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10 Tips for Choosing the Catering Menu for Your Event From Toojay’s

Deli meats and vegetable egg rolls that come from choosing a catering menu from TooJay’s

Choosing a catering menu doesn’t have to be a chore. With these simple steps, you’ll find the perfect one for your event in no time.

Whether it’s a casual backyard birthday party, an elegant anniversary celebration, or a lunch for the boardroom, what you serve your guests makes all the difference. No pressure, right? 

You won’t stress if you choose a great caterer. Instead of hours of prep in the kitchen (and a mountain of greasy pots and pans to clean up before the party), you can leave it to the professionals and trust that everyone will be wowed by a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of wherever you choose to serve it.

Okay, now that we’ve sold you on why catering is an awesome option for your event, you have to go about choosing the catering menu. That’s the fun part as far as we’re concerned (but we also totally get that you’ll need to think about the size and scope of your event before you order).

That’s why we’ve put together these easy breezy steps to choosing the perfect catering menu for your event:

Understand your event

The menu for a kid’s birthday party is probably going to be a lot different from an important business breakfast (significantly less caffeine at the birthday party, for starters). Before you choose your menu, write down the basics of your event. 

You’ll want to identify the occasion, the theme if any, how many people will be there (tip: overestimate so there’s definitely enough food to go around), and the location. Pay close attention to that last detail. Will it be indoors or outdoors? What will seating be like? Will it be cool or warm that day? This will help you determine the type of food you choose. For example, if there’s not going to be seating at an outdoor event, you want to choose casual menu items that your guests can enjoy standing up.   

Choose the date you need your order

When you order your catering menu fromTooJay’s you can specify the date and time you need your order by. Pickup and delivery are both available (the latter incurs a delivery fee), so choose the option that’s best for you. Take into consideration the timing of your event. You want to make sure your items are ready for your guests to enjoy as soon as they’re ready to eat. 

Last-minute event? No problem. Look for the clock icon when ordering and choose from a large selection of same-day requests. 

Choose the meal that you’re serving

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or something in between? TooJay’s Catering has options for whatever meal you’re serving. Serving breakfast? Choose from hot options like scrambled eggs, French toast, and bacon or cold items like bagels, yogurt, and fruit. Serving lunch? There are boxed lunch options, party platters, and hot entrees. Serving dinner? Gourmet menu options include everything from lasagna to London broil to broiled cod. For those meals that are in between, TooJay’s Catering offers snacks and hors d’oeuvres. And don’t forget about dessert!

Order a cake if it’s a special occasion

If the event is a birthday party, anniversary party, retirement party, or other celebration, there’s no need to go to a bakery in addition to going to TooJay’s. Gourmet specialty cakes are available in a variety of options. Choose from an eight-inch cake for a smaller group or a half-sheet option for a larger group. Flavors include chocolate, coconut, and even Key lime pie. Don’t see something you like? Ask about specialty options. Keep in mind that a 72-hour notice may be required for gourmet cake orders.

Check for any dietary restrictions or preferences

Before you choose your menu, find out if any of your guests have food allergies, dietary restrictions, or preferences. TooJay’s has a wide range of options that can accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free diets, and other tastes and preferences. Be sure to communicate this information to TooJay’s when you order. 

Choose casual, fancy, or both!

Catering doesn’t have to mean black tie level fancy (but it can!). Think of the vibe you want to project at your event and choose the menu items that fit. TooJay’s offers casual options like deli sandwiches and wraps and upscale options like shrimp cocktail, brie with raspberries en croute, and even traditional turkey dinners with all the trimmings.

Don’t forget drinks

No matter what meal you’re serving, TooJay’s Catering has drinks that fit. Order by the can, liter, pint, half-gallon, or gallon. Options include coffee, tea, juice, soda, lemonade, and more. Need ice? Add a cooler or ice to your order so your drinks stay chilled. 

Add chafing dishes, Sternos, and other catering essentials

If you’re ordering hot entrees and you need them to stay hot, add chafing dishes, pans, and Sternos to your order. This will keep your meals warm and tasty so that guests can visit the buffet line again and again. You can also add extra paper products to your order.  

Choose pickup or delivery

When ordering online through TooJay’s Catering, you can select pickup or delivery. TooJay’s has locations throughout Florida, making it easy to find a convenient place to pick up your order from. Don’t have time to grab your catering meal before your event? No problem; we’ll deliver.

Contact TooJay’s with questions

TooJay’s Catering has catered more than a half-million events across Florida since its founding in 1981. In other words, we’re well-versed in creating menu items that help you shine when you host a catered event. If you have questions about the menu, want feedback on how much to order for your group, or need to make sure that last-minute order is perfect, contact us.

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Should You Throw a Vaccination Party?

Champagne bottle blasting off its top and COVID-19 virus in celebration of a vaccination party

Congratulations! You’re vaccinated! Celebrate a return to normalcy with these vaccination party ideas. 

If you think about it, it’s kind of fitting that we’re in the 2020s. A hundred years after the glitzy, champagne-soaked era of the 1920s, we’re entering a new kind of roaring twenties – the kind that comes after more than a year of staying home. 

We’re definitely not the only ones who are predicting the beginning of the roaring 2020s. All across the US, people are gearing up for a summer of parties, travel, and hugging (remember hugging?). As vaccination rates go up and COVID-19 rates go down, there’s no better time to start planning on making up for the isolation of 2020 with a vaccination party in 2021. 

