The best way to make an event successful is to ensure your guests are comfortable, enjoying themselves, and having fun. This can be accomplished when people have enough to eat and drink at your party. You also need to offer a wide variety of food choices to your guests so that everyone has something to eat and enjoy. You do not want a situation where guests are confined to a small menu or food is rationed to make sure each individual gets a bite.
The most important factor to consider is how you will serve the food to your guests without disrupting the event schedule. It depends on the number of people expected to attend the event as well as the formality of the occasion. This article looks at the different food service options you should consider when planning for your next event.
Serving a plated meal is an elegant way of entertaining your guests and is ideal for events that feature multiple courses. This style of catering is ideal for events that are required to stick to a strict timeline. A waiter delivers the plated meals to every guest. Everyone eats at almost the same time making it one of the fastest service options. Some of the downsides of serving plated meals are that it provides limited options for guests and comes with additional costs for culinary staff.
A buffet is one of the best foodservice options if you are dealing with a large number of guests. In this setup, guests are provided with a variety of food options and the freedom to serve what they like. The food temperature is maintained in hard chafers and visually appealing service ware and a small staff always stand by to replenish food and provide help when needed. A buffet can easily accommodate dietary restrictions as it provides several food options to please all guests. One of the downsides of buffet-style catering is that guests have to wait longer through the service line and you may incur higher food costs since people can take more than planned portions.
- Staffed Stations
Staffed stations are ideal if you want to offer more experience to your guests. Chefs are stationed at strategic locations to serve food to guests with options like flame-tossed bananas foster, create-your-own pasta stations, or meat carving stations. Although guests stand in line, they are served by chefs rather than helping themselves. Unlike buffet, this type of catering can help control food options saving you money in the long run. However, it can demand a higher price in terms of the number of staff and special equipment required to serve guests.
Family-style food service is similar to a plated dinner but is less formal and fosters guest interaction. Large bowls and platters of food are served on the table and guests are allowed to self-serve and pass to one another. This style of food service allows guests to interact with each other and encourages unity among people who share common principles. It is ideal for creating a relaxed environment since guests have quick access to food served on the table. One of the downsides of family-style food service is that it attracts a higher cost for the equipment needed for each table.
- Cocktail Style
This is one of the most affordable and cheerful catering styles that does not leave you with tons of leftovers. Guests are allowed to interact with each other as they sample out tasty bits of appetizers and share some fine cocktails. This food-service option is ideal for smaller events, which are more personal and festive. Cocktails are now trending as an integral part of an event with lip-smacking appetizers and sparkling drinks. If a cocktail catering menu is chosen aptly, it can leave you and your guests drooling over it.
In this type of food service, a catering company delivers food with disposable equipment and then you can take it from there. This style of catering is ideal for a small gathering and a small budget. It is budget-friendly, easy to coordinate, and easy to clean up after the event is over. However, the menu items are limited and there is no staff onsite to help with tear down and cleanup.
The decision on the best food service option will entirely depend on the atmosphere you want to create and the type of event you are staging. One of the main factors that determine the serving style you can choose is your budget. It is important to plan ahead of time and set aside a budget for unforeseen contingencies so that your event can run smoothly without any shortcomings.