Your holiday office party planning starts with great food and drink.  Usually the hardest part of planning a party is what to serve.  Some parties feature appetizers, some offer full sit-down meals, and others will have a buffet that could include separate stations for each food type i.e. a salad, meat, seafood or dessert stations.

While you’re in the office party planning stage, keep in mind that the time you schedule your party for  will directly affect the type of service and quantity of food required and staff expectations.  But…the most important factor that will determine the style of catering you choose is your budget.

Holding your Christmas party in the office means space is a consideration.  A sit down dinner requires room for tables and chairs.  Before you plan on it, be certain your budget will accommodate this style because you will need to hire serving staff.

A buffet style gathering will require tables for catering equipment, and if you choose to have traditional turkey or roast beef, space for the chef carving station is a must. Presentation tables for an appetizer party are needed unless you decide to have wait staff serve guests as they mingle.

You will still require a preparation area. Your staff kitchen could do the trick for this choice.

If your holiday office  party planning budget is very small,  opt to have the caterer drop off your menu choices. Then all you’ll need is a table to set up the presentation.

Here are a few more tips as you finalize your Christmas office party planning:

Related reading:  5 Rules to Rock your Corporate Catering

–       Know your office party food etiquette. If yours is an office of women, serve food that is pretty and always add chocolate something.   Perhaps you are a construction company; you will want to fill the gap with delicious home-style portions.

–       Be sensitive. Keep in mind the ethnic and religious requirements of your colleagues.

–       How much food is needed will depend on how many people will attend and the time of your party. Luncheons typically require less food then evening parties.

Office Party Planning For a cocktail style party:

  • Light: 3 to 5 pieces
  • Medium cocktail party: 5 to 8 pieces
  • Full meal cocktail party: 8 to 15 pieces.
  • Dinner style cocktail parties require 15 to 20 pieces per person.

–       Renting China, Glassware, Cutlery will make any party planners life much easier and is eco-friendly. You should be able to rent them from your caterer.  If you want disposable, choose a caterer that has eco-friendly items available. Have the order delivered the day before to ensure you are ready for the set up the day of the event.  If you are missing items, early delivery gives you time to make wrongs into rights.

–       Double up on everything if you can. People tend to leave their glasses, plates, and cutlery wherever they wander.  Plan on having as much as twice the amount as the number of guests.

–       Serving. If you are not hiring serving staff, a buffet is the way to go.Stack plates at the start of the buffet line, and place cutlery and napkins at the end. Guests will then have less to balance while they serve themselves.

Related reading:  Simple Rules to Size your Portions for Event Catering

–       Consider setting up the food in several spots if you have the space.That way everyone won’t be crowding around the same buffet table at once. Make sure there are plenty of napkins and plates at each station.

–       Choose a theme.  You can theme any party from décor to food to menus.  How about a Winter Wonderland with an elegant colour theme of purple and gold.

Fire & Ice: think ice sculptures and icicles combined with fire torches (fake of course!) or candles and a red Christmas tree.  Or choose a Victorian Christmas to add warmth and charm to your office gathering.  Themed parties add great value that will provide your office with an unforgettable experience.

–       The wow factor. If you have the budget go with butler service and provide your staff with an elegant experience that says they are the best.