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Catering Service Styles

When you think of catering, a buffet table set up with numerous chafing dishes may come to mind. But there is much more to catering than that. There are various catering services to choose from depending on the mood of your event, whether formal or relaxed. Review these catering service styles to determine which will work best for your next event.

Butler Passing
One of the classier styles, butler passing involves the wait staff walking around the event carrying a tray of hors d’ oeuvres or beverages for guests. It can add a touch of elegance to your event, and is often a great way to get guests ready for the main event. For example, you can use butler passing as guests wait for the wedding party to arrive for the reception dinner.

Stations
These allow your guests to get up and move around, which promotes mingling. Guests can explore the different stations and get excited for what’s next. A great theme for this type of catering service would be “around the world” where each station is set up with foods influenced by various regions.

Action Stations
These stations offer foods made to order. Think a carving station or build-your-own omelet station. Your guests get to watch the chef prepare a fresh, custom-made dish just for them. To avoid wait times, many items are partially prepped.

Self-Serve Buffets
Food dishes are commonly set up on a linear table and guests proceed down a line to pick what they want. This is a more casual approach, offering guests a wide variety of foods. The downside is the potential for running out of food before everyone has a chance to go through the line.

Portion-Controlled Buffets
To combat the aforementioned potential issue, portion-controlled buffets have attendants on hand to serve guests as they go down the buffet line. Once everyone has been served, you can open the buffet up to guests who may want more.

Plated
Plated service means each guest is served a meal individually, and is commonly encountered at weddings and formal events. The tables are often pre-set with china plates, stainless flatware, glassware and linen napkins. This catering style is labor intensive as it usually requires a waiter for every three tables, plus additional staff to pre-set tables, plate food, and to clean up. Also, ensuring that all guests are served before the food gets cold can be challenging, especially for larger groups.

Family Style
This is more relaxed in contrast to plated dinners. Guests are seated at banquet tables and food is served on large platters placed in the middle of the table by waitstaff. Guests then help themselves to the items and portions they would like. Family style dining tends to foster interaction.

Before choosing a catering service style, you want to evaluate a few things.

  • What type of mood would you like to set for the event (formal, relaxed, interactive)?
  • How long will your event last?
  • Will you provide a full meal or hors d’ oeuvres only?
  • Define your budget. Remember that some services are more labor intensive than others (ex. plated meals, action stations), and thus, more costly.

The Brick Your Neighborhood Deli offers catering, ideal for casual business or staff meetings or office lunches. To learn more about our catering, visit us in store or call 909-596-5225. For the latest news and updates, connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.