As we’ve become a more multi-cultural environment here in Australia, social standards have shifted to become more understanding and tolerant of specific needs people have when it comes to their religious belief systems.
When it comes to events, the manifestations of religious needs tend to be towards food catering. As a result, we’ve encountered pretty much everything there is to discover about this subject and we’ve designed some systems to help accommodate these needs the best ways possible.
While there are individual food needs that come up from time to time with less popular religious groups, the two most common ones we encounter are Islamic and Jewish so we’ll cover here our systems and policies concerning both.
Islamic – (Halal)
As “Halal” is a set of food policies and practices that relate mainly to types and origins of meat products, this is a fairly simple.
Almost ALL of the venues that we partner with (and who provide all of our food catering needs) are already certified as approved providers of Halal meat products (and practices), therefore there’s nothing to do and nothing additional to pay when it comes to providing Halal meals as part of our event packages.
Jewish – (Kosher)
Kosher food policies and procedures (Kashrut) have some similarities with Halal in terms of meat products, however it goes a whole lot further than just meat and covers ALL foodstuffs, preparation spaces and even extends to crockery, cutlery and service equipment. It’s a very involved and expensive process to become compliant and requires speciality suppliers to facilitate this on a case-by-case basis.
For that reason, no venue can provide a fully Kosher meal system as part of their catering package at the same prices as their non-Kosher meals.
In most cases, an event requiring Kosher catering will usually involve the whole guest list rather than a few select guests and therefore all foodstuffs, equipment and staff would need to be brought in from an outside agency, effectively doubling (and sometimes tripling) the catering costs. Obviously this becomes less than practical for most school groups and very few would require this. Those that do are accustomed to paying more, so this is no problem.
The challenge therefore becomes how we can provide Kosher catering to INDIVIDUAL people without making the whole event Kosher AND still maintaining the high quality-control standards of both ourselves and the venues we work with. To date, there’s only been one way to do this and it’s very successful.
We’ve partnered with a well-respected Kosher Catering Company who are also well acquainted with all of the venues on our programme. They can now take a look at the set menu of any of our venues and duplicate the exact same meal in a Kosher equivalent, right down to matching crockery, glassware and cutlery, and deliver it to the venue on the day of the event. This way the Kosher meal is delivered straight to the person who needs it without anyone else at their table knowing that there is any difference in the meal being served. This saves any self-consciousness while assisting devout Jews to maintain their standards of worship.
Now of course this is not a free service so there’s a cost attached. We’ve taken the overall costs of two-course a-la-carte meals from all of our 4 and 5-Star venues and costed out the Kosher equivalents with delivery. The range is between $75 and $125 depending on the food items, location and star rating of the venue. The average therefore logically becomes $100 per meal to facilitate this on any event, with any meal, at any venue.
To clarify, what this means is to have a fully Certified Kosher meal at any of our events, matching the same meal as the other guests, will cost $100 on top of the normal ticket price of the event.
To date, we’ve provided this service many times and have not once received any complaints about price, quality of food or presentation. We think we’re onto a winner with this service.