Delicious Outdoor Catering Ideas for a Memorable Gathering

Unforgettable Outdoor Lunch Catering Ideas for a Memorable Gathering

Outdoor lunch catering ideas

Outdoor lunch, also known as al fresco lunch or lunch alfresco, is the act of eating lunch outside. It is especially popular in temperate climates during the summer when the weather and temperatures are the most enjoyable. However, when planning such an event, combining considerate thinking and effective outdoor lunch catering ideas is necessary to make it successful.

Managing all parts of a lunch event is paramount. Also, when picking menu items, you need to ensure proper taste, presentation, and dietary regulations. So, in this article, we will discuss some of the best ideas for an outdoor lunch. With our menu ideas, it will be easy for you to inform your catering service beforehand. Keep reading to arrange a great event.

Top 5 Tips for a Great Outdoor Lunch

Having lunch outdoors is always a pleasure, especially during the cosy summer. It gives you the opportunity to bond with nature while enjoying delicious food.

However, careful planning is a must to make such an event a success. Here are some things to think about as you get ready for your next outdoor lunch event.

1. Have a Contingency Plan

Selecting the ideal location is the first step in organising an event everyone would enjoy. Terraces, courtyards, backyard gardens, parks, or even the beach are all possible outdoor locations. But be sure to check the weather before you go to any of these places. 

The weather in the summer can be hard to predict. Lightning storms can happen quickly and be very strong. Therefore, it is important to make backup plans ahead of time to ensure the party can proceed. 

If your location is a rooftop deck, confirm there is an area with a shed or a designated place inside. You should rent a big tent for an event to use in parks or on the beach. For parties in courtyards or backyard gardens, check to see if the party can be moved inside if it rains.

2. Get Familiar with Your Outdoor Venue

You should go to the site of the event 2-3 days prior. Visit more than once if needed. It will help you plan your outdoor catering setup and see what tools you can use. The layout of the venue may affect what equipment you need to bring and how you will serve.

If you can not get to the venue before the event, make sure you talk to someone there about the site plan. Enquire about everything, even the smallest things you could have found out by looking at the site. 

It is easy to forget to ask about the ground, where the power outlets are, and the amount of light. But these details could affect how you can work on the day of the event.

3. Know Your Zoning Restrictions and Have The Required Permits

Zoning laws spell out how a certain area can be used. They also separate commercial and residential areas. The local government may set zoning regulations for the event. This is especially true if you are working in a temporary place like a closed street or parking lot. 

A lot of places also need permits from the health department, fire marshal, and other government agencies. Check the approved plans for the event to avoid getting fined, even if you are not planning it yourself.

4. Choose the Right Catering Menu

It is very important to pick the right catering menu for a summer outdoor event. You should think about what is fresh and in season, as well as what is light and not too filling. 

After a big meal, we all know how heavy and uncomfortable that makes us feel. When making a cool summer menu, try to do the exact opposite of that. Grilled meats and vegetables can be great to reduce that discomfort. 

For specific menu ideas, it’s always best to contact a reputable catering service. They will make sure the dishes fit all the requirements.

5. Select Event-Appropriate Equipment

Your event will go more smoothly if you have the right outdoor catering equipment for the space. For fridges and storage cabinets, having an electrical power source is helpful. 

You will need to plug in your equipment when you get to the venue, even if they provide power. That is why you might want to bring a generator and extension cords with you. 

Make sure that the generator’s voltage works with the machines you want to power before you buy it. It is not advisable to buy a generator that is not strong enough for your equipment.

8 Outdoor Lunch Catering Ideas

Food is the ultimate attraction at an outdoor lunch event. Hence, you need to be very picky about the right dishes. 

However, with so many options and dietary restrictions out there, picking the best menu can be tricky. That’s why we have compiled eight mouth-watering menu ideas to make your job easy.

1. Mixed Gourmet Sandwich

Sandwiches are always fan favourites. They never fail to disappoint at lunch events. With gourmet sandwiches, any outdoor party can become a pleasure. 

You can choose chicken schnitzel, lettuce, tomato, and cheese filling for the chicken lovers. Besides, beef brisket with crunchy cabbage slaw can be a great combo of veggies and non-veggies.

2. Gourmet Wraps

Gourmet-style wraps will make your lunchtime more fun. You can choose from premium fillings like chicken, beef, and vegetarian options. 

An excellent choice could be free-range poached chicken with almonds, celery, and lemon wrap. The sourness of lemon will bring a twist to the mouth. You can also pick vegetarian options like falafel wraps with lettuce, carrots, and cucumber.

3. Crusty Baguette

The long, thin shaped baguettes are very popular breads. When you combine poached chicken with avocado and tomato in a wild baguette, it will become an absolute delight. 

Besides, your attendees will thank you for the taste of slow-cooked beef brisket with crunchy coleslaw baguette. Choose the option based on your requirements.

4. Turkish Fingers

Turkish dishes have a reputation of their own. In an outdoor gathering, the colourful presentation of these foods adds charm. Besides, Turkish food is naturally healthy and focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients.

For your vegetarian participants, consider veggie patties, olive paste, and rocket filling in Turkish bread. You can also add cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, and cucumber fillings.

5. Gluten-Free Sandwich

There are proteins in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale, which is a cross between wheat and rye. All of these proteins are called glutens. Many people will prefer to have gluten-free options. And you can’t let them sit upset while others are enjoying their food, can you? 

That’s why you should pick glutenless sandwiches as a menu item for such guests. Ask your catering service to add such options to your event.

6. Soft Roll

For lunch, two hand gourmet soft and fluffy rolls are great for everyone. With a range of fillings, they can make lunchtime fun again. 

One popular filling is pulled beef brisket and crunchy slaw. You can also add chicken schnitzel fillings with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise as an item.

7. Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower and Tandoori Chicken Salad

An outdoor lunch is incomplete without a salad. Not only is it nutritious, but it is also full of savoury taste. Think about combining cauliflower with tandoori chicken and turn it into a superb salad option.

The chicken thigh is marinated in tandoori paste. Then, it’s served with tomato, mint, cashew nuts, spring onions, spinach, and a mint yoghurt dressing. This could be a delectable option indeed!

8. Bagel

When it comes to calories, a bagel has more than a slice of bread. But if you choose a bagel with more fibre, it might help you feel fuller for longer. As a result, you will eat fewer snacks during the day.

The success or failure of this item may depend on the filling you choose. Consider Turkish cranberry, cucumber, and spinach bagel as a vegetarian option. For non-vegetarians, bagels with poached chicken, smashed avocado dip, arugula, and tomato can be great choices.


Outdoor lunch events provide a great opportunity to meet up while basking in nature’s goodness. However, without careful planning, it can backfire. 

Having backups is always necessary, as you will be dealing outside. Besides knowing the ins and outs of the venue, zoning regulations will keep you in a firm position. And the most important part is the menu selection. You need to pick the best options.

Maintaining all of these points can be difficult. That’s why you should get help from a good catering service to handle the dishes. And with the Catering Zone, you can get hand-picked, artisanal food delivered anywhere in Sydney. Our team will never compromise on quality. Contact us today to give your guests the delight of fine cuisine at an outdoor lunch event!