4 Most Popular Catering Services
This is one of the 4 most popular catering services to use to serve groups. Food is arranged and presented on buffet tables and guests select their meal from the platters, bowls and chafers (food warmers) on the buffet table. Beverages and desserts can be part of that presentation or, set up on their own tables depending on the size of the room and the flow needed to move guests through the buffet area and the amount of time allotted for guests to eat.
Growing in popularity, food stations offer guests the chance to mix and mingle while gathering up their food. These also offer entertainment if you offer a professionally manned station like a carving station, pasta station or omelet station. The food is typically prepared in front of the guest with the selections the guest has made and the waiter prepares that and presents it to the guests. These stations will require more time to serve everyone but are a great way to add variety to what would typically be one standard menu item for all.
Family Style Catering
Family style catering falls right between a buffet and a plated meal. Family style offers a “buffet” type service with platters, bowls and plates of enough food for the table being presented and placed on the tables. For example, if you were offering a chicken dish, potatoes and vegetable medley, and there were eight guests per table, one platter with 8 portions of chicken, one bowl of potatoes with enough for 8 and one bowl of vegetables with enough food for 8 would be placed on the table and guests then help themselves from those offerings, similar to a holiday meal you’d serve your family at home.
The most formal of all catering services is the plated meal. If you’ve been to a hotel banquet where everyone was seated, and individual meals were pre-plated and then brought out from the kitchen and served to each guest, that’s a plated meal. This will be the most expensive way to present any meal you want to offer this way simply because of the amount of professional wait staff needed for serving, clearing and tending to each and every guest.
Mix and Match Catering Services
You can mix and match services depending on the event. Cocktail hour can be food stations with appetizers placed throughout the venue allowing guests to mingle and nibble at the same time. This will allow guests to maneuver around easily if the food is small, bite-sized and not too messy.
For dinner, you can present your menu as a buffet, allowing guests to serve themselves, or with wait staff assisting behind the buffet. Again, you will need enough time to allow all guests to get through the line and get seated for eating. A professional caterer will know how many buffet lines will be needed based on your menu, the guest count and the time scheduled for dining.
Dessert can be either plated or offered family style allowing guests to remain seated throughout the meal. Ask a professional caterer to assist you in designing just the right catering service for your next successful event.