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  • Writer's pictureRaghu Lakshminaarayanan

Wedding Catering: Tackling Wastage of Food

The success of any Indian Wedding is greatly determined by the quality and spread of food that is served for all events. By far the Wedding caterer / Marriage caterer is largely responsible for a wedding being well remembered.

While on one hand curating the right menu keeping the type of guests in mind, extending great hospitality in every aspect and giving impeccable service in the dining area is important, another very important aspect of wedding catering is handling excess food and not wasting it.

Any professional wedding caterer in normal circumstances will not face the problem of wastage of food since their experience stands them in good stead to avoid making excess food. However, there are other circumstances that give rise to the situation of being left with extra food after all the guests have left.

It is a criminal waste of not only the client’s finances but also a terrible waste of precious resources. We are all aware of how some part of the population struggles to have just a meal a day. Under the circumstances it is indeed very sad if food is in excess with no one to consume it

Looking into this phenomenon one must primarily look at the reasons for it. First and foremost, *GET YOUR NUMBERS CORRECT – WELL ALMOST*. The client needs to have a clear idea on the number of guests invited and share the exact information with the marriage caterer in the planning stages itself. In case of multiple events happening before the main Muhurtham it makes sense to split your guests according to events and invite them accordingly.

RSVP is not a culture that has caught the fancy of Indians just yet. So, no formal confirmation can be expected from the guests early on. It is up to the host to calculate the right numbers and inform the wedding caterer accordingly. A certain element of trust must exist in the Client – caterer relationship to have a successful event. A comfort level must be reached where both discuss the numbers to be considered in detail. The wedding caterer is more experienced and hence detailed discussion will save a lot of money and resources from being wasted.

At times clients may feel that quoting a lesser number would be better because in case the number of guests is more it is the job of the caterer to manage. (They feel it is better this way than quoting a higher number and wasting food.) This can be done since there is always a margin to which every caterer works. But this can only go up to 20 % of guests in excess to the given number.

Handling additional guests with the same menu may not be possible if the menu contains exclusive dishes that cannot be made in a short span of time like Milk Sweets and Biryani varieties that need a good amount of time to prep and deliver. In case the number of guests far exceeds the given number then the wedding caterer will have to make quick arrangements to dish out the elaborate but slightly different menu without compromising on taste and quality

There are some clients who are wary of this happening and hence give a number that far exceeds the actual number of guests who turn up, leaving a whole lot of food wasted. Or for some extra ordinary reasons guests may not be able to reach the venue for a particular event leaving the host staring at an immense amount of food already cooked and ready.

In such a situation the onus of responsibility for disposing the excess food wrests on both the client and the caterer. Wedding Caterers generally have connections with social organisations and NGO’s who accept any excess food and put it to good use. But the time frame within which the decision to dispose of extra food also matters so that it benefits someone.

At Haritham we discuss and clarify with the client about the numbers prior to every event, on the day of the event. Our Master Chefs are extremely shrewd to gauge the flow of the crowd from the beginning and make amends quickly. In case of unforeseen circumstances like inclement weather or social situations we stay in touch with resources who can manage the excess food to benefit a lot of people. We revere food and ensure that it is a win-win situation for all.

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