What is Catering: A Comprehensive Guide to Catering Services

Buffet Dinner Restaurant Catering Food Concept
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When it comes to organizing events, be that corporate ones, such as conferences and seminars, or more family-oriented ones, like birthday parties and weddings, food is more often than not one of the most important aspects of the whole affair. However, preparing and cooking everything on your own is not only time-consuming but also expensive, especially if you have an extensive list of guests.

That’s where catering comes into play, allowing you to focus on other aspects of the event planning without worrying about how you’ll feed your guests. But what exactly is it, and what are the different types of catering? You’ll find the answer below.

What Is a Catering Service?

A catering service is nothing more than a business that prepares and serves food and beverages for various events and occasions, including the above-mentioned weddings, conferences, etc. Those businesses usually tend to operate both small gatherings and big events with hundreds or even thousands of attendees.

They also typically have a number of menu options, so regardless of whether your guests are vegetarian, vegan, or they have certain dietary restrictions, such as being gluten or lactose intolerant, there will always be something for them to choose from.

While, in many cases, a catering company will solely focus its efforts on serving events and delivering food directly to a customer, it is not uncommon for restaurants to also have their own catering service.

How Does Catering Work?

The way catering works is actually pretty straightforward. First, you need to decide on a catering company that you want to go with – the best way to find a reliable one is to either ask your friends and family if you know someone who hosted an event recently, or by looking at online reviews.

Once you have decided on the one that fits your event the most, it’s time to schedule a meeting. During it, you will talk about what you need, come up with a menu, and sign a catering contract. Before the event takes place, you will have to pay for the service.

When the day of the event arrives, the catering service will deliver the food and, depending on the terms of your agreement, they might also be responsible for setting up, serving and cleaning up after.

And that’s pretty much it. As you can see, it’s quite simple.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Catering Service?

You might be wondering – Why should I use the services of a catering company? This is a very valid question, so let us tell you all about the benefits that using a catering service provides you with.

Wide Selection and Professional Guidance

Choosing the menu for an event can be extremely difficult, especially if you have several guests that have dietary restrictions. By using a catering service and allowing them to help you with organizing the menu, you can ensure that all the food provided during the event is not only delicious but also suit it, as different dishes might work best for different occasions. Not to mention that they will most likely be able to modify the dishes you choose so that everyone, regardless of their food intolerances, can enjoy them just the same.

Saves You Money and Time

Believe it or not, using a catering service can, in most cases, actually save you money, especially if you have a big event coming up. You also know all the costs upfront, as they typically have a set price per person.

When preparing food and beverages on your own, you have to take into account not only the ingredients but also things like electricity or gas, which can significantly increase the overall cost of food preparation.

Convenience

While we did mention the cost of preparing things on your own, we didn’t mention another important thing that doing so consumes – and that is time. Unfortunately, not everyone has enough time to make several dishes from scratch, so using a catering service and leaving the job to someone else can cut down on the stress a person experiences trying to fit it into their busy schedule.

Another thing worth mentioning is that many catering services include cleaning up after the event in their offer, so that’s another thing taken from your plate. Sure, sometimes that would require paying an additional fee, but considering the fact that it would most likely take hours to bring the place where the event took place to the state it was before, it does not seem like that much of a price to pay.

Finally, it’s no secret that there are plenty of things that go into organizing an event, not only food. By allowing the catering service to take that portion off your shoulders, you will be able to focus on other, sometimes more important, aspects of making sure the event goes as smoothly as possible.

The Bottom Line

Organizing an event is definitely no easy feat. There are so many things to do so that it goes perfectly, including finding a venue, ordering invites, and finding entertainment, among other things, that it can quickly become very overwhelming.

While a catering service cannot help you with everything, it can help you with the food preparation part, which often is one of the most consuming ones. Aside from the obvious one, which is convenience, there are many other benefits of choosing this option for your occasion – including the availability of options, the ability to adapt the dishes you choose to fit your guests’ dietary restrictions, and professional help in choosing meals that will best suit your occasion.

So, the next time you are really responsible for preparing an event, be that a birthday party, a wedding, or a business conference, consider giving a chance to a catering business.

Author

  • Dacia Flowers

    Dacia Flowers is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with a major in Cultural Anthropology. Since graduating in 2019, she has expanded her expertise and applied her anthropological background in the practical domain. As the Administration Manager at CMJJ Gourmet since August 2022, Dacia handles crucial day-to-day operations, ensuring the warehouse's optimal functionality, timely delivery of orders, and managing invoices. Her commitment to excellence and in-depth understanding of organizational dynamics stem not just from her academic prowess but also her personal passion. Beyond her professional responsibilities, Dacia has a keen interest in reading, loves to travel, and stays active through regular exercise.

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