Hong Kong is a city that likes to eat. Throw in the corporate side of things, and it's a city that likes to meet and eat. But handling the catering can be a tricky business, with budgets, menus, venues and last-minute changes all needing to be carefully juggled.
At the Island Shangri-La, director of events management Brenda Cheung Wai-fun and her team handle about 700 corporate events each year. 'It has to be a finely-tuned operation, so you need to have about one member of staff - service, culinary, back-of-house - for every three guests,' she says.
'Ideally, you get one or two months' lead time, starting with a site inspection, then finalising the menu, organising a tasting about three weeks before and then have both the menu and overall presentation finalised two weeks before.'
Not all events run so smoothly, and more exacting clients will want to chip in with their ideas for the menu, presentation or both. 'We cater inside and outside events, many of them very high-profile, and recently we handled a Hermes product launch at the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Science and the Hong Kong Spinal Cord Injury Fund Charity Dinner.'
Caterers Maxim's has been providing the city and its guests with breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between for more than half a century and was picked to host a food hall at the World Expo in Shanghai last year.
'With our pursuit of quality and extensive experience in professional catering, Maxim's also provides catering for many international functions and large-scale events,' says Lily Lau, the group's public relations manager.
'Our menus aim to serve the needs of customers, while striving to delight and surprise. A good example was tailor-made chocolates crafted in the shape and look of the client's logo.'