The Do's and Don'ts of Corporate Parties

Have you or your business started making corporate party plans for the upcoming holiday season? The holiday season is right around the corner and getting closer every day. You still have plenty of time, but you don’t want to let it get away from you. If you haven’t already started planning your corporate party, we promise you’ll feel much less rushed (and stressed) if you start planning now. Planning corporate parties that dazzle your guests requires time, energy, and effort.

The most memorable part of most corporate parties is the food and drinks. More specifically, it’s what you serve your guests – and whether they like what you’re serving – that makes your party successful…or not. Knowing what to serve and what to avoid serving at corporate parties can easily make or break these events.

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These are some “do’s” and “don’ts” to keep in mind when planning corporate parties:


Don’t: Forget to include menu options for vegetarians or guests with other dietary restrictions. Keep in mind that some guests may have food allergies or intolerances.

Do: Include labels (for buffets) or provide main ingredient information on menus. This will help your guests avoid any dietary mishaps or allergic reactions.

We go into detail about food allergies in our article, “Common Food Allergies,” if you would like to learn more about them.


Don’t: “Wing it” and hope you have enough food and drinks – as well as choices – for your attendees.

Do: Plan ahead. As Karin Greenberg recommends in her article for Celebrate with Style, take time to meet with a catering company (like Chef Du Jour Catering), a restaurant manager and/or a chef who has plenty of experience in catering corporate parties. They are more than happy (and qualified) to discuss the food and other important details which are specific to your corporate party.


Don’t: Worry about serving alcohol, if it’s appropriate for your corporate culture and employees.

Do: Consider these important guidelines when providing alcohol at corporate parties:

  • Serve food for the duration of the event, starting with appetizers, so employees are not drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Offer a variety of non-alcoholic beverages, including water.
  • Consider serving only beer and wine and no liquor. Avoid serving drinks such as punch which may limit an employee’s ability to assess how much alcohol he or she is drinking.
  • You can use drink tickets (or another informal method of tracking the amount of alcohol served) as a way of limiting the number of drinks the company provides.
  • Limit the amount of time you keep the bar open. For example, consider closing the bar during dinner, then close it down at a reasonable time before the end of the party.
  • Hire and use trained bartenders to serve alcohol at your corporate party. Never allow employees to serve their coworkers and never provide a “DIY” beverage bar that includes alcohol.
  • Make sure your bartenders know fully well not to serve alcohol to any person who appears intoxicated. As well, they should know not to serve alcohol to underage employees.
  • Arrange in advance for designated drivers and taxis for those employees who need them.

Information Source: [About.Com/Money/Human Resources “15 Employer Tips about Serving Alcohol at Company Events“]


Do: Consider having a themed event appropriate for corporate parties. Your employees work hard all year; a fun party theme helps encourage them to relax and helps boosts morale. Make plans to serve relevant food and beverage choices that fit with the theme you choose.

Don’t: Choose themes which may potentially alienate or offend your guests. When in doubt, check with your human resources department.


And finally:

Do: Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy yourself! You’ve done a lot of work preparing and planning for this corporate party, so you should have a good time, too!


If you’re in the Portland-Metro area and interested in having your next event catered, please give us a call. We’re happy to discuss our creative corporate party menu options or any event needs you have.


Featured image photo credit: county marquees via photopin cc