like milk, eggs, cheese, and honey.
Vegan: Avoiding all animal products
Kosher: Typical Jewish diet with strict rules to abide by. For instance, using animal products that only come from Kosher animals
Gluten: Protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Found in foods like bread and pasta. Common allergy and sensitivity in addition to dairy and nut allergies
Even with proper training of food allergies, it is vital that catering services and restaurants implement strategies that will help them avoid a mistake. In regards to the menu, be flexible. A menu should incorporate diverse dishes, such as options that are vegan and gluten free. Certain menu items can be made easy to change so that cheese can be removed or meat can be swapped out if need be. Chefs can also create substitute sauces or garnishes that can be offered for those with dietary restrictions. Planning a menu that is diverse is essential to accommodating these various food needs. Besides the creation of dishes, make sure that employees are properly trained and aware of food allergies. One way to avoid mistakes in the kitchen is to label everything. With proper labels, the chances of using the wrong item will decrease.
Written by: Natalie Earhart