We know, a vaccination party may not be the exact kind of soiree you had in mind for your life, but if the past year has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. That’s exactly why you should get in on the surprising fun of a vaccination party. It’s a chance to reunite with the people you love and toast to a brighter future.

Curious about what one wears to a vaccination party, what the decorations might look like, or what the heck a vaccination party even is? We’ve got you covered.

What is a vaccination party?

This type of party is about capitalizing on the growing vaccination rates. It’s a time to (finally!) hang out with the people you’ve been missing without compromising safety. And let’s face it, after 2020, it’s a much-deserved chance to smile, laugh, and let loose. 

True to its name, a vaccination party is a celebratory gathering made up of people who have all been vaccinated. Think of your vaccination card as a VIP card for the best event of the year. 

Go big or go small?

If you’ve spent the past year in the company of the people you share a home with, it’s probably been quite a while since you planned a party. Who should you invite? How many? 

It’s a good question. When you’re used to thinking about doing everything in small groups, the concept of a gathering that doesn’t take place over Zoom can be quite foreign.

If it’s your first time hosting a party after getting vaccinated, you may want to start small. Many people are facing social anxiety after a year spent social distancing. Plus, opting for a small group (think close family and/or friends) will give you time to really catch up with the people you’ve been missing the most.

Celebrate your employees with a workplace vaccination party

For employers and employees, a workplace vaccination party can be a way to celebrate together. If you’re the boss, consider hosting a thank-you party for employees who have been vaccinated or for those who have been working in a public-facing role throughout the pandemic. Have a hashtag (such as #gotvaxxed), a photo booth, and giveaways that show you care. It’s a great way to celebrate your team; it can also be a great way to make returning to the office more fun. Nothing says “welcome back” like a party. 

You might even draw inspiration from this workplace that hosted a vaccination disco party.

Reunite with your family and friends

When planning a vaccination party for your friends and family, you want to make it special by creating plenty of opportunities for people to catch up with each other – think of all you have to talk about after being apart for so long! Make the vaccination party inviting and welcoming by hosting it at your house rather than a restaurant. This will allow people to linger and share stories as long as they like. 

P.S. Remember all of those quarantine home decorating projects you got into? Now is the time to show off your work!

Party ideas

So what exactly is the theme for a vaccination party? We’re used to luaus, black-tie affairs, and costume parties, but vaccination parties are kind of a new thing. 

Because there’s no established etiquette for this type of party, the sky is the limit when planning one! However, if you’re stuck, we’ve got a few ideas. 

You might consider really leaning into the vaccination theme with vaccination décor – pharmacy decorations, syringes filled with shots (of Jack and Coke, not Johnson & Johnson), and napkins that look like vaccination cards. You could also give away wellness-themed goodies, like gift bags filled with reusable water bottles, candles, and at-home spa treatments. 

If the sight of a syringe at a party makes you remember how much you hated getting shots as a kid, opt for a roaring twenties-themed event. Think jazz music, gold tinsel hanging from the ceiling, champagne, and fringe dresses. 

Dust gathering on your dress-up clothes? Say goodbye to your sweatpants by hosting a dressy vaccination party. Finally, everyone has a chance to put on makeup and look their best – and not just for Zoom.

Missing vacation? Have a vacation make up party as an homage to last year’s canceled trips. You can decorate based on one location (Hawaii, Paris, etc.) or hang up photos of as many places as possible. While you’re at the gathering, take time to dream about the places you’ll actually travel to in 2021. 

Go all out with great catering

TooJay’s Catering offers a wide selection of snacks, entrees, and treats to make your vaccination party memorable. If this is the first party you’ve had in forever, catering is the perfect way to make it the best event in a long, long time. Check out our catering menu to see all the tasty treats you can get for you and your gang of public health heroes. 

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Picking an Event Venue Made Easy

People mingling at a bar after choosing an event venue

How to choose the best venue for your event

Key takeaways:

  • Make a guest list
  • Choose a convenient location for your guests
  • Consider the type of event and its style
  • Stick with your budget and ask about extra costs
  • Tour venues and read client reviews
  • Get inspiration from other events

All kinds of little details need to come together when you’re planning an event. You have to think about timing, decorations, catering, guest lists, entertainment, and other elements. A successful event requires planning and one of the first steps you should take is choosing a venue. The venue you pick plays a big role in the success of your event, what you can do there, how many people you can host, and more.

Picking the right venue will allow you and your guests to have the best time. We feature eight tips to consider while choosing a venue for your next wedding, graduation party, employee appreciation night, or whatever type of event is coming up on your calendar. 

1. Make a guest list

Spend some time thinking about who you want to come and make a preliminary list. The number of people coming to your event will help you determine how much space you need.

You need to think about the people you’re inviting before you pick a location. Otherwise, you may get caught in a situation where you have to limit your guest list because of venue capacity limitations or you have a huge space for ten people. 

2. Choose an optimal location

Think about the location once you know who is coming and narrow in on a convenient spot for everyone. You may want to choose a venue that is close to the ceremony if you’re planning a wedding reception, for example. You would probably want to select a city that is easily accessible from a major airport if you have people flying in from around the country. Choosing a general location can also help you narrow down the list of potential venues.

3. Consider the type of event

Different types of events call for vastly different venues. A conference room at a convention center would be a great option for professional networking or team training events, for instance. A local amusement park, a hotel room with access to a pool, or a picnic shelter at a local park may be best suited for a children’s party, on the other hand. 

