A Guide to Canape Catering
Organising a cocktail function and not sure how much catering to order or what to serve? Let our guide to canape catering assist you with planning your next corporate cocktail party.
Often the biggest concern for event planners when organising corporate event catering is ordering the right quantity of canapes to ensure their guests don’t leave hungry!
A key question when determining how many canapes to order for your next corporate cocktail party is how long the duration of your event is? Once you know the approximate timings another key consideration to take into account is the time of day of the event. Is it over dinner time? Pre-dinner? Or during the day?
Once you have the answers to these questions any experienced caterer should be able to provide you with expert advice to plan your finger food menu. If you plan to design your canape catering menu yourself here is what we recommend:
1-Hour Cocktail Party
The number of canapes to serve at a 1-hour cocktail party also depends on what time you choose to commence, if your guests are coming straight from work for a 6.00pm or 7.00pm start, they will no doubt be very hungry! If you are hosting your cocktail party right around dinner time, you should carefully consider your canape catering. Generally, we would recommend no less than 6 pieces of finger food and a mix of hot and cold canapes for a 1-hour cocktail party.
2-Hour Cocktail Party
Generally, we would recommend at least 9 pieces of finger food for a 2-hour cocktail party around dinner time. Again, we’d recommend including a mix of hot and cold canapes and possibly some ‘heavier’ or more substantial finger food items such as a taco, bao bun, bruschetta or ribbon sandwiches.
If the cocktail function is taking place earlier in the day (e.g. as an afternoon tea function or late afternoon, so the working day finishes at the conclusion of the cocktail party) then 9 canapes or substantial finger food items may be too much, in this case 6 – 8 canapes may be better suited considering the time of day.
3-Hour Cocktail Party
For a 3-hour cocktail party, we would recommend at least 12 canapes per person. Alternatively, you may want to add some substantial bowl food options; bowl foods are mini or handheld versions of traditional main course dishes such as pastas, noodle boxes, individual salads, sliders or fish and chips. If you choose to include bowl food catering in your menu then we’d recommend about 10 canapes per person with one or two bowl food options.
Just remember when adding bowl food options to your menu that they can be difficult to eat standing up with a drink in hand as they will require cutlery so some scattered bar tables, benches or chairs around the room may be useful. You may want to consider hiring furniture from one of Melbourne’s reputable event hire companies if you don’t have anything suitable available in your office.
4+ Hour Cocktail Party
It goes without saying that the longer your event duration, the more finger food items you will require. For longer cocktail parties; 4 or more hours, you should view it like a formal event where an entrée, main and dessert would usually be served. Consider the hot and cold canapes you’ll serve earlier in the evening start as your ‘entrée’, followed by your ‘main’ which would be a variety of handheld substantial bowl food dishes. And then to finish we’d consider some petit four style of sweets to serve as a stand-up dessert.
For longer cocktail parties, a food truck or some sort of food stall or cooking demonstration might be a fun addition to take your cocktail party to another level.
Now you know how many canapes to order depending on the timing of the event it’s time to decide what exactly to order….so where do we begin?
Canape Catering Menu Ideas
If you have a particular idea of the canape catering you would like to serve but don’t see them on your caterer’s menu do not fret! Most caterers can provide a bespoke selection of canapes that can be tailored to your event budget and taste.
Themed corporate cocktail functions are always popular and will add a bit of fun to your event. Popular cocktail function themes including Italian, Asian, Mexican, Vegetarian or BBQ-style; themed cocktail functions make menu design relatively easy and will be sure to impress your guests!
It’s also important to take into account dietary requirements when planning your finger food menu and include a mix of vegetarian, vegan, dairy free and gluten free canapes in the mix.
Cocktail catering can be tricky compared to a formal, sit down event where the server can easily identify where the guest with the dietary requirement is seated but if you include a number of canape options that are naturally vegetarian, gluten free etc. then you can easily cover off the main dietary concerns. If you need more information about catering for special dietary requirements please click here.
Bowl Food with Canape Catering
As previously mentioned, depending on the duration of the cocktail function you may also want to consider including bowl food items to the menu however if including bowl food catering you’ll need to have cutlery available and potentially some bar tables or benches for guests to place their drink on to while eating.
Other factors to consider when designing your canape catering menu include whether to offer a mix of hot and cold canapes cold only or hot only. We always recommend a mix of both, but some clients don’t have access to heating facilities onsite, so a completely cold canape menu is required or in winter a hot canape menu may be preferred.
Cocktail Party Beverages
When planning the perfect canape catering menu also take into consideration beverage selection, staffing requirements (do you need serving staff or will platters be made available for guests to self-serve) and heating facilities available onsite. Any reputable caterer should be able to assist you with planning all of these key elements for your corporate cocktail function.
If you are planning your next cocktail party and need to organise canape catering our team of foodies at Elizabeth Andrews Catering are here to help ensure that the menu is exactly what you are looking for and a guaranteed hit on the night!
We have a wide array of canapés that are sure to delight your guests, whether it be for a casual gathering with colleagues or a formal corporate cocktail function with clients or VIP guests.
For assistance with planning your next cocktail event contact us on 03 9670 4361 or order online here.