Cafe Services’ Five Top Tips For Throwing A Successful Holiday Office Party Categories: Corporate Cafeteria (9), Corporate Catering (4), Food Service Case Studies (25), Food Service Management (11), Health & Wellness (13), Self-Checkout Micro Markets (2) Share this story, Choose your platform! ‘Tis the season when Café Services’ corporate food service management clients in Connecticut and across the northeast show their appreciation for employees and celebrate the year’s accomplishments by throwing a holiday party. The annual corporate holiday party can be a merry, memorable occasion that spreads goodwill, nurtures interpersonal relationships and helps employees feel valued. With the right planning and special touches, it can also be the company event workers look forward to every year. Few Connecticut corporate food service management companies have mastered the holiday office party like Café Services. Café Services has a flair for staging events that are unique to the occasion and reflect the spirit of the corporate culture. Annual BIC Holiday Event Highlights Café Services’ Flair for Special Event Planning The annual holiday event at the North American headquarters of BIC Consumer Products in Shelton, Connecticut is the perfect example of Café Services’ event talents. At this year’s party on December 4, Café Services and BIC went all out to make a memorable impression with bold, festive décor, head-turning food stations and classy, impeccable service. But behind all the trimmings and smiling faces, was a year’s worth of careful planning and hands-on work led by Café Services. Dan Bentley, Café Services District Manager and Larry Finney, Café Services Executive Chef, share their top five tips for hosting a successful, corporate holiday party: Plan in advance while details of the last event are still fresh.The holiday party at BIC is a long-standing annual tradition. To make sure the party doesn’t lose its luster year-after-year, Café Services and BIC meet in January to kick off planning for the next year. “We review what went well and what we can change,” says Bentley. “One change we made this year was switch out our Asian Stir Fry Action Station with a more seasonal Risotto Action Station. To speed up lines at the food stations, we spread our three Action Stations across two rooms, instead of putting all in one.” Assign responsibility for every task and bring in extra hands.At a party, there’s a big difference between an air of excitement and frenzy. To avoid the latter, Café Services brought in extra servers and culinary professionals and assigned a point person for every task—from food ordering to cooking to renting equipment to decorating and serving. This is especially important the day of the event. Explains Finney, “We value the mutually-rewarding relationships we build with our clients and diners. The last thing we want is to look like we’re running around like chickens with our heads chopped off.” Create a space that encourages mixing and mingling. Co-workers that get to know each other personally work better together and are happier on the job, which is good for company performance and careers. The annual holiday party is just one of many social functions BIC hosts over the course of the year. To keep guests circulating, Café Services got rid of the dining chairs and had guests eat and socialize standing at 40 tallboy cocktail tables scattered about the room. Eye-catching buffets stacked high with layers of imported and domestic gourmet cheeses and seasonal dips and crudités lured guests from station to station—delicious deterrents to lingering too long at any one place. Engage employees with a fun challenge. Last year, it was an ugly sweater contest. This year, the special attraction was an employee bake-off with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Café Services served the winning desserts alongside chef/manager, Tim Foley’s “white chocolate mousse martinis,” petite fore display and gourmet hot chocolate bar. Deliver spectacular food and service. “If the food and service are great, everything falls into place,” says Bentley. Finney planned the BIC holiday party menu a month in advance with input from Foley and Café Services Director of Culinary, Stephen Rice, choosing a rich variety of creative foods in the colors and flavors of the season. Finney favors big, bold food displays anchored by a holiday-themed centerpiece. To appeal to different tastes and diets, he designed the menu around three, chef-attended stations that served up a mouth-watering selection of carved meats, risottos and pastas. Passed hot and cold hors d’oeuvres gave the party an upscale feel and that extra special service touch. “Café Services does a lot of parties,”says Bentley. “We approach each one as if it’s the most important event of the year, and that makes all the difference.” Share this story, Choose your platform! I’ve been born and bred corporate dining and corporate catering from the very beginning of my career in the Silicon Valley and now, since 2001 in the Boston Metro Area. While working my way up through the ranks, all the experience has led up to my current position as the Corporate Executive Chef for Café Services, based out of Manchester, NH. I have the privilege to be able to utilize creativity, research and technology to dream up our company’s new culinary programs and custom menus for corporate cafeteria clients and bring them to life. Café Services supplies the resources to ensure success of our ever-evolving companywide culinary initiatives and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. Seeing the success of new programs in the field is my motivation. It’s a win win.