4. Think about your event’s vibe

Every event has a slightly different vibe and while choosing a venue, you should look for a space that emphasizes the theme or feel you want to create. A classic, elegant wedding might require you to rent a historic home or a grand ballroom in a luxury hotel. A more casual wedding, in contrast, may be hosted in a friend’s backyard or an edgy industrial-type setting. 

5. Stay within your budget

Think about your budget before you get too far into the process of choosing a venue. Decide how much you want to spend overall and how much to devote to various things such as food, entertainment, and the venue itself. Try to leave a buffer for unexpected expenses. 

6. Ask about amenities and extra fees

The rental cost of the venue is not the only expense you need to consider. Make sure that you ask what is included with the venue rental fee and request a list of fees for a la carte services. Some venues include tables, chairs, and setup costs but may charge extra for food or special amenities. Others simply give you the space and assess a la carte pricing for everything else. 

7. Tour event venues

The best way to make sure your venue will work for your event is to request a tour. Ask for a floor plan and a video tour if you cannot get to the venue in person. You want to make sure that the venue looks right for your big event but while touring the space, you should also look into the functionality of the venue. 

Does it have a kitchen on-site for caterers to use if needed? Does it have enough bathrooms for your guests? Does it have nursing rooms for mothers of young children if you’re planning a family-friendly event? Does it have an indoor option or a rain shelter if it’s an outdoor venue? Draw up a list of questions like this before you start touring venues.

8. Get inspiration from other events

You don’t have to start from scratch – gather inspiration from other events. Think about the events you have attended recently and consider what you liked about their venues. Ask your family, friends, and colleagues to give you feedback on the venues they have recently been in and use those ideas to create a list of wants and needs to reference. Search online for event planning websites to see what type of venues are used for different events.

9. Check out the venue’s reputation

Finally, do some due diligence before making your final decision. A venue may look perfect but you need to know about its business practices before you dive in and commit. Spend some time looking at reviews online and learning about the venue’s reputation. Ask the venue for references from previous clients if you cannot find information online. 

Let TooJay’s provide the catering

Choosing a venue is one of the first steps of event planning and once you check that off your list, it’s time to think about the menu. Let us take care of the cooking! 

At TooJay’s, we offer a tasty and expansive catering menu with everything from hot entrees for sit-down meals to party platters for snacking. We cater breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. We also offer same-day service on many of our menu items, which is great if you’re planning an event on the fly. Check out our menu and contact us today to learn more. 

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Fun Team Building Activities for the Office

A group of coworkers stacking their hands on top of each other in a circle participating in a team building activity.

Whether you have an hour or a whole day, these team building ideas will bring your office together

Team building. The phrase often sparks memories of cringe-worthy human resources videos from the 90s or corporate events with awkward role-playing games. There’s a reason why mentioning team building in the modern-day office can inspire more than a few groans and eye rolls. 

The solution? Events that are actually fun! 

Despite the memories of outdated human resources videos, it doesn’t have to be some stiff, corporatized task. It can be authentic. It can be filled with activities that every member of your office enjoys. Best of all, it can bring your team together. After all, what’s the point of even having a day of team building if it doesn’t foster, you know, actual teamwork?

Want to bring some life into your office’s team building events? Whether you have a little or a lot of time to spare, here are some ideas that we think your team will love – plus a secret ingredient (spoiler alert: it’s food) that will really sweeten the deal. 

At the office

If team building has you thinking field trip to Disney but you know your accounting department is going to veto that idea before you’ve even put on your Mickey ears, don’t despair. It can happen at the office and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of space or time. 

Set aside an hour or a whole day for team building activities both inside the office and just outside (a parking lot or grassy area will work for the latter). You can set up games, play trivia, and even bring in a guest speaker or two. One great idea: an ongoing guest speaker series followed by time for discussion afterward. For a less formal idea, try an office film or book club followed by discussion.

Outside of the office

Go somewhere together and let the team building begin! The trick is to choose an activity that will be both unifying and fun. For example, opt for a trivia night at a bar rather than an unstructured office happy hour. It will be fun and require everyone to interact while working together towards a common goal. 

Other out-of-the-office ideas include an escape room, a round of mini-golf, a cooking class, a scavenger hunt, or, in classic team building fashion, an actual sports game that you play together, such as softball or “capture the flag.” If athletics aren’t your team’s thing, try party games. You can even include remote workers over Zoom.

If you’ve got a whole day (or multiple days!)

Are you able to take off a whole day for team building? If so, the sky is the limit (or rather, everything within a 50-mile radius is the limit). Plan a team outing to a nearby lake or beach. Don’t worry, you don’t have to repeat the disastrous events of that one episode of The Office where they all go to the beach.

An outdoor team outing, such as a group hike or kayaking together at a lake, can really foster team building. Everyone can use their skills while communicating – without the distraction of digital devices. 

Another idea for a whole day of team building is to spend the day volunteering. Choose a charity or cause that your team feels passionate about (you can choose this yourself or hold a meeting where everyone decides together) and then spend a day giving back. You might sort donations at a food pantry, walk dogs at the local shelter, or clean up a beloved community park. Feeling active? Run or walk a charity 5k together. You can even create custom t-shirts beforehand to showcase your team spirit. 

