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HOLIDAY PARTY PLANNNG

A CATERED AFFAIR Here are some catering cues to prevent holiday party planning blues By ERIN THORBURN

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t may be the season to be jolly, but those tasked with holiday party planning may feel like their fa-la-la-lling behind. There are venues and menus to choose, dates to solidify and a todo list that would make Santa’s wish list pale in comparison. Partnering with a local catering company has helped many party planners get through the holidays (at least relatively unscathed). So how do some of Arizona’s favorite catering companies help businesses just like yours to prepare for a festive, fun and stressfree holiday party? ’Tis the time to calendar way ahead Typically, when planning a holiday party, especially a sizable event, it’s best to solidify your venue far in advance. “We begin booking holiday parties for the year as early as March,” says Pat Christofolo, president of Artisan by Santa Barbara Catering. “If you want your ideal date and vendors, it is always best to book far ahead. If your company is not able to begin planning until later in the year, you should always check which dates are available with your top vendor choices before settling on a date for your company gathering. This will make it easier for you to narrow down which dates are still available.” Christofolo also suggests considering hosting your company party on a weekday, versus a weekend. “Vendors may be able to offer discounts for these ‘off days,’” she says. “Our group starts booking holiday parties as early as August,” adds Christopher Collins, fourth-generation restaurateur and founder of Common Ground Culinary. “There are only so many days between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the entire neighborhood wants to plan business and family events. A lastminute booking means you may have to settle for a date or time that isn’t traditionally booked.” Chestnuts roasting and limited toasting The menu. Even looking at the word can be overwhelming for holiday hosts. After all, the meal criteria to consider feels infinite — budget parameters, food allergies, meal preferences, plated versus buffet.  To reduce that overwhelming feeling, take an honest appraisal at the event size. Small and intimate or gargantuan gala? “When it comes to smaller events, it’s beneficial for the host to select a small menu that guides the guest to pick something at a pre-determined cost point, versus letting the guest pick anything on the menu,” Collins says.  Plated dinners often work well for smaller holiday parties. Not

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AB | November - December 2019

Profile for AZ Big Media

AZBusiness November/December 2019  

Inside this issue of Az Business magazine, we celebrate Arizona Forward and its 50 years of impact. We look at some of the milestones in the...

AZBusiness November/December 2019  

Inside this issue of Az Business magazine, we celebrate Arizona Forward and its 50 years of impact. We look at some of the milestones in the...