3 Mistakes To Avoid When Planning an Office Event

Our catering team attended more than 340 office events in 2023. Team-building retreats, office breakfasts, cocktail events and simple get-togethers are all excellent to foster team spirit, boost employee morale, and create a positive workplace culture. Planning these events can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be a daunting task filled with potential headaches.

For this reason, we collected three of the most common mistakes we've noticed and some tips on how to avoid them as an organiser.

1. Going hard on booze

Is your event on a weekday afternoon? Consider opting for no booze. 

First of all, as the organiser, you will have a much easier job if your event is alcohol free. You won't have to worry about getting the booze, serving them and having enough glasses for them.

You might also notice that people leave events earlier if there is no unlimited alcohol on the table, which will make your job as a host much simpler.

Secondly, the real problem is culture. Opting for alcohol on professional events is the current mainstream not just in Europe but all over the world. When we treat alcohol as an essential part of a professional event, we leave people feeling it's an obligation to take a drink or two to blend in, and be part of the culture. In our experience, alcohol can also cause conflict between professional and unprofessional behaviour.

The best way to avoid this is opting for no booze and serve mocktails, soft drinks and other 0% beverages throughout your event.

2. Not enough glasses

Still considering serving alcohol? Make sure you reserve enough glasses then.

We've seen it too many times: Organisers reserving 100 wine glasses for an after-work with 100 guests but running out of glasses after an hour.

The average guest will opt for a new glass when taking another glass of wine. When there are many different types of drinks on an event, it's even more essential to prepare at least double amount of glasses than the guests you have.

We recommend calculating the minimum amount of glasses as follows:

  • Champagne glasses: guests x 1,5
  • White wine glasses: guests x 2
  • Red wine glasses: guests x 2
  • Water glasses: guests x 1,5

Increase the multiplier depending on how many different types of drinks you serve and you will be safe.

3. Wrongly estimating the food

The worst nightmare of any event host is not having enough food to offer to guests or running out of food mid-event. The other end is when guests are not hungry and you end up with tons of leftovers that you need to take care of. 

You can estimate the right amount of food by asking yourself: what do my guests do before my event?

Do not plan a big breakfast for guests who arrive straight from hotels. Chances are they already filled themselves, and a smoothie or fruit will be plenty to offer. If it's a company wide brekkie for employees or an early morning seminar, going big will most likely be a better choice.

If your event is an after-work and happening right after office hours, most people will be hungry for something small. Offering finger foods, salads and even sweet bites is a great option for afternoon occasions. Calculate between 3-8 bites per person, depending on your budget and event style. 

If your guests arrive from a physical activity like team sports or sauna, they will want something big. Go for big buffets and dinners.

Regardless of the event, we recommend offering the food right away when guests arrive. Offering food later, for example after a presentation or speaking session will make guests more hungry and they will be less inspired to pay attention to the ongoing program. Filled bellies equal happy, productive people.