Discover Popular and Well Rated Catering Services
Catering services have a number of responsibilities, but their main goal is to provide food during your events. Caters are normally associated with larger events, such as corporate fundraiser or weddings, but they can also be used in smaller events, like a graduation celebration. How involved the caterers become can change, based on both your needs and the catering companies.
Some companies focus solely on preparing and distributing food. Others take a more active role in planning an event, helping with venue location, decoration and other tasks. Some catering companies just act as intermediaries, with the actual cooking coming from your kitchen staff. In these circumstances, the catering company focuses more on presentation and delivering the meals to guests. In 2020, working with a catering company has greatly changed because of Covid-19, but there are still many ways you can work with caterers.
Advantages of Catering Services
The biggest benefit of hiring a catering service is having professionals cooking for your event. This is especially important with larger events, where it is impractical to try and prepare meals for everyone. Having professional chefs is helpful for more than just saving time and ensuring a good meal. Professional chefs know how to prepare meals for different types of dietary restrictions, such as food allergies or intolerances. It is one of the first questions catering services ask about when preparing for an event, which is something hosts often overlook.
Outside of allergy issues, it is helpful to have a catering service list multiple meal plans. Not everyone shares your food preferences, so working with a caterer is a good way to ensure you have enough food for all your guests. In addition, catering services know how to cook for large groups while staying within a reasonable budget. This does not mean catering services use cheap ingredients, but they know exactly what to buy and where to get deals for buying in bulk. Many hosts try and cut down on costs by doing food preparation themselves, only to find they end up spending more than if they hired a catering service.
Another advantage of hiring a catering service, especially in 2020, is the service knows all the safety procedures to follow and what permits you need for your event. The FDA has strict guidelines in place for preparing food in 2020 due to Covid-19. Catering groups already know the safety procedures to follow. Depending on the nature of your event, you may also need permits. Overlooking these permits could cause the event to be cancelled, or require you to pay a large fine after the fact.
Catering services are also good at setting a tone and matching the atmosphere of your event. If you want to impress, you can ask for a more professional setting, but if you are hosting a celebration, you can focus on a relaxed environment. Working with the catering service also takes some of the planning responsibility off of your shoulders, letting you focus on other areas where you cannot hire a professional to help.
Catering Services During Covid-19
Many businesses were hit hard during the pandemic. When quarantine guidelines first began, many speculated catering businesses would be forced to close. Safety risks were one issue, but the larger problem was social distancing guidelines made it unlikely to host a large event, where caterers are normally required. The National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) came up with a number of safety procedures caterers could follow to stay in business.
Even with these safety procedures, catering services had to adapt to a new market. One of the ways catering services have evolved in 2020 is shifting into delivery. While customers are not hosting large events, there are still many individuals and families that benefit from having a large number of prepared meals. Catering services are delivering large quantities of food, which can be reheated over several days. These services are much less expensive than ordering delivery every night. Some catering services are also partnering with local shelters, or providing meals to hospitals or other essential businesses, which must stay open but cannot reasonably have a cafeteria staff.
Catering Foods and Services
There are four primary ways caterers present food. Which method they use largely depends on the number of guests, but also the type of the event. During longer events, where guests can freely get food throughout the day, many hosts use a buffet style. With this option, buffet tables are set up throughout the venue, and guests can freely select their meals. For smaller groups, you can use family style catering instead. This is similar to a buffet, but instead of setting up individual areas for food, each table is supplied with a large amount of food, which the guests can divide among themselves.
More formal settings often use food stations. Food stations focus on advanced food preparation, where a staff member prepares food for the guest. Some examples include carving, pasta or omelet stations. The most forma option is plated catered meals. With this option, the staff prepares individual plates for each guest, which are delivered by the catering staff.
The types of food also vary depending on your event. Entrees and desserts are typically included no matter the event, but you can also request appetizers and smaller sides, such as soups or salads. Entrees often fall into three categories, meat, seafood and vegetarian. There may be additional variations, such as offering both chicken and steak as a meat entrée.