Special Food Requests
You must ask the host how many vegetarians there will be and how strictly vegetarian they are. If the host doesn't know, he must find out from his guests if anyone is vegan, or if the vegetarian guests will eat fish or poultry. Special vegetarian meals should be prepared for these guests. Vegetarian guests should not have to “make do” by eating only meat-free side dishes such as rice, pasta, and vegetables.
You'll also need to know if any of the guests keep kosher or avoid other foods like pork, nuts, shellfish, berries, or egg whites because of religious practice or food allergies. Make it clear on your proposal that special requests must be made, if any, no later than one week prior to the event, so that you have time to modify any recipes and test them. Let clients know that special requests can't be changed, since they require more advanced preparation.
With obesity rates in the United States at an all-time high, keep fat and calorie content per serving in mind when choosing recipes. Offer a lower-calorie alternative at each meal, so that guests can make healthier choices while still enjoying themselves. Avoid trans fats whenever possible and use shortenings that do not contain hydrogenated oils.
Make it a practice to ask the host if there will be any diabetic guests. This will alert you to prepare some modified recipes, allowing all guests to enjoy every dish, including dessert. The number of people in the United States living with diabetes, including children, is quickly growing. Clients will appreciate your ability to easily accommodate diabetic guests with delicious dishes. Offering a specialized menu for children will also help differentiate you from other caterers.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with foods that are diabetic friendly. Diabetics can tolerate foods that are higher in fiber and whole grains. Also, foods that don't raise the body's glycemic index too much are better for diabetics. Splenda sweetener and other non-sugar sweeteners are good choices for desserts.
Ask your client about food allergies. Food allergies are fairly common, and your host may not know every guest's medical history, but you can work to accommodate guests with specific allergies if you know about them before you begin planning the menu.
Protect yourself as much as possible from litigation by being properly insured, incorporated, and by stating on your proposal that your catering company is licensed and takes the greatest care with food safety. Individuals with allergies should be aware that foods are prepared in a facility with nuts, dairy, wheat, and berries.