A guide to planning the perfect company picnic

5 top tips for hosting a corporate picnic lunch

If you’re thinking of throwing a picnic for staff, suppliers or for business partners, there’s never been a better time of year. The sun is out (most of the time!) and it’s a great way to enjoy some delicious food, while having pleasant conversations and enjoying a bit of fresh air. It’s also the perfect opportunity to show your attendees a little appreciation for their ongoing contribution to the company.

Organising a company picnic is no walk in the park however, and it’s vitally important to be organised and have all your ducks in a row well before the event. So how can you guarantee that your fun, al fresco day out goes ahead without a hitch? Here are a few handy tips.

1. Choosing your picnic location

London is blessed with some wonderful outdoor spaces perfect for picnic and corporate BBQs, so it’s unlikely you’ll have trouble finding a venue. Think about areas in the vicinity of your office (or thereabouts) such as glorious green parks, refreshing waterside grassy knolls or a beautiful private garden filled with flowers. Areas with lots of leafy trees that will provide shade are good for the warmer months.

Don’t forget to look into whether you need to consider permits for some parks and outdoor locations, whether there are good bathroom facilities, bins and plenty of parking. If this all seems a bit daunting, contact one of our friendly events managers and they can take care of all these details and more for you.

Some location ideas to consider in London:

  • Hyde Park
  • Hampstead Heath
  • Kew Gardens
  • The Natural History Museum
  • Richmond Park

If you're outside of London, maybe you are closer to the coast and are able to enjoy a seaside corporate picnic, or even a national park.

corporate picnic - corporate BBQ catering

2. Planning your event details

Remember to keep a clear checklist of everything that needs to be organised.

Venue - tick!

See tip #1 for our advice on planning where to picnic. Would it be best to organise close to the office? For the unpredictable British weather it may be a good idea if you have a back up indoor location.

Date

Choose a date and time. Always be mindful of everyone's schedules, and ensure the maximum number of people can attend.

Attendees

Who will be invited? Will it just be internal guests, or can they invite a plus-one too?
Keep in mind when invitations will be sent out, and how they will be sent!

Budget

How much do you have to spend on food, and alcohol?
Do you need to ask the attendees to bring any of their own food or drinks along? For lower budgets, a great way to keep the costs down is to ask guests to bring their own alcohol.

Theme

Will you have a theme? A classic is just a British Quintessential Summer Picnic with all the usual food accompaniments.

3. Picnic catering

Take the hassle out of catering by ordering the food prior to the picnic and getting it delivered on the day. Forget running to the supermarket beforehand and carrying armfuls of cheese and dip to the location! It’s best to make sure you have somewhere cool to store meat, cheese, creamy salads and fruit, or alternatively, get everyone to dig in straight away.

Think about items that are easy to eat and don’t require too many utensils. Consider:

  • Delicious gourmet sandwiches and wraps
  • Tasty skewers with fresh grilled meats, tasty chicken skewers or crispy veggies and cheeses! You can mix it up with some fruit skewers too, covered in decadent dark chocolate.
  • Quiche and sausage rolls
  • Scotch eggs
  • Cupcakes and other dessert treats
  • BBQ meat and veggies. You can pre-order the meat so it’s ready for the day. Just be sure to get your designated chef to start cooking straight away or hand it over the experts who will grill the perfect snag
  • Crisps and dips
  • Fruit skewers, or cut fruit

Do not forget to cater for all food allergies and special diets your guests may have. Provide vegan burgers, gluten and dairy free options and if people are still concerned, it’s a good idea to label the food so that people know what they can and can’t eat.

4. Drinks on ice

Stock your eskies with tonnes of ice and have a wide selection of drinks on offer – enough that you’re certain you won’t run out. Order the drinks alongside the food to make things easier in terms of delivery and keeping everything cool.

Everyone knows that a BBQ isn’t complete without an ice cold beer, but make sure you also include refreshing, non-alcoholic options like:

  • Water - maybe infuse fruit for extra flavour
  • Bubbling soft drinks
  • Iced tea
  • Yummy juices

If you’re really looking to push the boat out, why not organise some cocktails to compliment your surroundings? Pimms is the perfect accompaniment to a sophisticated picnic, as are elegant champagne cocktails and even a light fruity punch.

cocktails for your picnic event

5. Entertainment for everyone

No, we don’t mean the dreaded egg and spoon race! Think about organising some gentle entertainment, such as a live band or even a special speaker to add an element of surprise to the proceedings.

Bring along a set of boules or a cricket set, so if people are looking to unleash their competitive side, they can.

Some entertainment ideas to consider:

  • Live music
  • A fun game of cricket
  • Frisbee
  • Scavenger hunt

Want to take the headache out of organising a corporate picnic? Let us handle everything for you — Get in touch with the catering experts at EatFirst today, or call us on 020 3890 2200.

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