What do the London caterers need to be considering in the new COVID-19 event world?
Undoubtedly the world has changed in the past few months and no one seems sure which of these changes will last and what will go back to the pre COVID-19 “normal”. However, there will certainly be a period where catering services and London caterers will need to change how they go about serving guests. Seasoned has been working hard on making those changes so that they are ready for any events and any concerns that clients may have. These are just a few of the considerations that the team have been working on:
We have changed how canapés are served to lessen individual contact with the canapé tray and potentially the food on that tray. We are individually plating up canapés per person so that each guest has their own tray or plate with a collection of the selected canapés on it. We will be asking the organisers to let us know of any specific dietary requirements and then we can prepare them a separate plate to fit with their needs. Our staff will then hand each guest their canapé tray to enjoy individually.
Seasoned will be using a bar with pre-poured drinks for guests as they first arrive, this will again minimise contact but also keep the event flowing as we want to avoid queues to drinks and food service points because this will encourage a breakdown of distancing rules. Top ups can be made by our staff to keep the glasses full and the event flowing.
There is debate that these will be something that is lost in the new event set ups, possibly everything will move towards individually portioned meals, however, there are a number of good ways that buffets can be adapted to give a very safe service option and keep this lovely variety of food that you get from a buffet. Looking at the steps that retailers use in delis and cafes, the addition of covers to the front of the food service area will protect the food from the guests attending the event. The service of the food itself would move to the staff to plate up rather than let individuals help themselves, and cutlery and condiments will be individually wrapped and given out to reduce the contact with trays of knives and folks, and condiment bottles.
Seasoned have prepared a new selection of delicious lunch options that are individually portioned and they start from a simple sandwich bag and go to a luxurious bento box. These are pre-packaged and ready for guests to take in the lunch break and enjoy individually. Again dietaries, would need to be known in advance to prepare versions that will suit all of the guests attending. These portioned lunches can include anything from sandwiches, finger food items, sushi, salads, fork buffet food as well as snacks, drinks and desserts. It would just depend on the level of lunch that the organiser was looking to give their guests.
Tea & coffee service
We have already seen a number of the high street coffee chains moving back to just disposable cups for the time being rather than allowing customers to use their own reusable ones. It is such a shame that revert has taken place but understandable in the current situation. Seasoned, however, are able to provide a compostable, disposable coffee / tea cup for events which will help keep every safe at the event without throwing out our important environmental credentials that are so important to us.
Back of house
We have put in place new systems for the team which provides a safe working environment for everyone. This starts in the prep kitchen with our chefs and goes all the way through to the setup, running of the event and breakdown after the event. We have looked at the movement of the team during events and found ways to minimise their interaction and also the touch points throughout the venues. The team will have their own area of responsibly during the event and will stay in that position throughout.
At every event
We are now familiar with the supermarket and shop approach of sanitiser in use. Each event will have hand sanitiser units as guests arrive and throughout the venue giving guests a chance to clean their hands at any stage. Where there are likely to be queues, either coming into the venue or to get food or drinks (though at Seasoned we are looking to limit these situations as much as possible), the government guidelines on distancing will be respected and staff will be on hand to just remind guests. There will also be options that organisers can include if they would like, for example, face masks on arrival for guests and temperature tests. The most important thing is that they organiser, the venue and the caterer work together with the specifics of that event to find the safest and best solution to ensure the guests have a great event experience.