If you only have an hour to spare

At a busy workplace, it’s not always possible to devote an entire day or even half of a day to team building. That’s okay!

If you only have an hour to spare for team building, you can still bond while having fun. One simple idea to try that will boost morale is an anti-roast. Think of it as a compliment hour where everyone goes around saying nice things about one coworker. 

You can also set aside time to share stories that bring everyone together – think of it as storytelling around a campfire, but at work (P.S. microwaved s’mores are encouraged). Create prompts on index cards to fuel conversation on topics such as a first day of work story, a work travel story, or the weirdest thing that happened during a commute to work.

Other activities that don’t take up much time include craft hours, such as pumpkin decorating for Halloween or gingerbread house making for Christmas. Make it extra fun by introducing some friendly competition with prizes to the activity.   

Why team building works

Team building shouldn’t be forced but it should be structured. It’s up to you to plan an event or a series of events that is organized but still leaves room for fun.

Why team building? It’s more than just a good time; it’s an investment in your employees. It can boost productivity, reduce turnover, improve communication, and create a workplace that people like coming to. 

P.S. Don’t forget the food!

TooJay’s Catering can make an awesome team building event even better. Good catering is an essential part of any team building experience. 

Whether you’ve opted for a physical activity like a 5k that deserves a hearty meal afterward or you want to make an afternoon of storytelling livelier with some sweet desserts, TooJay’s Catering can make the bonding experience a memorable one.

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From Sweet Sixteen to Nifty Fifty, Milestone Birthday Party Ideas

Happy friends celebrating a milestone birthday party amid a colorful table and decorations.

Big birthday milestones deserve big birthday parties. Here are the best ideas for your next major birthday event

In our lives, we celebrate a lot of birthdays. While every birthday is an opportunity to gather loved ones and celebrate, some deserve a bit more flair than others. 

We’re talking milestone birthdays – you know, the big ones. The kind of birthdays that you just know you need to do something really special for. And if you’re the party planning type, you’ll probably want to plan a milestone birthday party, for yourself or someone else. 

From double-digit birthdays to 21st bashes to 40th celebrations and beyond (and everything in between), there are quite a few milestones that deserve way more than a slice of grocery store cake and a tone-deaf rendition of the birthday song.

If you’re in the midst of planning a special milestone birthday party, these ideas can help transform a regular gathering into a celebration for the ages (literally).

  • Double-digit birthday

For kids, turning 10 is a big deal. Something about seeing two numbers instead of one is really exciting! So make it all about the number, 10. Set out 10 cupcakes, 10 balloons, make pancakes in the shape of the number 10, or incorporate the number in as many different languages as possible into the décor. 

  • 13th birthday

Your baby is finally a teenager! This is a special birthday because 13-year-olds are very much still kids, but they also want to feel like grown-ups. Do something that celebrates both sides of that – maybe a hotel night stay where you decorate the room and watch movies. Maybe a pool party that they help you plan. Or perhaps, a camping night right in the backyard complete with a fire and s’mores. 

  • 16th birthday

Put the sweet in sweet sixteen by hosting the most sugary birthday party ever. Set out bowls of candy as place settings. Have an ice cream social or a cookie decorating party. If the guest of honor will soon be getting his/her driver’s license, have car-themed decorations. You always knew you’d repurpose that old Barbie/Hot Wheels car.

  • 18th birthday

Adulthood is a big milestone birthday. Go with the theme of adulthood when you plan this one. That could mean lottery tickets (or at least pretend ones) as party favors or going to register to vote and then celebrating afterward. Have mocktails and set out a guestbook where partygoers can leave advice on being a grown-up.

  • 21st birthday 

To those eager to hit the bars, 21 is a big, big age. And guess what? Even if you’re a parent throwing a 21st birthday for your son or daughter, the event can be surprisingly family-friendly. Go for booze-themed decorations (we love these beer pong cupcakes). Set up a photo booth with balloons and a decorative bottle of champagne as a prop. Give out fun party favors, like novelty shot glasses. Decorate empty bottles of alcohol with rhinestones and paint and use them as vases for the center of the table. Your new 21-year-old will probably want to go to the bar with their friends, but there’s no reason you can’t have a fun party at home, too.

  • 30th birthday

So many people dread turning 30 (it’s the end of your twenties!), so make this party a return to childhood. We’re talking unicorn-themed pool floats, piñatas, face painting, candy – maybe even a bouncy castle or at least a trampoline. You could also acknowledge the end of an era with a going-out-of-your-twenties-in-style party. What better way to do just that than by hosting a 1920s- themed event complete with jazz, gold decorations, and a flapper-inspired dress code?

  • 40th birthday

The key here is to avoid any over-the-hill jokes. Make this party a tribute to the guest of honor’s life so far instead by setting aside plenty of time for toasts. Have a barbecue for this important milestone birthday if it’s summer, or if it’s cooler, consider an indoor event with live entertainment. 

  • 50th birthday

Nifty fifty! Make this milestone birthday a retro affair with an homage to the 1950s. Put on a playlist of Buddy Holly, decorate in the style of an old-fashioned soda shop, and have poodle skirts and leather jackets on hand for photos. Another option for this milestone birthday party is to have a Fabulous Fifty celebration. Think glamour for this one: gold, glitter, black-and-white photos, and “Old Hollywood” costumes.

