Warm summer weather creates an enjoyable atmosphere for outdoor events. But as our calendars begin to fill, it’s important to remember the additional challenges that come with these seasonal changes. At times, summer weather can be unpredictable, making it difficult to provide safe and appealing food for guests.
Luckily, there are a handful of things you can do to ensure all are impressed by your services. Here’s what to keep in mind as you prep for a summer of outdoor celebrations.
Have a backup plan
A summer day can quickly turn from warm and sunny to humid and rainy, so it’s best to have a plan B should any inclement weather alter your event. This means having adequate storage for all ingredients and being able to change your preparations on the fly. In addition, if a summer storm knocks out the power, you’ll still be in charge of ensuring guests are still adequately fed!
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The last thing you want is for your business to get caught off guard. In an industry where referrals bring in many potential clients, you’ll need to be mindful of circumstances that could impact your reputation. Discuss all logistics with your team beforehand to prepare everyone should an unexpected change occur.
Consider the venue carefully
Not all venues are as prepared for outdoor events as indoor events. If this is the case, you’ll want to ensure you have the space you need to properly serve each dish. One missing outlet or table could lead to spoiled ingredients or a change in your overall presentation.
Make sure you understand the venue's set up and speak to someone in charge before prepping your menu. They’ll let you know if they have appropriate power sources, as well as ovens, refrigerators, freezers, and additional spaces you’ll need for a successful event. You’ll also want to confirm there will be a safe place to dispose of any food, as a standard-size trash can simply won’t cut it.
Hire additional help
Understaffing became a serious issue for many businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but as you head into busy season, you must hire enough staff for each event. With additional outdoor space, guest lists can be in the hundreds, so you’ll want to have all hands on deck. Higher temperatures and humidity levels can make for uncomfortable working conditions, so be sure your employees dress appropriately as well.
Plan to place any food tables in the shade so your team isn’t working in direct sunlight. This keeps them comfortable and helps prevent your food from spoiling. You should also consider setting up a hydration station with water, lemonade, or iced tea for guests and team members alike. Give your staff members adequate breaks and ensure everyone understands the role they’ll play in the day’s timeline.
Use the right ingredients
Though all dishes can be served in the summer when prepared and stored correctly, some dishes are better suited for warm weather than others. For example, cold food items that must remain at a lower temperature, such as sushi and charcuterie meats, may not be the best options for your summer menu. Instead, think about using seasonal ingredients to create dishes that wow guests without much additional prep.
Consider opting for local ingredients to keep your dishes fresh and your guests satisfied as the event goes on. Heavier dishes can be tough to stomach on a hot summer day, so be mindful to keep meals light and easy to digest. Many caterers opt for grilling vegetables and meats rather than serving heavy pasta or meals loaded with carbs.
Seasonal weather can undoubtedly impact your plans, but it doesn’t have to detract from the quality of dishes you serve. Keep these logistical concerns in mind, prepare your team accordingly, and you’re sure to wow guests with your unparalleled service and culinary skills!
Lead photo: These tropical fruit parfaits from Sugar Beach Events are perfectly light and refreshing. Photo courtesy N V Maui Media