Understanding and Choosing the Best Catering Service Style for Your Next Catered Event

    Below you will find a relatively comprehensive list of the most popular Catering Service Styles in the US. These styles vary drastically from one to the next and range from very informal family style or cafeteria style to very elegant sit-down plated style caterings. The fact is, when it comes right down to it, if you have the right caterer you can achieve just about anything that you can conceive when it comes to catered events.

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  • Action Stations
    Action Stations are quite similar to Buffet Style Caterings. However Action Stations are more lively and interesting than a standard buffet because guests get the opportunity to watch chefs prepare and serve their meals right in front of them. Some foods work better at Action Stations than others including carving stations grilling stations, various bars (potato bar, burger bar pasta bar) fajitas, crepes and omelets, sushi, flaming desserts and drinks, etc. Action Stations are often referred to as Performance Stations. Action Stations are definitely more fun (and more expensive) than a Standard Family Style Buffet or Buffet Service.

    Buffet Style Catering Service
    In Buffet Style Catering Service the food is arranged on tables. Guests visit the buffet line and self-serve. When guests are finished filling their plates they return to their tables to enjoy their meals. To enhance this service you could have waitstaff serve salads, beverages or desserts to the guests. Another way to enhance a Buffet Catering Service is to have waitstaff deliver guests' plates to tables once they are finished filling them.

    Butler Hors D'Oeuvres Catering Service
    Obviously an Hors D'oeuvres service
    where wait staff (often in tuxedos) places finger foods on fancy trays in the preparation area or kitchen and then brought out to guests into social areas. Guests then serve themselves, often using small plates or cocktail napkins. You will often see this service in upscale receptions and events, especially business oriented.

    Cafeteria Style Buffet Catering Service

    This is a another style of Buffet because guests stand in food lines, however they do not serve themselves. Instead chefs or servers will assist them from behind the buffet line. Cafeteria Style Buffets are perfect for controlling costs due to the fact that you can control portion size (to a large degree). You can also do a hybrid of this style by letting guests self-serve less expensive items (soups, salads, veggies) while servers attend to the more expensive items such as meats. Cafeteria Style Buffets offer you the opportunity to add several Action Stations into the mix.

    English or Family Style Catering
    At an English or Family Style Catered Service guests are seated and typically larger platters and serving bowls are filled with assortments of foods. These are prepared in a serving area or in a kitchen and brought to the tables by waitstaff and/or servers. Guests then can self-serve and pass the food to other guests. This is a very cozy and family like Catering Style. To add spice to a Family Style Catering add a Carving Station or Action Station.

    Hand Service Style CateringDuring Hand Service Style Catering guests are always seated before the meal. For each every two guests there is one server. The magic to this type of service is that all guests at a table are served at precisely the same time. To make this more effective, all guests in the entire room are served all at once. This takes a lot of staff and some good coordination. Servers typically wear white gloves and serve the pre-plated meals (each are covered with domes. Servers, each responsible for two guests, stand between them and wait for the direction or cue from the Captain or head waiter. At the direction of the captain or maitre d’ hotel, allWhen the cue is given all plates are placed in front of all guests, and their dome covers are removed, at precisely the same time. Hand Service is a very impressive way to serve your guests... and quite a bit more expensive due to the number of waitstaff necessary to pull it off effectively but certainly worth it if you can afford it.

    Plated (American) ServiceFirst all meals are prepared and plated in the kitchen or prep area. After guests are seated and host/hostess gives the direction or pre-arranged time is established guests are seated and the meal is typically announced. Meals are brought to the tables and servers should serve from the left of each guest except for any beverages which should be served from the right. Any used dishes, sliver and glassware should be removed from the right. American Plated Catering is the most common type of catering service in this country. It is also the easiest to control and the most economical. The major disadvantage with Plated Service is that foods plated too far in advance can get cold, lose their visual appeal and even taste.

    Plated Buffet ServiceFor Pre-Plated Buffet Catering food is pre-plated and placed on a buffet or serving table. Once the host/hostess or Captain (if a pre-arranged time is made) gives the direction, guest got to the buffet table where they select a tray and then proceed to select the plated items that they would like (salads, desserts, main entrees, sandwiches, etc). This is an effective Buffet Style Catering because all guests have to do is pick their plates add it to their trays and go back to their tables.

    The Wave Style CateringThe Wave Style Catering Service is a very quick and efficient method of serving a catered event. The entire team of servers work together to get guests served as quickly as possible. They will typically start serving from one end or side of the room and work their way to the other end (or side). Therefore there are no individual work stations because the room becomes a workstation for the entire team. The Wave Style Catering is most effective when used in conjunction with Plated/Pre-Set Service Styles. This is an impressive way to serve large groups quickly, while utilizing less labor. The downside is that there is very little personal attention to guests.

  • Get Informed and Get the Right Style of Catering for Your Next Event

    Make sure that you understand the different Styles of Catering before you plan your next event. Understand costs, efficiencies and Wow Factor. Try to match the style of catering with your event style. This can be a major contributing factor to the success of your affair as well as guest satisfaction. Always work with your caterer and discuss all possibilities including mixing and matching styles. Remember, events can be fun and exciting when properly planned, and catering is a huge part of that.and wow factor

    PRESENTED BY The Legendary Skillet Catering
    Catering that is Legendary




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