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Catering Your Party or Event in Indonesia

If you are planning functions during your stay in Indonesia - you can get a lot of help so that it isn’t a high stress affair! With the help of a professional caterer and event organizer, planning your next event can be as easy as making one phone call. Even small private functions at personal homes can be easily catered, leaving the host and hostess free to totally enjoy the festivities.

Usually we think of a caterer as being responsible for supplying only the food for an event; but a professional caterer can actually help you with all your planning, providing the organization as well as the professionally trained staff that will ensure a successful event. The employment of a caterer is not limited to only private affairs such as birthday parties’ anniversaries, engagements or house warming events. Many office and business functions can be easier handled by a professional. Events such as soft or grand openings of stores, product launchings, golf events, office meetings or business holiday gatherings can all run smoothly with the collaboration of a professional catering service.

Catering is offered by many of the main hotels in Jakarta as well as Jakarta’s best restaurants. Many are willing to provide off-menu offerings as well as their professional staff to assist at your function.

After you have contacted a caterer, they will usually ask for an initial meeting to determine what kind of party you are planning, where you would like it to be, your food and decorating preferences, and how many guests you are planning to invite. It is important that you give as much information as possible to the caterer in this meeting to avoid misunderstandings or problems later. A caterer will consider all these matters to help determine how much space you will need for preparing and serving the food. A professional catering company can also suggest a variety of appropriate menus for your event.

Decide on the Venue

In some cases the event will determine the venue - such as the grand opening of an office or store; but in most cases the location of a function can be almost anywhere. If there is not a kitchen on location, or the kitchen is too small to accommodate the number of guests invited, your caterer can bring stoves and cooking paraphernalia to your location. If it is an open air function, caterers can help you with contacting people to tent the area to protect your guests from the sun or potential rain that could ruin your event. If the party is to be held in a private home, often a work area is needed in addition to the kitchen to accommodate the back end activities of the party (dirty dishes, raw material refrigeration, and the backend staff that is responsible for the smooth running of the event). If the initial meeting is not held on site, it is best to visit the venue together with the caterer as soon as possible so potential problems can be discussed and planned for.

Determine the Number of Guests

The number of guests will determine what size of venue you will need and the amount of food that will be needed to be ordered. It is standard practice for a caterer to allow for approximately 20 more people than was agreed on in the contract. However, if an excessive number of guests arrive than what was planned for - it might turn into an embarrassing situation for host/hostess. It is important to be as accurate as possible. Normally you will be expected to pay for the minimal number of guests that you had committed to in the contract prior to the event, but if more guests arrive, the caterer should check with the host/hostess to ask if they want to add more food, if they are in a position to do so.

Types of Food

The type of food and drinks that you will be serving at your party will influence space, staff needed and set up. At a cocktail event you may need staff to circulate with drinks and appetizers. If you are planning on serving a full meal, you may need buffet tables set up or tables with chairs for guest seating. Most caterers can supply you with all the equipment needed. Tables, chairs, silverware, glasses, and serving dishes are all things that they have on hand and will set them up in accordance with your wishes. Caterers can skirt all of the tables as well as bring flowers to decorate and add a festive look. Depending on the type of food requested, the cooking of the food can be very interesting to watch. A showy pizza maker or a skilled sushi chef can also be a source of entertainment for you guests; these special dish preparations can be viewed at different booths.

At some parties you may want to serve alcoholic beverages. Please be aware that most Indonesians do not drink alcohol, so a variety of soft drinks and fruit juices should always be made available. Your caterer can supply a stocked bar with wine, beer, and the fixings for cocktails and a bartender to fulfill guests’ requests. They can also arrange for beer on tap. Some caterers will also assist with corkage and serving, if you supply your own wine. These details should be discussed prior to signing the contract with your caterer, so you do not have any last minute surprises.

Contracts with the Caterer

Although different catering companies have different policies these are a few guidelines for signing a contract with your caterer.

After the details of the party have been discussed and agreed on the caterer will ask for a signed contract and a 50% down payment. If the down payment is a large amount, a bank transfer is normally acceptable within 1 or 2 days after the contract has been signed. The remaining balance is normally payable on the day of the party when all charges have been calculated.

When you sign a contract, be aware that there are normally fees for cancellation. Specific terms vary with different caterers. Generally, if there is a cancellation 1 week prior to the event then 30% of the estimated bill is payable. If the contract is canceled 2 days prior to the event then 50% of the estimated bill is payable, and if the event is canceled 1 day prior to the event, the total estimated amount is payable.

Three days prior to the event it is advised to have a technical meeting with the caterer for a final review of the details of the party. Things discussed in this meeting could include set up times, permits, access to the building via service elevators, confirmation of the number of guests, itinerary of the events and serving times.

Keeping all of these tips in mind, jump in and start planning your next party!