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History of Banquet

A banquet is a large meal or feast, complete with main courses and desserts. It usually serves a purpose such as a charitable gathering, a ceremony, or a celebration, and is often preceded or followed by speeches in honour of someone. The idea of banqueting is ancient (see Sellisternium, Belshazzar's Feast, and Mead halls) In the sixteenth century a banquet was very different from our modern perception and stems from the medieval 'ceremony of the void'. After dinner the guests would stand and drink sweet wine and spices while the table was cleared, or voided (Later in the seventeenth century void would be replaced with the French dessert). During the sixteenth century, guests would no longer stand in the great chamber whilst the table was cleared and the room prepared for entertainment, but would retire to the parlour or banqueting room. As the idea of banqueting developed, it could take place at any time during the day and have much more in common with the later practice of taking tea. Banqueting rooms varied greatly from house to house, but were generally on an intimate scale either in a garden room or inside such as the small banqueting turrets in Longleat House. Today banquets serve many purposes from training sessions, to formal business dinners. Business banquets are a popular way to strengthen bonds between businessmen and their partners. It is common that a banquet is organized at the end of an academic conference. A luau is one variety of banquets originally used in Hawaii. The Nei Mongol provincial government in China levies a tax on banquets.

History of Catering

Most people have been to an event that was catered by a professional catering company. Catering enters peoples lives during some of their most important times: weddings, baby showers and anniversary parties, just to name a few. Have you ever wondered just when catering actually started? Catering can be traced back to the 4th millennium BC in China. During this time in China as well as in Ancient Egypt, Greece and the prosperous times of the Roman Empire, catering was used to provide food for soldiers on transportation and trade routes. It was also critical in the Christian Pilgrimages to Rome and other travelers throughout Europe. During the Middle Ages catering spread throughout Europe and evolved into not only providing food for soldiers and travelers but for entertainment purposes for the upper classes. Catering and food service became so popular in the 14th and 15th century that Germany was the first country to put laws in place regulating quality of both food and beer.

Catering continued to flourish and in the mid 1800s Alexis Soyer invented the first catering boiler which used steam to help keep food warm. During the 19th and 20th century many more technical innovations, improvements in transportation, and growing populations helped catering become an important part of the national economy. Todays catering has evolved from simply providing food for travelers. Catering companies now pride themselves on not only providing appetizing food but also a visually appealing atmosphere, from the presentation of food to linens and decorations. Although the intent of catering has changed throughout the years, it continues to be a vital part of our society. Progress of Catering and Banquet

Events range from cheese lunch drop-off to full-service catering. Caterers and their staff are part of the foodservice industry. When most people refer to a "caterer", they are referring to an event caterer who serves food with waiting staff at dining tables or sets up a self-serve buffet. The food may be prepared on site, i.e., made completely at the event, or the caterer may choose to bring prepared food and put the finishing touches on once it arrives. The event caterer staff are not responsible for preparing the food but often help set up the dining area. This service is typically provided at banquets, conventions, and weddings. Any event where all who attend are provided with food and drinks or sometimes only hors d'oeuvres is often called a catered event. Many events require working with an entire theme or color scheme. A catering company or specialist is expected to know how to prepare food and to make it attractive. As such, certain catering companies have moved toward a full-service business model commonly associated with event planners. They take charge of not only food preparation but also decorations, such as table settings and lighting. The trend is towards satisfying all the clients senses with food as a focal point. With the correct atmosphere, professional event caterers with experience can make an event special and memorable. Beautifully prepared food alone can appeal to the senses of taste, smell, and sight - perhaps even touch, but the decorations and ambiance can play a significant part in a successfully catered event. Catering is often sold on a per-person basis, meaning that there is a flat price for each additional person. However, things like lighting and fire permits are not scaled with the guest count, so perperson pricing is not always appropriate. It is necessary to keep the cost of the food and supplies below a price margin in order to make a profit on the catering. As many others in the food service industry, caterers and their staff work long hours. It is not uncommon for them to work on holidays or 7 days a week during holiday event seasons.

A comprehensive, formal full-service catering proposal is likely to include the following timeline matters:

Rental arrival time Staff arrival time Bar open time Meal serve time Bar close time Rental pickup Out-of-venue time

Each of these factors affects the catering price. For example, a rental quote for an "anytime" weekday delivery is usually much more economical than an "exact-time" delivery.

General menu considerations: Clients may have specific dietary or religious needs to consider. these include Halal, Kosher, Vegetarian, Vegan and food allergy requests. Increasingly, clients are interested in food sustainability and food safety. Hors d'oeuvres: it should be clear if these are passed or stationary. Most caterers agree that three or four passed items are appropriate for the one-hour period prior to a meal. Meal Rentals: May include tables, chairs, dance floor, plants, tabletop (china, flatware, glassware, linens, chargers), bar glassware, serving equipment, salt/peppers, etc. It should be clear whether table and chair setup and take-down is included. Most rental companies do not automatically include setup and take-down in the rental charges. Labor: varies from caterer to caterer, but generally speaking, an event will have a Lead/Captain/Event Manager, a Chef, perhaps a Sous Chef or Kitchen Assistant, Wait staff and Bartenders. The labor on a plated dinner is generally much higher than the labor on a buffet, because a plated dinner involves double the china, and usually a minimum of three served courses, plus served coffee. Simply put, there's a lot more to do. To do it properly requires roughly 10 to 50% more staff. On a large event, this can be substantial, especially if overtime or doubletime applies. Service Charge: Sales Tax, Some quotes will include lighting,liquor permit, fire permits, draping, florals, valet and coat check. Many venues discreetly get a "cut" of the catering bill. Caterers are contractually committed to not disclose this fee specifically in their contracts with the clients. Therefore, catering will sometimes cost substantially more at one venue versus another. Also, caterers must compete with illegal operators. A legitimate caterer will have a business license and a health permit both showing the address of the place from which they do business.

In addition, many caterers will provide partial catering services in addition to full-service. Partial catering can include cooking and delivery of prepared foods, pre-cooked dishes for pickup at the caterer's location, and cooking, delivery and setup without service. In many cases partial catering can be an excellent and economical option to full-service catering.