1. Plan your menu around the kitchen you'll be using. Check to see how many ovens there are and what kinds of refrigeration there is. Make sure you don't have more things to go in the oven than you have room for!
2. Check the kitchen you'll be using. If you are using their dishes, silver, pot and pans, make sure they have what you need. If they don't, make a LIST of what you need to bring. I always kept a book with all the details in it and checked it several times before the actual party.
3.The amount of food you will need will depend on the function, time of day and the age group of the people you are feeding.
4. Plan everything ahead. Make a chart to use in the kitchen that tells you when something goes in the oven, what still has to be prepped, what serving bowls are to be used for what dish. For a really large event or if you are new to this, put a label on the bottom of every dish. Don't be afraid to delegate. Allow extra time. The way you will be serving will affect all of the times. For instance, it takes more time if you are individually plating salads or desserts than it does to put it out on a large tray or bowl. You don't have to do it all yourself, which brings up #5.
5. Hire outside help if you are going to need it. If you're not sure, then the answer is You Do!
6. If serving a buffet, it is always better to put out smaller bowls and platters. Have refills ready in the kitchen to replace them as soon as they get low. This serves several purposes, one it keeps the food looking fresher, it also helps to keep foods at a safe temperature for serving. Remember, Hot Foods Hot and Cold Foods Cold. My Uncle Bob always said to make every dish look as we were going to eat it ourselves.
7. Don't forget to check out Rental Stores if there is something you need. They can usually be counted on for dishes, chafing dishes, tables and chairs and linens. Some also have portable popcorn machines, salad bars, drink machines, or helium tanks if you are doing the decorations also. Most will deliver and pick up depending on the size of your order.
8. Find out who is doing the clean up! We did a job once where we had contracted to bring in the food and set it up. We were responsible of course, for any of our dishes. The club forgot to bring in a dishwasher and we ended up doing the dishes for 300 people!
9. Insurance ... does the facility cover the insurance or do you need your own? Make sure that it covers you if you bring in food prepared off site. Some places will require that all food must be prepared in their facility.