Casual Corporate Event Ideas

Not every corporate affair or event has to be a formal one. There are plenty of occasions that call for a more casual setting and may even allow you to leave the black tie at home. Here’s a look at some more casual ideas for your next corporate gathering.

These affairs may not necessarily be in the mold of traditional picnics. They are held outdoors and often include festivities and attractions such as group sports and fun competitions. Attire is often expected to be sporty and casual, but not too revealing or formal.

These types of functions provide a backyard type of feel. Food choices can range from BBQ pork to hamburgers and hot dogs…. or our famous NC Style BBQ Catering! This can create a different kind of company experience as corporate walls are often broken down by the simplicity and informality that comes with a backyard barbeque.

Pig Roasts
A pig roast is more than just providing a different type of cuisine, it provides a laid back atmosphere where people can mingle without any kind of office pressure. There can also be a Hawaiian theme to accompany a pig roast, which opens the pallet of food options up to some of the more exotic varieties of dishes and cuisines.

A company gathering for brunch combines the elements of breakfast and lunch, just as it combines the elements of business and casual. These types of events often go off without pretentiousness and create a more relaxed and casual feel. They are also recommended to be held on off days.

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Seasonal Events
Holiday-themed parties can have a more casual element as evidenced by the menu. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your co-workers and serve a corned beef and cabbage feature dish. The month of October is a perfect time to celebrate German heritage with an Octoberfest menu.

Super Bowl Parties
There could be a tailgate theme to your casual corporate Super Bowl party which centers on the game of football. The use of party trays and buffet trays are an excellent way to create a casual atmosphere at your company Super Bowl party and the big game helps give everyone a way to connect.

SMS Catering provides catering services for all kinds of corporate events. If you are looking for a more casual setting, we have an abundance of alternatives that will make for a memorable experience with either your colleagues or your family. Let us make your next event something special by calling SMS catering services, located in Charlotte, NC.

The Essentials for Catering a Corporate Event

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There is a long list of things to do for anyone planning a catered corporate event. It is unlike other catered events and should require attention to specific details. There are many areas to cover when catering a corporate event and if they are all followed, you have a much greater potential for success.

An important thing to know during any catered event is that a full guest is a happy guest. It’s better to order a little too much food than to risk presenting just barely enough to feed the entire audience adequately. Take this into consideration when placing your catered food order.

Guest lists are another important area to cover. Will this be a corporate event for only managers, executives or other employees? The answer to that question could have an impact on what kind of food and entertainment is ordered and how it is presented.

In the process of coming up with a guest list, there should also be considerations made for any dietary restrictions. With so many food allergies, there should be alternative options as well as vegetarian dishes for those who do not or cannot eat certain things. There are a growing number of people with dietary restrictions so you should plan accordingly.

Entertainment is also a very important part of any kind of catered event. After all, eating can only take up so much time. There is often a need to capture people’s attention. Hiring a DJ, live act, guest speaker or any other kind of entertainment could be helped with some input from a well-networked, full-service caterer. Experienced caterers will be able to recommend reputable local entertainment services you can trust.

Knowing your budget is something that should be determined before you begin searching for a caterer. This will eliminate some catering services in the event that there are strict budgetary concessions to make. A good way to determine your budget is to start a spreadsheet that includes cost estimates and a list of all the services you will need.

Catering attire should also be addressed. Corporate events are essentially a more formal occasion, which requires a more formal dress code for the catering staff. Find out what kind of attire your catering staff will be wearing.

Transportation is an extra option to consider as well, particularly if there is going to be alcohol served at a corporate event. The last thing you want to do is send someone off to drive home after having a little too much to drink. Limousines, buses and shuttles are widely available for these kind of events.

Each catering company will likely have a specialty area. Find out each one’s specialty and try to match it with the needs of your audience. It also helps to search their online reviews as well as visit their websites for pictures of past events.

When it comes time to find a corporate catering service in Charlotte, NC, look to the professionals at SMS Catering Service. We can provide the highest quality services from top to bottom. For the very best corporate catered events Charlotte has to offer, trust the team of professionals who have been getting it right for over 40 years.

How to Choose the Right Wedding Caterer

Searching for a wedding caterer should not be a chore that is taken lightly. Your special day should unfold exactly how you envisioned and hiring the right caterer could go a long way towards turning that vision into reality. To ensure that everything goes smoothly, try out these helpful hints when making your decision.

See for yourself
Don’t just take the caterer’s word for it. Drop by an event to see how things look with your own eyes. The best way to gauge just how a catering company operates is to see them in action. Tastings only shows you so much, but an actual event tells the real story.

Read reviews
Any reputable catering company is going to have a good amount of previous customers, some of whom are going to share their thoughts. Customer reviews will give you a firsthand account of how their event turned out, search online and ask the company if they have any references from recent events.