  • 60th birthday (and beyond)

With each decade, the party should be more and more special. Focus these milestone birthdays on connecting with family and friends in order to celebrate the birthday boy or girl’s life. Look to personalized decorations – photos, letters, slideshows. These milestone birthdays can be as intimate as they are significant. 

Catering for milestone birthdays

TooJay’s Catering is here for you no matter what milestone birthday party is on the calendar next. We offer party platters for gatherings of all sizes, plus a wide range of desserts including chocolate cake, carrot cake, cookies, and eclairs. Contact our catering team to get started planning your milestone birthday party.

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12 Tips for Hosting a Spectacular 4th of July Party

Guests enjoy waving sparklers at a fun 4th of July party

Plan double the fun for this year’s 4th of July party

Key takeaways:

  • Decorate your yard with a patriotic theme
  • Provide entertainment for your guests
  • Set up inviting sitting areas
  • Give out party favors
  • Relax and let a caterer handle the cooking
  • Contact TooJay’s for a tasty spread of food

Families and communities around the country canceled their 4th of July parties last year as the country shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic but this summer looks promising for a full return to regular summer living. That means your 4th of July celebration this year needs to be double the fun. Ready to start planning? This guide has all the tips you need to host a spectacular event. 

1. Make your yard comfortable and inviting

Help guests feel at home by creating comfortable and inviting places for them to sit in your yard. You can put out picnic tables or long folding tables with chairs for dining and consider setting up spaces that are comfortable for lounging. Make a lounge area with patio furniture or set up a shady tent and fill it with upholstered furniture. Ask guests to bring foldable lawn chairs if you’re worried about not having enough seating.

2. Make a patriotic tablescape

Remind yourself of the reason for the day by creating a patriotic tablescape. Integrate red, white, and blue in compelling ways such as with blue flowers in white vases on a red table runner. Complete your display with 4th of July-themed plates, glasses, and serving ware.

3. Hand out 4th of July party favors

Give your guests a fun souvenir so they don’t go home empty-handed. Consider small things like pop rocks, red, white, and, blue water guns, or bang snaps (novelty fireworks that make noise and don’t need to be lit) for kids. You may want to serve the adults red, white, and blue-themed alcohol like Fireball or Blue Gin, or consider giving them small gift certificates to local businesses. 

4. Make jarred s’mores

A s’mores jar is an adorable way to serve up this classic backyard dessert. Simply fill a mason jar with wrapped pieces of chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows. Then, pass out the jars after you eat and let people make s’mores on a bonfire. The jar also makes it easy to send the s’mores home with people as party favors if you end up not having a fire. 

5. Book a caterer

Give yourself a break from the cooking, save time on cleanup, and indulge in the best foods possible by booking a caterer. You may want to go for classic BBQ fare, but don’t limit yourself to traditional hotdogs and burgers. Instead, kick up your party a notch with hors d’oeuvres, tasty hot entrees, or decadent cakes.

6. Be proactive about your drink strategy

The middle of summer is hot and your guests will be thirsty. Get proactive with your drink strategy. Consider setting up a bar for the adults and a float stand for the young and young at heart. Let guests know in advance if your event is a BYOB (bring your own bottle) type of affair or take the burden off of everyone and ask a caterer to provide drinks. 

7. Get the kids crafting

Crafting can be a great way to keep the kids at your 4th of July party busy. A toilet paper roll, a plastic bag, and some confetti are all you need to make homemade poppers. Decorate the final results with contact paper, stickers, drawings, or other designs. Alternatively, have them make red, white, and blue wreaths by attaching colorful clothespins and adding star-shaped stickers to a plastic ring.

8. Play lawn games

Lawn games are a great way to pass the time and they help break the ice between guests who don’t know each other well. Consider classic games like horseshoe or badminton, or invest in an Independence Day-themed cornhole game. 

9. Decorate everything (including the grass)

Party decorations help make any event festive and you should include all the usual suspects such as banners, streamers, and balloons. However, you should also consider decorating your grass. Just grab some cardboard and cut out star shapes. Then, use that as a stencil as you spray paint red, white, and blue stars all over your grass.

10. Make a snap, crackle, and pop station

Everyone likes to snap, crackle, and pop to celebrate the country’s independence, and to help them out, consider creating a stand with essentials to make a little noise. Label containers with the words snap, crackle, and pop. Fill the “pop” container with bubbles and wands so your quests can make bubbles and pop them. Then, fill the “snap” container with snaps that you throw at the ground to hear a snapping noise. Finally, put some sparklers in the “crackle” container and watch your guests light up with excitement.

11. Plan a small fireworks display

Fireworks regulations vary around the country but even if you live in a state where you cannot use bottle rockets or other aerial fireworks, you may want to invest in some smoke balls, fountains, snakes, and sparklers. Remember to practice the right amount of caution and only have responsible adults use these fireworks. 

12. Mix in some entertainment

Games, crafts, and a firework display will keep your guests busy, but you may also want to plan a little extra entertainment. You may want to book a band or a DJ – if this is your first party since the lock-down, you should treat yourself. Alternatively, consider asking the kids at the event to put on a talent show or get your adult friends involved in an open-mic performance. 

Your 4th of July party celebrates the birth of this country but at the same time, it gives you a chance to celebrate your family and friends. Make the most of your event by incorporating the ideas above and most importantly, relax and have a good time. Remember that ultimately fun and relaxation are the true goals of your party. 

