Plastic Waste – Can Caterers Afford to Say No to Plastic? A Caterer Trying to Say No to Plastic & be Kind to the Environment

Plastic waste is damaging our planet.  As a caterer I undoubtedly contribute to the pollution of our planet and I want to stop. But – can I afford to stop using plastic as the alternatives are more expensive?  Although I enjoy catering, I work to earn money, and replacing the catering disposables I use with eco-friendly alternatives will cut into my profits. Will my customers embrace my efforts to be ‘plastic free’ and help absorb the increase in my costs? How much is it likely to cost me to say no to plastic?  Here’s what I found out.

Continue reading “Plastic Waste – Can Caterers Afford to Say No to Plastic? A Caterer Trying to Say No to Plastic & be Kind to the Environment”

Caring Caterers – Five Examples of Caterers helping the Homeless

Caring Caterers across the UK are providing the homeless with free food but it is often difficult to find out who these caterers are.  Newspaper headlines sometimes report on these caterers; similarly they report on those who refuse to serve the homeless.  Here I showcase some of those caring caterers and I have just added the five examples given in this post.

Caring Caterers - Five Examples of Caterers Helping the Homeless

Continue reading “Caring Caterers – Five Examples of Caterers helping the Homeless”

Wedding Savings: Don’t call the Caterer

Wedding catering is expensive.  The catering together with the venue hire are likely to be the most expensive part of your wedding. You will cherish fond memories of your wedding day for the rest of your life, but is there a way to reduce the costs? Do you really need to call the caterer? Continue reading for 10 ways to cut the catering costs for your wedding reception.

According to a survey in 2017 of 4,000 brides, the average UK wedding now costs £27,161 – the highest it’s ever been.  Venue hire is revealed as the most expensive cost at an average of £4,354, followed by the honeymoon, and then the food at an average of £3,353 (  The Bride’s Magazine puts the catering costs as high as £3,959.

What is a Wedding Reception?

Wikipedia describes a wedding reception as a party usually held after the completion of a marriage ceremony as hospitality for those who have attended the wedding, hence the name reception: the couple receives society, in the form of family and friends, for the first time as a married couple.

Traditionally it was the bride’s parents who paid for the wedding reception – and that included the venue hire, food and drink. Nowadays it’s more common for the cost to be shared by both sets of parents and the couple getting married. However, in the current economic climate with stagnating wages for many; increasing living costs; lack of accommodation for first time buyers and with student debt, a lot of couples are finding it difficult to finance their dream wedding. Why forfeit a house deposit or risk getting into debt for one day?

10 Ways to Cut Catering Costs for your Wedding Reception

  1. An obvious way to reduce your costs is to limit the number of your guests to the wedding breakfast.  Menus are priced per head, so naturally it would be cheaper to feed 50 people than 100. 
  1. Have a buffet instead of a sit down meal. This reduces the staffing costs and is also easier to cater for vegetarians and vegans. You can always decide to have a waiter/waitress for the top table and let the other guests help themselves. The typical ratio of waiting staff to guests is 1:10 and normally you cannot hire anyone for less than four hours.
  1. Tell your caterer that you have a budget and ask what they could provide for your budget.  Most caterers are happy to work with you to keep your costs down.
  1. Don’t overfeed. Again your caterer can help with this. Also, if you marry later in the day your guests will not want so much to eat in the evening. You could get away with a smaller buffet e.g. a cheeseboard, for your evening guests and your not so hungry earlier guests.
  1. When you choose a venue for your wedding reception it is often more expensive if you have to use their in-house caterer. Competition between caterers can invariably bring the costs down, so try to choose a venue that does not tie you to a particular caterer.
  1.  Why not try street food?  These are estimated to be typically 75% cheaper than the average typical caterer (according to Prices tend to start at £7 per head and many can cater for weddings indoors as well as outside. The type of food the offer is varied:
  1.  If you have friends and family that are willing to help, it is possible to do it yourself.  You do not have to call the caterer!  This could be in the format of an afternoon tea – where a station is set up spread with homemade cakes and tea. Alternatively, you could set up a number of tables specialising in different foods, e.g. a salads table, a cold meat table, a hog roast, a cheese and biscuits table, a desserts table, etc.  A DIY hog roast from Don’t Tell Porky’s costs approximately £280 for 50 guest portions or £340 for 100 guest portions)
  1. A mixture of DIY and street food. Here you could call upon friends and family to prepare some items, such as a cheese and biscuits table or a desserts table, and hire a street van for other items. The variations on this theme are many.
  1. If you have a catering college near you it is possible they may be able to help you reduce your catering costs – it is worth an enquiry.  They may be able to cater for your whole event, or they may be able to assist you with providing the staff for your event.
Wedding Savings: Don't call the caterer
  1. Wedding Cake.  These are traditionally expensive to buy, and in fairness it is labour intensive to make and the ingredients are expensive. It is usually recommended to set your budget at £500 for a three tier wedding cake.  There are however alternatives – from sponge cakes to cupcakes, although these can work out expensive too. The cheapest alternative would be to have a desserts table with cakes and desserts made by friends and family.