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Photos, Photos, Photos
Caterers will offer potential clients a variety of options when it comes to decorating the venue. Ask to see pictures of past events as you will want to match descriptions with actual images. That includes everything from table settings to the overall décor to the wedding menu.

Server to guest ratio
To ensure your big day goes smoothly, you will need an ample amount of wait staff to serve your guests. Be sure to get exact numbers on exactly how many servers there will be at your event so you can be sure everyone is covered.

Level of involvement
Some catering services put out the food and that is pretty much the extent of their duties. Other caterers will take on a role more congruent with that of a wedding planner. You need to know how much you can expect out of your caterer on your wedding day.

Final head count
You don’t want to overpay for your wedding so you need to know the cutoff date for adding or subtracting guests. When you are paying a per plate cost, those numbers could add up rather quickly and you will want some leeway when adjusting your final head count.

SMS Catering covers all the basics and provides working solutions to all customer questions and concerns. Every wedding is a top priority to SMS Catering. Equipped with a fully-trained and perfectly mannered staff that will attend to all of your wedding reception needs, you can do it all with one call to SMS.

Does Your Venue Spell Success For Your Event?

If you have taken on the responsibility of organizing a large event or gathering of any kind, you already know there is more to it than just planning a simple schedule for guests and attendees to follow. Professional event planners understand that many considerations come into play for an event to become a success. One of the very critical factors to ensuring this – and definitely a significant element to any happening – is your venue.

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Where you decide to hold your gathering – formal or informal, big or small – plays a key role in how the event will turn out. Here are a few important considerations to take into account when selecting your location:

  • Setting the mood. The destination for your event has almost everything to do with the mood you want to achieve. A formal affair would often necessitate an indoor venue, such that people are seated during meetings or conferences, or moving around comfortably such as in cocktail parties. Non-formal or casual events with family and friends may be held indoors or out in an open area, such as gardens and private grounds. You can achieve any desired setting in ease and luxury with our exceptional banquet hall rental and outside reception area services.
  • To accommodate all your guests. The way wedding ceremonies and reception parties are held vary extensively these days. They can be formal or casual, big or small, and exclusive to friends and family or welcoming hundreds of attendees. Whatever the size of your gathering, choose the venue where there is room for everyone; you don’t want a place too small and uncomfortable for your guests.
  • To ensure comfort and accessibility. Professional event planners know there is a trick to finding the right place for every kind of celebration, get-together or meeting: it should be somewhere guests won’t have a hard time trying to locate. There are exceptions to this, however, for some unconventional wedding or birthday events. Generally speaking, you want to unburden most of your registrants and attendees of having to research the location or drive hundreds of miles for it. Make sure there is ample parking space; we have 8 ½ acres of room available with plenty of parking at SMS Catering.
  • To provide additional services. For the event to be executed as planned, the location should be ideal. This can be made possible with the help of added services that come with renting the venue. Full-service providers like SMS Catering in Charlotte, NC can handle these requirements and assist event planning for both indoor or outdoor weddings, complete with decor and facilities to ensure outstanding experiences. Give your guests something to rave about, let SMS take on the work for your next event.

The Perfect Wedding Venue with SMS Catering

It can be incredibly time-consuming to plan a flawless event such as a wedding; not to mention it can be just as nerve-wracking to try to keep costs at a minimum. With SMS Catering, Charlotte’s trusted team of event caterers, organizing your wedding can be a breeze. The full-service events team offers an elegant banquet hall with extra amenities including a large on-site atrium, extended lawn space for outdoor activities, large covered patio area and our glorious water fountain. This spot is equally ideal for hosting all sorts of private parties and corporate functions for any number of guests.

Start your event the right way by choosing a reliable full-service provider to address all your needs and more; Learn about SMS Catering by visiting

How to Plan a Corporate Holiday Party

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Holiday parties are an enjoyable way for companies to end the year. But planning one of these corporate events does not just happen overnight. There are many details to consider when it comes time to plan a corporate holiday party; a potentially overwhelming task when considered amongst all of the other things that you love and which keep you and your family busy during the festive season. Let us ease your planning burdens by allowing us to suggest some useful tips to help you prepare for a success.

Plan in advance
The month of December is usually jam packed for most people as there are parties, family functions and other types of activities that consume a good deal of their time. Decide on a date long before the start of the holiday season and find a banquet hall that has an opening on that date. Many banquet halls book months in advance, so the earlier the better.

Pick the right venue
Estimating your number of guests will help decide on a place to hold your holiday party. You don’t want a huge hall that will look empty with a limited number of guests while you also don’t want to have to try and push a large group of people into a small space. Location is also an important factor as you don’t want your guests to have to travel too far out of the way.

