Food waste for blogMake no mistake about it — food and beverage can make or break an event. A good rule of thumb is to devote at least 20 percent of your event budget to tasty morsels and delicious drinks, so it’s more important than ever to curb food waste at your event.

The good news is that minimizing food waste and maximizing your budget doesn’t have to be a hassle — below are a few easy ways to ensure you’re honing in on the appropriate amount of food to serve for your event.

Tip 1: Poll attendees, exhibitors and speakers on what and when they prefer to eat and if they have any dietary restrictions.

You might be surprised to learn that 50 percent or more of your attendees don’t eat breakfast or 25 percent of your group consists of vegetarians. Don’t guess; find out when they eat and what they want. Not only will you be able to plan meals your attendees will eat, but you won’t inflate your food budget with last-minute menu changes.

Tip 2: Find out the final cutoff date to submit your guarantee.

Weeks in advance, sit down with the venue’s catering or conference services manager and choose your menu based on attendee requests. At that time, find out when is the last day to submit the food and beverage guarantee. The usual time frame is between three and five business days before an event, but ask to make certain so you can give the best number on the cutoff date.

Tip 3: Select plated service for meals and butler service for receptions.

Many groups choose buffet or food stations over plated service because they think it will save money. While it may be a little less costly, a buffet can cause a huge amount of waste because once the food is in the chafing pan it cannot be donated.

Tip 4: Look at your history.

Schedule a debrief with the catering manager after your event to determine any insights. They should be able to share what items were popular, along with ones that weren’t. Keep an accurate record of this to use for future planning. In addition, you can incorporate a food and beverage question in your outgoing attendee survey to get more information.

Tip 5: Donate your leftovers — but first find out about the health regulations.

Many local shelters, food kitchens and charities are always looking for donations. If you have extra food, look into ways you can assist these organizations. One thing to keep in mind is that donation rules and regulations vary by state, and sometimes even by county, so be sure you’re up-to-speed on requirements prior to donation.

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Is Committed to Reducing Food Waste

At Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, we take pride in our food and beverage offerings. Our catering is top-notch, and we can accommodate for any style — from fine dining to casual dining, grab and go, and more. For more information, contact one of our group sales professionals at 855.411.4605 today or visit