While it isn't holiday season yet, the holiday event planning season is in full swing, and longtime caterers and restaurateurs Larry Houser and John Skehan of Bourbon Street Bar and Grill in Fullerton, California, share their top catering tips to consider when planning a holiday party:

  • Think about signature items: While you will need items that are crowd-pleasers for everyone, it can be a really nice touch to include signature styles, drinks, or dishes tied into the theme of the event.
  • Taste the Food: Sample the food in advance to learn more about what is offered and how it is presented.
  • Confirm what comes included: Be sure to confirm what exactly is included and keep in mind that the most economical option may not always include everything needed. Ask about the details.
  • Choose a caterer familiar with your venue: Caterers should have worked with your selected venue prior to your event. Catering options that are not familiar with a venue may be attractive to consider, but there are many good logistical reasons to use a caterer who has worked at that specific venue before.
  • Find out about special diet requests: Keep in mind that you may have requests for vegetarian, Kosher, Halal, gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free. Ask your caterer how they handle dietary restrictions, on-site changes, and late additions.
  • Don't forget the snacks: People love finger foods, appetizers, and hors d'oeuvres. If your event has a theme, this is a great way to showcase that theme.

"Just like every event and guest list is unique, every caterer offers something unique too," says John Skehan, co-owner of Bourbon Street Bar and Grill. "By finding out the most you can in advance about your caterer, you are sure to have a memorable, easy, and streamlined day for you and your guests."

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