Contact TooJay’s to make the 4th of July as tasty as possible

Let TooJay’s handle the cooking so you can sit back and enjoy your much-deserved shindig. We offer a catering menu with options to suit any taste. Ready to make your 4th of July party tasty, fun, and indulgent? Then, contact us today.

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Yes, You Can Still Get Catering for a Last Minute Event

A woman plans a last minute event while a TooJay’s caterer delivers meals in the background

Last minute event? Don’t stress! Just read this

Last minute event planning. If you’re the kind of person who needs weeks – or even months – to carefully plan the details of a gathering, it’s a terrifying prospect. Sometimes, it happens because the person in charge of planning the event dropped the ball and the responsibility was passed over to you (you can thank your less-than-organized coworker for that one). Other times, last minute event planning happens simply because of the randomness of life. Your best friend’s boyfriend unexpectedly proposes to her and as her future maid-of-honor, it’s your job to throw her a party, like tomorrow. 

Whatever the case is, it’s easy to get caught up dwelling on the daunting prospect of pulling a memorable event out of thin air. But guess what? You don’t have to! Not only is catering still very much an option for a last minute event, but there are other tips and tricks you can employ to make the whole thing go much easier. 

The next time you have to plan a last minute event, take a deep breath, and do this:

  • Relax – or try to, anyway

We get it, you’re stressed. Your boss just stepped into your office and casually said, “Hey, listen, you’re in charge of planning tomorrow’s big all-staff meeting. And make sure it looks impressive.” Suddenly, your heart is racing and you’re wondering if you should just quit, run away, and never look back.

We hate to break it to you, but stressing is only going to make last minute event planning harder. So take five minutes (seriously, all you need is five minutes) to calm down. You’ve got this!

  • Get organized

Avoid the whole running-around-like-a-chicken-with-its-head-cut-off thing by getting organized before you dive into planning. Look at your budget. Gather the phone numbers and websites you need for any vendors or other contacts. Now, make a to-do list. This will help last minute event planning seem more manageable. Once you have a clear idea of the steps you need to take it’s time to get to work.

  • Make sure time is on your side

In a perfect world, you’d have all the time in the world to plan every event. With a last minute event, that’s unfortunately not the case. Once you’ve got your to-do list made, the time to begin is now. This might mean showing up to the event space as soon as the doors are unlocked (or checking with venue operators to see if you can get in even sooner). If you’ve got at least a day’s notice, you may want to set up tables and chairs the evening before. Use all of the time you have. This is going to mean less sleep, but hey, that’s what coffee is for.

  • Teamwork makes the event planning dream work

Now is the time to work on your delegation skills. You don’t have to do this alone! Look for items on your to-do list that you can delegate to someone else. If it’s a work event, there might be an intern or sympathetic coworker who can take something off your plate. If it’s a social event, ask family and friends to help. Try to delegate tasks to people based on their skill sets and what they enjoy doing. This will ensure that things get done the right way. 

  • Don’t think big

If you’ve thrown epic theme parties and opulent dinners in the past, you may feel tempted to pull out all the stops with a last minute event, too. After all, it’s what you’re known for, right? So why not go crazy with decorations? Why not try to hire a magician or find an ice sculpture? 

Resist the urge! Now is not the time to be flashy. Look at the time and resources you have at your disposal and be realistic about what you can accomplish. A really great business lunch doesn’t need a DJ and a photo booth, we promise.

Last minute catering from TooJay’s Catering

Speaking of a really great business lunch, did you know that you can still get catering for a last minute event? It’s absolutely true!

TooJay’s Catering offers tons of last minute options. How many, you might ask? Over 30 menu items are available for same-day catering orders. When browsing our online menu, simply look for items with the clock icon next to them. This indicates that they are available for delicious, convenient, same-day ordering. Ready to order now? Place an online order today!

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5 Tips for Sending Party Invites

Invitation etiquette for a casual birthday party on a typical invite.

How to put together an invite system when you’re planning an event 

When you’re planning an event, it’s important to create an organized system for sending out invites. Will you send digital e-vites or invitations in the mail? Who will you invite when factoring in the budget? How formal or casual will your event be and should your invitations reflect that style? 

Planning will smooth out the process. Giving your guests enough time to respond will also make it easier for you to plan the rest of the party. Here are five invitation etiquette tips for your event. 

Tip 1: Digital or paper? 

The first decision you have to make when sending invitations is the form they’ll take – digital or paper (by mail). This may depend on the style of your event. If it’s a casual luau, for example, e-vites would be fine, but a fancy wedding probably calls for an in-the-mail invitation. 

Digital invites are cheap (they’re usually free, in fact) and are easy to send out. They might not be accessible to everyone, though, if they don’t have a computer or smartphone. Consider your guest list. Will there be older or less tech-savvy people on it? They would benefit from a paper invitation. If, on the other hand, you’re confident that everyone on your list will see an e-vite and the style of the party fits it, email away.  

Tip 2: Choose an invitation that fits your event’s style 

Design your invitation based on the feel of your event. The font, colors, and design of an invitation can tell a guest right away what kind of event you’re having. When you choose a design for your invitation, think about something that fits the occasion and go from there. Have fun with choosing the color scheme and design. Whatever the occasion, the style of your invitation should reflect the purpose of the event and show personality.  

Tip 3: Choose your guests

When making a guest list, think of who you want at this particular occasion. Instead of trying to invite everyone you know, you’ll want to narrow it down depending on the size of the event and your budget. Different events sometimes call for different guests; for example, you may invite your great aunt to your wedding but not necessarily to a Cinco de Mayo shindig. 

