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Your Event Catering & The Triple Constraint Theory
July 16, 2016
Picture of the triple constraint theory drawn on blackboard showing constraints on catering and event projects

If it’s fast and good, it probably won’t be cheap!

What on earth do Canapes have to do with the Triple Constraint theory?

We’ll keep it short don’t worry!   Any event is a project and while enjoying a glass of wine at The Street Food Collective recently, (Miss Moonshine’s Buttermilk Chicken…do it!) we began musing over the challenges of event production and that no event escapes the Triple Constraint.

The key constraints are Scope (of the project, what you get), Time, Cost.

For your event they’re The Brief (what you get), Timings, Cost.

Changes to one of these three key constraints almost always affects the others, or impacts on the quality of your event.  So:

  • Add a choice of main?   It will take longer to service, or more staff and therefore $ to service.
  • Reduce the cost?  Something from the “What you get” list will be removed or compromised, or timings stressed (not enough staff).
  • Need fast meal service and clearing?  You’ll need more staff and therefore $.
  • And likewise, are timings non-essential?  Let your caterer know – it will reduce $, or you could add something to the “What you get” list.

We all know this intuitively but it can be a good tool to help focus on what is important as your event evolves…as it nearly always does!  It’s also a good thing to keep in mind when you get 3 quotes across your desk.  Have the suppliers understood what was important to you?  If one is materially cheaper than the others, what might they have compromised on?  Don’t just say “Yay!” be clear about what you’re getting (Scope) and that there are enough staff to meet your timings.

So back to Miss Moonshine’s…finish up with the doughnuts with caramel sauce and don’t share it!


Learn more about the things to look out for when planning your events with the Urban Gourmet Blog
Event Brief Guide
Creating an Event Brief – A Guide Before you start calling suppliers take 20 minutes with this event brief guide! DOWNLOAD
Urban Gourmet’s Guide to Choosing Venues Know what to look out for and what to ask so that you can compare venues with venues. DOWNLOAD
Urban Gourmet’s Guide to Food Quantities How to make sure you don’t have too little or too much. DOWNLOAD
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