Accommodating Dietary Restrictions at Your Next Event
Whether it's a personal preference, religious restriction, sensitivity, or an actual allergy, if you're planning the catering for an upcoming event or corporate meeting, you need to be prepared for the various dietary restrictions of your guests. What was once an exception has now become the norm, and successful corporate event planners are well-prepared ahead of time to meet the various needs of their attendees.
If you're planning a sit-down meal, you'll have to find out from your guests ahead of time any food restrictions to ensure everyone has an option to satisfy their personal requirements. But what if you don't have the luxury of asking each guest ahead of time?
First, take a moment to learn the different dietary restrictions you may encounter during your planning. This article from Healthline does a great job detailing the 10 most common dietary restrictions you should know before planning your next event.
An experienced event planner knows the key to a great event is successfully feeding hungry guests. And the catering community has taken the changing dietary needs of guests to heart and is ready to offer menu alternatives to please your participants. Food trucks are a great option if you're hosting a function with varying dietary needs or don't have the opportunity to know guest needs beforehand.
Our friends at Sunshine Alchemy have created a diverse menu and established a process to ensure diners have access to great food that is both traditional and vegan friendly. We sat down with the truck owner, Jasmine Beck, and asked:
What are some of your most popular dishes?
People love our version of The Impossible Burger- we make our own ketchup and our signature "Sunshine Sauce" combined with red onion, tomato, and lettuce. We offer authentic cheddar cheese or Teese vegan cheddar.
Our Over-the-Top Tots are also a huge hit! Fresh and crispy tots served with the guest's choice of protein: Impossible taco meat, housemade BBQ Jackfruit, and now slow-roasted pulled chicken as well. We top the meat with our vegan sauces (chipotle aioli and cilantro avocado crema).
We smother taco meat and chicken in authentic queso cheese sauce, and the vegan Jackfruit has pickled red cabbage and a touch of hot sauce. These items are all gluten-free; in fact, we have a completely gluten-free fryer on the truck.
What are the main ingredients you use in your menu?
We use a lot of plant-based meat. I love the Impossible brand and have been serving it for over four years. We use tofu in our homemade sauces, making them vegan and delicious! We use lots of avocados and make our guacamole and sauces fresh daily. People love tater tots, nachos, and sweet potato fries as well. We serve lots of fresh, delicious gluten-free crispy finger foods.
What is your process for handling the dietary needs of your customers?
Properly handling the many needs of our customers is of the utmost importance to us! We make sure we don't cross-contaminate tools or serving utensils. We take our guests' dietary needs and allergies very seriously.
We keep all of our plant-based meat and chicken separately stored in individual steam tables, and we never put the chicken on the grill. Our grill and fryer are entirely vegetarian.
If a guest has an allergy, we communicate that to everyone working on the truck. Clearly highlighting the allergy on the ticket and making a note on the tablet as we ring in the order, we continuously over-communicate the allergy or restriction until the order is complete and the guest is served.
The Sunshine Alchemy team is committed to quality, safety, and the overall guest experience. Asking the right questions and ensuring staff members are thoroughly trained on ingredients and common allergens are our methods to ensure we get it right every time.
Thanks, Jasmine! With a little pre-planning and selecting the right caterer for your event, you can not only manage but delight your guests with a variety of menu options to serve even the most particular of palates.