With warmer weather and long evenings it's time to make the most of your outside space and the sunshine. Keep your party in full swing with 10 of the best summer catering hacks..
Whether it's outside your hotel, bar, restaurant or pub, we offer 10 simple yet effective tips that will make your summer hosting a breeze.
An ice maker is ideal for summery drinks and cocktails but what about your beer and wines?
Fill a large capacity bin with cold water, chuck in plenty of ice and keep your beverages chilled for the evening. Just give it an occasional top up throughout the night and drain off a little water from the top to maintain sub-zero temperatures.
There’s nothing quite like a delicious cocktail to cool your guests down and get them into the swing of the party. Get all the prep done beforehand with a little help from some pre-made syrups and purees and chalk up your cocktail menu on a funky arrow board pointing at the bar to save your staff repeating the choices for the rest of the evening.
3. Table linen
Themed parties are as popular as ever, and can include special occasions such as Birthdays and graduations but also themes by decade, casino, ancient Greece and 'back to school', to name a few. Go for a PVC wipe clean table cover for a wider choice of colours to match your theme, and also because they can be quickly and subtly wiped clean whilst your guests get better acquainted.
4. Know your measuresDid you know that the lines you see on disposable cups are there to help you measure different drinks volumes? Don't be too generous, stick to your limits and maintain your margins from the start.
5. Enjoy a pest-free setting
It's practically impossible to control flies and wasps outside as hard as you might try. As they love syrupy drinks, you can guarantee that where there is sugar, there will be children so pop an upside down cupcake case over the drink, stick a straw through it and make it into a fun drink for the kids whilst keeping the pests at bay.
Floating candles in Summertime not only keep the flies away, but produce a warm evening glow and a refreshing citrus scent too.
All you need for this are some mason jars, citrus peelings, a few herbs and some floating candles.
- Collect your peel and small cuttings of lemon, orange, cinnamon, lavender or rosemary according to your preference. Cut each piece into 2 inch sections to make sure that they don't bunch up at the top of the jars and overturn your floating candle.
- Add around 20 to 30 drops of the citronella oil to enhance the scent and the bug repelling properties.
- Top off your blend with hot water to warm your ingredients and awaken the scent. Allow the water to cool before taking the jars outside.
- Place your floating candles on top and light to enjoy a bug-free evening.
The faster method: If you're up against the clock, you can even cut some lemons in half and push some cloves into the flesh to form an effective deterrent.
6. Ambient lighting
At any party, your choice of lighting can easily set the mood and as the natural light starts to dim, can create a warm, inviting glow. Stick your candles into old wine bottles and place them on tables to set a relaxing tone. Another inexpensive, yet effective way to enhance the lighting is to wrap twinkly lights around tree branches. Stick-on spotlights also create a similar effect, and promotes safety as they can be attached to low walls or against steps to illuminate access and entrances.
Unfortunately there is no substitute for the work that goes into presentation, but what you can do is make it safer for your guests and avoid the risks of broken glass by using polycarbonate glasses for your desserts. They look just as good as luxury glasses and are easy to carry around in high volumes. Sorbets are also a great dessert to serve as all the preparation can be done in advance, plus it is an excellent palette-cleanser. Make your sorbet and scoop each portion into a half orange or lemon and pop it into the freezer so that's its ready to serve when you are. If you have a little extra space, and happened to be offering coconut or pineapple sorbet and ice cream, halving these creates a brilliant natural platform for your food too.
8. Scented charcoal
Although your barbecue will naturally produce smells which will whet your guests’ appetites, by simply adding a few springs of rosemary on top of your charcoal you’ll not only create an irresistible aroma but enhance the flavour of your food too.
9. Frozen fruitStrawberries and cherries not only look great on the plate, but also make an elegant addition to wine glasses too. Don't worry, they won’t water down the wine but will add a subtle hint of flavour, with a healthy snack left at the bottom of the glass.
10. Glow in the dark balloonsPlace a glow stick in each balloon before blowing them up or adding helium to create some extra lighting outside. Tie them to benches for a nightly glow that will instantly set the mood.
As a final word, don't forget to browse our new Furniture Centre, a one-stop shop for all furnishings at your venue, from top to bottom.
By Jeff Gibson