Tip 4: Keep the invite’s content short and sweet

Your invites should thoroughly detail the “who, what, when, where, and why” of the event. Clarity will keep questions to a minimum. 

You may also want to include pertinent details such as a dress code if there is one. Keep in mind how you can serve the best interests of your guests so that everyone feels at ease and can enjoy themselves when they get there. 

Tip 5: Make sure to include RSVP instructions 

Once you figure out if you’re creating digital or paper invitations, you can choose how the guests will RSVP. On a digital invitation, the guest can simply click a button to RSVP while paper invitations will need to include an RSVP card with an envelope and return address on them. 

Typical styles of invitation based on events

At the end of the day, event invitations, much like everything else, are a personal choice, so you should choose them in whatever style you like. With that being said, here are suggestions for invitation etiquette based on two popular events. 

  • For a wedding

Since weddings are usually formal, your invitations should reflect that. Paper invitations will work better for this type of event because it communicates the importance of it more than an email or text invite would. Important documents always come in a physical copy, so wedding invitations should as well. Planning a wedding involves many parts and sending invitations early with RSVP cards will make your planning process much smoother.

  • For a birthday party

Whether it’s your seven-year-old’s birthday or your mother’s 50th, birthday invitations can give guests an idea of the theme and formalness of the party. Emailing a fun digital e-vite would be perfect for a casual backyard party. This makes the RSVP process as simple as a click and easy for guests to add to their digital calendars. 

Share details, such as costume dress code, if you want guests to dress up for a certain era or theme. If there are last-minute changes, they can go into an update more easily in a digital form. 

Make your event shine with TooJay’s Catering

Whatever type of event you’re hosting, providing quality food for your guests is essential for a good party. TooJay’s offers catering services that have a span of options to choose from. Whether you need breakfast, lunch, or dinner, TooJay’s has options for each course and meal of the day. From sandwich platters to desserts, our catering menu has you covered. Call us today!

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8 Ways to Celebrate Your Employees on a Job Well Done

Graphic of megaphone shouting “Great Job!” on a yellow background for employee appreciation day.

An employee appreciation day is a great morale booster – and it’s also just a lot of fun!

Did you know that Employee Appreciation Day is an official holiday? Many don’t (and unfortunately it’s not a day off). Officially, Employee Appreciation Day takes place on the first Friday in March. It was started in 1995 by a guy named Bob Nelson. You might call Bob an employee appreciation enthusiast. He has authored many books on the subject and was so passionate about saying thanks to workers that he created a day for it.

If you’re reading this in 2021, you may have missed it – it was March 5. That doesn’t mean you can’t catch it in 2022, though, on March 4, or better yet, throw your own Employee Appreciation Day sometime soon. Why do this? Well, it’s not only a great way to keep your employees happy but it also makes good business sense! Retaining employees is less costly than hiring new ones, so avoiding staff turnover is always a smart move.

Stumped about how to throw your own appreciation day? These eight tips should help (spoiler alert: food is always the best way to show gratitude).

  • Hold employee appreciation day during business hours

No matter how close your team is, few people like to show up for workplace events outside of office hours. That’s why rule number one when hosting an employee appreciation day is to do it during business hours. This gives your staff a break from work and shows them that you respect the work/life balance.

  • Explore on-site and off-site options

Hmmm…now where to host your appreciation day? Take a look at what you’re working with at the office first. If you’ve got a break room big enough to host the whole staff, that’ll work (don’t worry, we’ll talk decorations in a bit). If you’ve got an outside space such as a grassy area near the building, that’s an even better idea if the weather is nice. 

If your office doesn’t have the right space, look to outside options, such as a nearby park, a restaurant with a private dining room, or an event venue.

  • Don’t forget about remote employees

In today’s remote office culture, some of your team may be working from home. Maybe you’ve even got folks who work from hundreds or thousands of miles away. Don’t forget about them! Offer a Zoom link to the event and send a gift in the mail (or a digital gift card via email) to say thank you for their work.

  • It’s all about the swag bags

Speaking of gifts, no employee appreciation party is complete without a token of your appreciation. You can give employees items with the company logo on them, such as sweatshirts or coffee mugs, or if you have a small team, opt for customized items (Etsy has some great options) so that each member of the team has something that’s just for them. If all else fails, sweet treats and gift certificates are never a bad idea.

  • Decorate

This is especially crucial if you’re having your employee appreciation party at the office. You want it to feel special – you know, not just like another coffee break beneath the fluorescent lights. Hit up a party store and buy streamers, confetti, and maybe even a piñata. Buy or make a banner saying “thank you.” Keep the decorations colorful and cheery.

  • Give out awards

One great way to say thanks is to give out awards. These can be serious or silly. Give a speech or write cards where you acknowledge specific achievements. You might even consider putting together a photo slideshow of some memorable events or accomplishments. 

  • Bring in entertainment

A truly great party has that wow factor: entertainment. No, we’re not saying you have to spring for a celebrity appearance from a famous pop star (your accounting department would definitely not love that decision). Consider a local musician or comedian, or maybe a guest speaker. If you don’t have the stage or space for that, you could even show a movie. Who doesn’t like the idea of a plate of good food and a movie during the workday? 

