Winter Catering: 7 Need-to-Know Tips & Tricks

The temperatures are dropping, the frost heaves are forming and snow is on its way. Love it or hate it, winter is coming, and unfortunately, the weather is out of our control. We know that’s inconvenient, but it’s a sad winter fact. The best caterers and hospitality professionals make it work, however, by planning around it, for it and in spite of it. There’s one thing for certain: Winter does not trump a well-organized caterer. Here are 7 tips and tricks that will help you better battle the winter season for all of your hospitality events:

1. Bitter Temperatures

Scarves, mittens and fur wraps - just some of the apparel you’ll see at your winter events. It’s important to remember that these warm accessories require hooks and coat racks to hang them. Coat checks also work and offer someone on your staff an opportunity for tips (and extra money for holiday shopping!). Plus, your servers will thank you for not having to navigate around bulky coats on the backs of chairs and fallen gloves around the tables.

2. Prepare & Brief

Take initiative and sit your guest contact down before the big day to have a real conversation about winter weather and how it could affect their event. No one wants to think about a rainy or snowy event, but take it from us, it’s better to be prepared and on the same page than it is to get caught with your linen down.

3. Go Valet

Consider hiring (or incentivizing with candy canes!) a valet service to help park cars for guests as they arrive. If the weather is sleeting rain or bone-chilling cold, guests will be more than happy to tip a young’n for not having to walk to the venue from the parking lot.

4. Tough Mudder

Even if the entire event is inside and all precautions are taken to ensure a warm, cozy event, don’t forget that shoes will track mud into your venue quicker than you can say: “Oops, I forgot the welcome mat.” Even a makeshift sign stuck to a sleek, chrome stanchion will remind guests that mixing snowy shoes and dance floors only results in one thing: a slippery spill!

5. Warm ‘Em Up

Serve something hot! Soups (served in modern teardrop bowls!) and hot ciders go a long way on cold nights. Guests will adore you if they are welcomed to an event with warm beverages and fiery food. This may also be the time to test out those spicy dishes you haven’t yet found an opportunity to serve!

6. ‘Tis the Seasonal Decor

Winter seasonal decorations are never overdone, so consider adding a tasteful dose of snowflakes into your tablecloths, napkins or centerpieces. It’s absolutely fitting to infuse winter symbols such as pinecones (the ones that smell like cinnamon!), white trees, holly leaves, frosted windows, and snowmen. There are many more, so have fun with it, because winter only comes once a year!

7. Music Forecast: Wintry Mix

If you need to make a playlist for a winter catering event, don’t be shy about playing some classics like, “Winter Wonderland” (by Dean Martin or our favorite, Michael Bublé!). In our eyes, we only get a few weeks to enjoy some good ol’ winter music, so play them loud and proud to set the scene for your guests!


We hope these catering tips and tricks help you stay warm and cozy during your winter hospitality events. With the winter season now upon us, it’s important to be prepared for all of your holiday events. The best way to be prepared? Partner with an event products supplier for all of your last minute items and orders! 

Do you have any winter event ideas we missed? We’d love to hear them! Send us your tips and holiday event pictures on the IEP Facebook page! We wish you a merry holiday season!