Great events center on great food. Whether you’re planning a corporate event, a family gathering, a wedding, or any other get-together, people will talk about the food and drinks long after the lights go out. If you want to avoid the dreaded rubber chicken, cardboard rolls, and bland sides that garner big eye rolls and long complaints from guests, you need a great caterer! Where do you start in your search for the perfect partner to delight your guests? We’re here to break down the different types of caterers and help you pick the right one for a great event!
Types of Caterers
The world of catering is much more nuanced than snazzy names and sample trays at bridal events. When it comes to catering companies, there are three major types of caterers:
- Hotel and Restaurant Caterers. The first division of catering services are place-based caterers whose primary business is something other than providing food services to events. Hotels and restaurants fit into this category as place-based caterers whose kitchens often provide a limited catering menu for on-site service or delivery. Hotels and restaurants often serve as intermediaries and may provide menu design, preparation, banquet arrangements, seating, table setup, staff sourcing, and deliverables. Many hotels and some restaurants have an event or catering coordinator who manages these services for you. Sometimes, your venue choice limits the choices you have with regards to catering as many hotels and conference centers require that you work with their in-house catering departments. In some ways, this can be convenient since it may cut down on the number of vendors and people you have to talk with to prepare your event. In other ways, this lack of choice can limit your food and beverage options and even drive up costs.
- Mobile and/or Delivery Catering. The next group of caterers always come to you through mobile or delivery catering services. These catering companies or individual caterers might prepare food on-site or off-site in their own commercial kitchens and then deliver the finished product to your event. Mobile caterers sometimes include food trucks, food carts, and other similar on-demand dining options and are sometimes associated with more casual events. Some mobile and delivery caterers, however, are fully equipped to handle any event – from company picnics to sit-down dinners at a wedding. Mobile and/or delivery caterers can often accommodate a wide range of menu options, assisting with menu design and other planning options. Sometimes, mobile and/or delivery caterers lack the capacity to provide tables, chairs, and other hardware needed for your event, but they are almost always prepared to serve your food at the desired temperature and keep your guests delighted with fresh and delicious food options. Sometimes, these caterers take a more hands-off role in your event, simply providing the food (and sometimes beverages) you need for the event, providing setup services, and leaving the rest to you.
- Private Full-Service Caterers. Finally, there are full-service catering companies whose sole purpose is to make planning and executing your event a total breeze and a dream come true. These catering companies are often led by professional chefs with the training and experience you need to design a custom culinary experience to fit the season, theme, and ambience of your event. Full-service caterers often offer to handle every aspect of your guest’s dining experience, including the rental of tables, chairs, decorations, and food service equipment needed for a seamless experience that gets people talking in the best of ways. Full-service caterers are focused entirely on your event and its success and can work in any venue.
Vibrant Occasions – Your Hybrid Full-Service Caterers
At Vibrant Occasions, we don’t quite fit the mold. Led by Chef Serge Krikorian, our team of chefs and culinary experts are ready to design a custom menu and event experience that will make your event the talk of the season! With our mobile catering and food truck concept (Our Mobile Kitchen) and full staff of event catering professionals, we’re ready to serve up five-star dining experiences absolutely anywhere. We make planning an event and delighting your guests a smooth, exciting experience! For your next event, call on us to bring excellent food and professional service to the table.