A Note From Our Chef-Owners
We believe that our most valuable possession are memories of special moments, and if we don’t celebrate special moments, they can pass us by. This is why the holidays are truly the most wonderful time of the year. Since our brother Antoine opened the Olive Tree in 1979, our family has had a great opportunity to host almost any type of holiday celebration you can imagine. In this unprecedented COV-19 Pandemic, our wisdom is needed more than ever. Whether you are hosting an intimate at-home gathering for family and friends or a personalized feast to welcome your team back to the office, we have compiled some tips for protecting the safety of your guests.
Advice from our Chef-Owners and Catering Experts:
Tips for Hosting a Safe Holiday Event
1) Implement Health & Safety Procedures
Implementing standard operating procedures (SOPs) that prioritize health and safety are absolutely critical - especially for holiday events! A few SOPs that we have implemented at the Olive Tree are:
Personal protective equipment (PPE) – making sure that all staff is wearing masks is critical.
Social distancing wherever possible, including add distance between tables
Surface disinfecting – before, during and after the event, high touch surfaces like serving areas and guest tables should be appropriately disinfected.
2) Consider Your Venue Selection
When possible, using open air and outdoor venues is highly recommended during this time. For events with higher head counts, another suggest solution is to allow plenty of additional space to ensure social distancing. The Olive Tree's 7,000 square foot banquet hall makes socially distancing a breeze.
3) Extra-Distanced Event Layouts
Once you’ve selected the ideal venue, you’ll have to think about the seating arrangements. Think about limited seating for more intimate conversations at rounds, seating families together, and designing floorplans that decrease foot traffic. Our catering and event team has 40 years of experience and are dreaming up a lot of new solutions for event layouts that we can’t wait to share with you!
4) Consistent & Clear Communication
Ultimately, plans and procedures for an event must be effectively communicated in advance to both employees and guests. We will work with you to best communicate with your guest list about what they can expect, what would make them most comfortable, how to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our team will also be sure to follow-up and lead our clients through each step of the event-planning process.
5) Consider Hybrid Event & Meeting Solutions
Your business or organization may have employees all working remotely, some in the office and some from home, or you may be operating as normal with a few extra safety measures in place. One solution many companies have been adopting is a hybrid model for their meetings, conferences, and future holiday events. With this solution, those who are able and comfortable can attend in person, and those who are not able can participate from their home! Another solution would be to break larger events into smaller, separate gatherings per department for example.
An idea we love at Olive Tree is sending a boxed meal or gift tray to those who are attending virtually. Our gift boxes, baskets, and trays are a customer favorite every year, and will be in especially high demand for 2020!
6) Explore Innovative Culinary Options
For now, it is highly recommended to avoid self-serve stations or displays to limit communal interaction and multiple food handling. By offering plated service or providing individually packaged food and beverages, you limit the opportunity for contamination. If buffet or cafeteria style is insisted upon, we require that guests wear masks while going through the line and do so in a distanced manner. When it comes to smaller gatherings or Corporate Events, gifting your employees, friends, and clients with personalized meals is a creative and genuine way to show appreciation! . A few creative options we’ve executed recently are:
Box lunches for meetings delivered on-site at offices
Pre-packaged holiday meals that include made-to-order cuisine, ready for pick-up or carryout
Buffets or stations that is served by Olive Tree staff at our incredibly spacious venue
This isn't where our culinary options stop, though. We want to let you know the depths that our Olive Tree team is taking to help you execute safe in-person events moving forward.
How the Olive Tree Will Keep Your Events and Meetings Safe
At Olive Tree Events & Catering, the safety of our guests and staff is of the utmost importance. To ensure that we are operating safely with health in mind, we will continue to take all of the recommended safety precautions and guidelines and place focus on promoting environments that prioritize cleanliness and sanitation, engaging employees in daily health checks, and placing emphasis on prudent event operations.
Some actions we’ve taken include:
Enhanced sanitation practices in our offices, kitchens, and venue spaces
Facial coverings are required for all staff and guests when social distancing isn't possible.
We’re utilizing our space to give your guests customized and extra spacious seating arrangements and floorplans. Tables will be spaced to allow social distancing (6' apart between groups of 15+, per the latest national, state, and local guidelines.)
We encourage flatware to be rolled in a linen napkin rather than placed on tables in traditional formal place-settings.
We encourage plated dinners rather than buffets. If clients insist on buffets, we require buffet attendants wearing masks to serve the buffet to guests cafeteria-style to minimize high-touch areas.
And so much more!
Are you ready to gather again?
We are ready and are remaining vigilant to ensure you and your family, your friends, your colleagues and your partners can meet face to face safely, without fear. Our team is busy and booking events months in advance, and we are ready to help YOU plan your safe event today. All you have to do is give us a call at 316.636.1100 to get started!