Ensure that the person connecting the gas bottle to the barbecue is competent in the use of bottled gas, also keep children and less able adults at a safe distance – perhaps a chalkboard or notice could be displayed to this effect.
Organisation is the key to larger scale catering. Organise your staff accordingly and make sure they each know what their specific job will be.
Choosing the more extrovert members of your staff to be on duty will help to ensure a lively party atmosphere. Encourage them to put on a show.
Your menu should be well prepared in advance. Make sure you keep the fat content of the food as low as possible. Excess fat just causes flares and smoke which is the last thing you need at a large function. Try not to barbecue food straight from the fridge as this makes cooking through to the middle difficult.
Remember, customers are willing to pay extra for food off the barbecue, so capitalise on this.
Experiment! Try kebabs, salmon, marinated lamb or chicken satay on sticks. Always have a good supply of sauces, salads and coleslaw on hand. Baked potatoes are also very popular and can be cooked beforehand in a conventional oven. Remember the vegetarians amongst your guests, so try spicy vegetable kebabs, stuffed tomatoes baked in foil, or keep a vegetable risotto in a shallow tray on the go. Keep the party going with a dessert menu – bake bananas in their skins and serve with warm chocolate sauce, or wrap soft fruit in foil parcels, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for about 5 minutes & serve with crème fraiche.
For convenience you will find it much easier to use disposable plates and cutlery. Estimate the numbers required and add 50%. Make sure any items that require wrapping are done way ahead of time – and don’t forget the spoons for young children and if you are serving dessert.
It is so important that you devise a system and let everyone know what the system is! Will guests purchase a ticket in advance, or will they pay when they receive their food? Will the staff serve salads, potatoes etc. or will guests help themselves? These simple points will ensure that your event runs smoothly and with the minimum of effort on the day.
The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! Starting with music and carrying on the theme - think 60’s, 70’s or 80’s and have your customers crying out for more! Fancy dress is always a party winner - Pirates of the Caribbean and Wild West Nights to name just two! Barbecues are not just for summer – they are great for all outdoor activities and festivals. Easter Egg Hunts, Halloween and Bonfire Night are great examples.
Use your Social media to good effect and build excitement in the run up to the big day. Use your local newspaper; ‘What’s On’ notices will attract customers who may not have visited your establishment previously. Print a few colourful posters and ask other local businesses to display them in return for a free ticket. Don’t forget the most valuable free advertising of all ‘word of mouth’. Tell everyone you speak to about your planned barbecue – you may well be surprised by the response.
RELAX – YOU HAVE FOLLOWED OUR TIPS AND THE STAGE IS SET. WITH THE RIGHT ORGANISATION YOUR ONLY JOB NOW WILL BE THE BARE MINIMUM OF SUPERVISION. GOOD LUCK AND MAY YOUR PROFITS SIZZLE!