Choose a theme
Theme does not necessarily mean your guests need to dress up in costumes. Themes could be as simple as business casual as far as a dress code is concerned. However, there are decorations to consider for a holiday party. Attempt to go with a theme that applies to everyone as you do not want to alienate any of your guests. Also, make sure to gather enough volunteers to assist with the decorating process as it could be a bit time consuming.

Make an agenda
The party will need to have a beginning, a middle and an end. That can happen much easier with the creation of an agenda that includes guest arrival, cocktail hour, food service, keynote speakers, gift exchange and any other type of activities you would like to include.

Recognition of guests
Most holiday parties are all about appreciation, so at some point, it would be a good idea to recognize company employees. That can include individual awards, group rewards or some words of gratitude spoken by a company executive.

SMS Catering specializes in hosting and catering all kinds of corporate events, including holiday parties and functions. Take the worry out of your holiday season and give the gift of fun to your co-workers with the help of SMS Catering Services in Charlotte NC. Our friendly and experienced staff is here to help you every step of the way from planning and entertaining to food, games, presentations and so much more! Contact the professional team at SMS Catering Services today.

Your Caterer Does Matter: Making the Choice You’ll Never Regret

food 2655778 1920To say that planning an event is a daunting task would be an understatement. Weddings, conferences, corporate parties, birthday parties and school reunions should be a satisfying experience for every guest. Finding the right service to help you manage your event can take you from a endlessly stressed-out planning nightmare to a blissfully reassured evening.

The Secret Ingredients of a Superb Catering Service

There are so many caterers out there who will promise you the moon and the stars, so you can never be too careful when picking the right provider for your event. These factors can be extremely important when trying to determine which catering service to consider and which ones to walk away from:

  • A multitude of menu options. Choose a catering service that, no matter what time of night or day, can provide you with the appropriate types of courses, desserts, hors d’oeuvres or cocktail food. Your guests may have some special food requirements so be sure that your caterer has the right solutions for all of your special requests.
  • The right venue. Most caterers can take their food to your event but there are full-service caterers like SMS Catering Services who don’t just stop there; they also give you the perfect venue to hold yours! If you need to host a large crowd for a conference, ceremony, private party or wedding, ask about their luxurious and spacious banquet hall rental options.
  • A reputation for service excellence. What guests say about your event should matter to you. In the same way, be mindful about how others perceive your selected caterer to be. Check for reviews, recognitions and awards earned.

Two things an event can never be without: Superb food and a fantastic venue. Make sure you make the right choice for your next event in or around the Charlotte NC area by choosing SMS Catering Services. For more than 40 years, SMS has provided the best in catering Charlotte, NC residents have experienced. Learn More at

SMS Catering Rose from Humble Beginnings to Become Charlotte’s Biggest Caterer

SMS Catering Services’ unique history dates back to 1971 when Bob Freeman started the company as a small side business. Freeman started off grilling his food at political rallies and fundraisers for then-congressman Jim Martin.

There may have been something to Freeman’s secret recipes as Martin went on to run for governor. That prompted Freeman to pursue a full-time career behind the grill. Now, 45 years later, the Martin family owns the oldest and biggest catering company in Charlotte.

SMS Catering Services started from humble beginnings as Freeman embraced the role of a self-made entrepreneur. In 1997, Freeman was joined by his son.

It was then that Robert Freeman III became a full-time general manager after earning a Master’s Degree. Combining his business acumen with the foundation his father had already built, SMS Catering began to soar to new heights.

The Freeman father and son tandem have always been innovative and even invented a cordless food warmer, which has come in handy over the years and allowed SMS to serve warm food on Charlotte’s coldest days. The idea for that device came to life during a fish fry for more than 1,000 people on one unseasonably, cool day. The Freemans turned to their intuitiveness and came up with a new product that helped them continue their guarantee of satisfaction.

SMS actually stands for ‘Service Means Satisfaction.’ That rings true at every catered event, especially when SMS was able to serve 6,500 people at the NCAA Tournament in Charlotte in just an hour’s time. SMS Catering has also come to the aid of the community, having recently served repair crews all over the area when violent storms knocked out power.

The Freeman family has expanded the business, which led to the development of the current SMS Catering venue, a nine-acre facility that features a top-of-the-line banquet hall.

SMS Catering is also known for its authentic North Carolina barbeque as the Freeman family has perfected its own recipe that has satisfied residents for decades. SMS catered events continue to include wedding receptions, corporate events, retreats, reunions, anniversaries and many other kinds of other special events.

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Mr. Freeman serving food and talking to Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III at an event.

SMS Catering Services is available to host all types of events and it can also bring its catering service directly to the client. With more than 45 years of experience, SMS Catering has become a staple in the Charlotte community that was built on the pillars of integrity, quality and family.