Strictly by definition, catering is the practice of providing food service to a public gathering or establishment. However, event catering goes beyond that. Anybody can make sure that food is provided on-site, but only a few people can make sure that the food is relevant to the event at hand, that guests are served properly, and that popular items are replenished in time. Here is a quick overview of what event catering really is and why it is important to any gathering.
Food Delivery and Preparation
In its most basic form, even catering is about the preparation and delivery of food. You contact the caterer, they make sure to deliver what you need, and you go on from there. That is not to say that catering is just a matter of delivery, though. Most caterers also prepare the food display and help with setup. In some formal events, such as weddings and retirement parties, you may be able to hire a server. Most notably, caterers have a high degree of experience with events and can provide recommendations to help the food presentation. A particular hors d’ouevre might be popular served alongside another dish, for example. You might not know that, but an event caterer does.
Advice and Insights
An experienced event caterer can not only provide the food and service needed for a given event but can also utilize that experience to help improve an event as a whole. This is not a required service, but it is a perk either when you are hiring a professional caterer or when you yourself have catered enough parties to learn common trends. This can include basic items like the fact that ordering food for about 20% fewer people than you’ve invited accounts for no-shows effectively, or it can be more complex matters such as knowing which dishes are most appealing to what kind of events.
There are many different event catering services out there, but it is also worth knowing that you can become your own caterer with enough experience and help. The more parties and events that you put together, the more prepared you will be for future gatherings.