  • Say thanks with catering

Food is one of the best ways to say thank you to your hard-working employees. TooJay’s Catering is a trusted local caterer with 40 years in the business and a wealth of options that’ll delight everyone in your office. From savory lunch specialties to sumptuous desserts, nothing says “thank you” like a catered lunch for your employees.  Call us today to start planning. 

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Fresh and Creative DIY Tips for a Backyard Wedding

A newly-married couple at their backyard wedding speaks to a table of guests

Stun on your big day with these DIY outdoor wedding planning tips 

Key takeaways: 

  • Create your guest list based on the size of your backyard
  • Hope for sunshine, but make sure you have a plan in case it rains.
  • Use foliage, DIY arbors, and string lights to create a festive feel 
  • Consider long banquet tables to enhance conversation and optimize seating
  • Help your guests relax and have fun with lawn games, a bar, and a lounge area
  • Work with a professional caterer to provide delicious food

A backyard wedding lets you say “I do” in the great outdoors. It might be the backyard you played in as a child, shared countless BBQs with friends in, or created other sweet memories. Getting married in your backyard, your parent’s backyard, or renting an outdoor space benefits from a DIY spirit. You can strike a rustic tone, set up an enchanting tent, or embrace your own eclectic style. 

There are no limits to what you can do with backyard weddings, as the outdoor space is a perfect canvas to customize your big day. 

Planning your own or someone else’s backyard wedding and looking for ideas? Keep reading for 10 DIY tips for backyard nuptials. 

1. Size your guest list correctly

The size of your yard will indicate how many people you can have at your affair. Don’t overstuff your space or people might feel uncomfortable. Be realistic about how many people you can comfortably fit in your yard.  

Take the rough size of your backyard and identify how much space you need for the ceremony, the dance floor, the buffet table, or whatever else you’d like. Leave a good portion of space for the dining tables if you plan to have a sit-down dinner, and decide how many guests you can invite based on the number of tables and chairs you can fit in your designated dining area. You can be a bit more flexible if you skip the sit-down meal and opt for lots of hors d’oeuvres.

2. Hope for sunshine, plan for rain

You want your day to be as perfect as possible and that means planning for unwanted issues like rain. Try to shoot for a time of year when the weather is likely to be nice, but also make a plan in case the rain blows in. Have a backup indoor venue (your living room perhaps), invest in a rain tent or a weather-resistant marquee, and consider having ponchos handy. 

3. Pump up the foliage

Plants will help give your backyard wedding a lush and luxurious feel. Use small plants as table centerpieces, rent potted fruit trees for your tent, or add interesting plants and flowers around the dance floor. 

Make the most of your outdoor space by decorating everything from garden sheds to kiddie pools to decks to fences. It’s really up to you. Have an old clothesline, for example? Hang pots of flowers on the poles or wind flowering vines around the lines. 

4. Make a grand entrance

Welcome your guests to your backyard wedding by creating a grand entrance for them to walk through. Hang curtains from a metal frame, wind fabric and greenery around trellises, or create a rustic arbor with fallen branches and wildflowers. You can also walk through this entrance on your way up the aisle or use it as a backdrop to capture photos of your guests

5. Illuminate your backyard wedding with string lights

The right lighting is critical for a beautiful ambiance and string lights are gorgeous and affordable. Grab some umbrella stands or put metal poles into buckets full of concrete to support the lights. Then, place them strategically around your yard or use them to define different areas.

6. Utilize long banquet tables

Long banquet tables help you optimize the available space you have. They are great for conversation and you can customize them to create any look you want. Direct guests to their tables with an escort card display that complements the rest of your space. Use wood and wire to create a rustic look, for example, or integrate antique paper and baby’s breath flowers for a more elegant feel. 

7. Create a lounge area

Give your guests an area where they can sit, chat, and enjoy a beverage. Use patio furniture, plants, and hanging lights to create a lounge area. Alternatively, set up a glamping tent with comfortable upholstered furniture and a working chandelier if you would prefer a more luxurious space. 

8. Have lawn games

Create a fun vibe at your wedding with lawn games. Customize cornhole boards with your wedding date or special photographs. Take a note from a 1920s garden party and set up a fancy 2020s croquet game. You may even want to consider giant Jenga in your wedding’s colors.

9. Set up a backyard bar

Every backyard wedding needs a bar – even if you don’t plan to serve alcohol, you still need a stand for drinks. Opt for a traditional bar with a bartender or embrace the backyard vibe by turning an old fruit cart or antique pick-up into a bar. Complete the rustic feel by filling metal troughs with ice and canned or bottled drinks. 

10. Make the food spectacular

One of the biggest things people enjoy at a wedding is the food. Being outside doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice quality at all. Reach out to caterers in advance to talk about what kind of food you’d like. Caterers have a lot of experience with backyard weddings. They can let you know the ideal amount of food you need to keep your guests happy and walk you through the logistics of keeping buffet platters hot, organizing wait staff to pass out hors d’oeuvres, and dealing with other dining essentials.

Let TooJay’s Catering make your backyard wedding spectacular

We can help you make your backyard wedding into a spectacularly memorable occasion. TooJay’s offers a host of menu options including hot entrees, hors d’oeuvres, cakes, and more. We can customize the perfect menu for your big day whether you want a sit-down dinner, light snacks, decadent desserts, or something else. We offer full-service catering, as well as pickup and drop-off. 

Ready to start planning your wedding’s menu? Contact us today.

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