You don’t have to call the caterer for your wedding reception. Everyone wants their wedding day to be perfect – it is after all a celebration of two people’s love and commitment to one another. But no one wants to start their married life in debt. If money is no object, then the world is your oyster – but if you are watching the pennies then there may be a need to compromise.  Most people realise that weddings are expensive, and true friends and loving family members just want to make memories of joy and happiness for you both to remember.  If you can afford to, you’ll probably want to be pampered on your special day and you don’t want to be too tired or stressed to enjoy yourself – but there are ways you can cut the costs for your wedding catering. Also, you may want to provide ‘doggie bags’ for any food left over, or alternatively donate the waste food to those who are less fortunate (for more information click here link to previous blog 30/11/17)

If you enjoyed this post I’d be grateful if you would share it on Twitter. Thank you.

Caterers and Food Waste – what can a caterer do?

How caterers can help people suffering from food poverty and help save the environment.

Caterers tend to be very busy this time of year – ordering and preparing food to serve to their customers who are celebrating the advent of Christmas. But how much of this food will be wasted? How much will end up in landfills? Could some of the food be given to the homeless or others suffering from food poverty? I’m writing this blog because there are caterers who divert food destined for the landfill and make it available to those people in need, and I thought it might be of interest to you.

Continue reading “Caterers and Food Waste – what can a caterer do?”

10 ways a caterer can help with homelessness and foodbanks

Homelessness is increasing significantly and foodbank use continues to rise. What can a caterer do to help?  There are already a number of caterers helping others, so I decided to write  a detailed post about what they do in the hope that it helps other caterers who may be thinking that they too want to help.
  • 47 is the average age of death of a homeless person (Crisis)
  • 4,134 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night (Homeless Link)
  • 132% rise in rough sleepers since 2010 (Crisis)
  • 16% rise in rough sleepers since 2015 (Crisis)
  • Over 125,000 homeless children living in Britain today (Shelter)
  • 62% of single homeless people may not show up in official figures (Crisis)
These are just the statistics – the human suffering is immense. How many homeless people are there where you live and shop? How many pass by your cafe or restaurant on a daily basis?  As a caterer, could you help just one person?

Continue reading “10 ways a caterer can help with homelessness and foodbanks”

Is there a caterer who can save you money?

My aim is to save you money and to spread a bit of kindness.

We all need food to survive. We don’t have a choice – or do we?  Can a caterer make a difference?

Suits have choice caterer
A quote from Harvey Specter of Suits – ‘You always have a choice’ got me thinking.
(For those of you who have never heard of Harvey Specter, he plays the smooth, over-confident and hugely successful lawyer in the TV series Suits, with memorable one-liner quotes).

  • Does this apply to food? Yes it does. Some people are forced to make a choice between paying the rent or eating. Others are making choices to eat cheaper fast foods instead of more nutritious ones.
  • Does this apply to a caterer? Of course it does. From baking a cake, when you choose the recipe, ingredients and utensils you will use, to choosing a caterer to provide your wedding breakfast, you always have a choice.

If you have no financial constraints then the choice you make is relatively straightforward. The problem occurs when you know what you need or want but can’t afford it.

The important thing to remember here is that you may still have a choice – there may be other ways for you to get what you want. There may be others that can help (caring caterer’ ). You may have to ‘think outside the box’ and/or compromise, but there are often alternatives for you to consider.

I’m here to help you look at the alternatives.  Hopefully, as this site grows, others will come up with suggestions too. Continue reading “Is there a caterer who can save you money?”