Q: I love having people over but I am a hopeless entertainer. I typically tell my friends to BYOB and maybe I order a pizza or throw out a bag of chips if I happen to have one. Real talk…I am also lazy. Any way I can up my game without the effort?
A: I mean the short answer is to throw money at the problem. Hire yourself a party planner or a caterer. Perhaps, find yourself a partner or friend that loves this stuff and pawn it off on them under the guise that you truly think they create magical Instagram-worthy experiences.
Those aren’t options or feel guilty manipulating the people you love?
There are a few ways to handle these things yourself but it will take some effort and planning. The good news is with a few tricks those can be minimal and definitely less than if you wanted to really Martha Stewart your next shindig. Yes, Martha Stewart is the verb of that last sentence.
Having a Dinner Party?
Look, I’m going to be the last one to knock pizza, but I get that you may want to mix things up a bit or have an excuse to use real plates instead of pretending the pizza box is one large communal plate for your honored guests. There are so many food delivery services now that you really only need about an hour heads up to place an order from numerous local restaurants and have just about any cuisine delivered hot to your door.
A few to get you started; EatStreet (eatstreet.com), Grubhub (grubhub.com), DoorDash (doordash.com), and Ubereats (ubereats.com).
A few things to consider in navigating these services. Take a look at the fees associated with each restaurant. Some sites have a flat delivery/service fee some change based on the restaurant. There are also minimum amounts for ordering, varying delivery times, and/or incomplete menus or inflexible ordering (limited customization).
There also really isn’t a need for loyalty to one of these services. Of the one’s listed above, EatStreet does the best offering rewards and coupons for frequent orders. The others give opportunities and discounts to new customers and through referrals.
As these types of delivery services are still growing, trying to carve out market share, and work out the kinks, you may have to search more than one to find the right restaurant to calm your cravings at the right time and price. But should you need Curry in a Hurry, Doughnuts at Dusk, or even a Pizza Party, you now have curated options with minimal effort.
Ok, so feeding a group isn’t the most difficult of tasks but what if you decide at 2:00 pm on Friday to have friends over for a gathering at 6:30? Realistically, you have a half-empty bottle of Gatorade and some Totinos but pretty much every other cupboard is bare.
You’re not going to get off effort-free here, but you can definitely spend about 20 minutes of clicking and have everything you need delivered to your door as you return from work, which beats running to the store in Friday rush hour.
You could consider investing in a grocery delivery service like Shipt (shipt.com). For a monthly or annual fee ($14/mo, $99/yr) you can get groceries in as soon as an hour delivered to your door. Entertaining is a lot easier when all of the supplies magically appear.
Amazon PrimeNow (primenow.amazon.com) has been clutch in my last-minute party planning. If you are not a prime member ($119 a year) you are probably the only one. This is one of those things where you just have to suck it up and know that the Big A is going to rule the world in the not too distant future and just drink the Kool-Aid. Because that Kool-Aid gets you just about anything delivered for free faster than you could get it from almost anywhere else.
There are some tricks to navigate and make this route cost effective. Now that Amazon and Whole Foods are a one stop shop (remember that part about global domination) you have really great grocery items to pick from. While Amazon offers a wide array of grocery items, I would recommend using the Whole Foods option to design your perfect cheese and charcuterie plate, to amaze with something from the bakery, or create a fresh sushi display that will make you look oh so fancy.
Then use the Amazon offerings to round out your night. Need plates, napkins, or a Mardi Gras themed centerpiece (amzn.to/2wZqlFM) to get your party started?
Or how about a game night? Easily get playing cards and poker chips delivered for a night of Texas Hold’em. Perhaps, a round of Exploding Kittens is more your speed (amzn.to/2QjrtMr)?
And if you’re feeling no frills, pick a crowd-pleasing movie from one of the free Prime streaming offerings, order a couple extra bags of Totinos, some chilled beer or wine (wait…did I forget to mention that part), and you have yourself a party.
Realistically, we all know how you entertain. You do you. But, put the chips in a bowl, man…we’re not animals (amzn.to/2O4vH9g).