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How to choose the most appropriate menu?

2 years Corporate, News, Weddings

Once you have selected your catering company or Chef, the next step will be picking the type of menu and service you would like to have for your event.

How do you do that? Well, first you need to think about the kind of event you are organizing: is it a social or corporate event? Where do your guests come from? What type of food are they used to?

When organizing a corporate dinner or lunch, you must take into consideration the well-being of your guests more than anything. You must choose an appropriate menu to ensure your gathering is a success.

On the other hand, for weddings, the menu should reflect the couple’s personality: how they are and what they like. Obviously, taking into consideration their invitees is important, yet they should feel comfortable with their choice as it is THEIR special day.

I have listed the most popular types of services we see at events:

Plated Service

This is one of the most traditional ways to do it (if it is not the most traditional). It is a coursed menu presented on individual plates. We see this type of service during lunch presentations, formal dinners, and many weddings.

It is ideal when you are offering an international cuisine meal, as the choice will be restricted. However, the cost and waste are controlled as the number of guests is confirmed in advance.

A benefit of this service is the fact that the time spent at the table is well-coordinated. Ideally for events with small speeches and presentations, as they could be done in between courses.

On the cons side, you will need excellent service staff. Depending on the number of guests, this may be a challenge: if you wish everyone to be served nearly at the same time, waiters should be trained to provide fast and efficient service.

Plated Service

Buffet Service 

This style is ideal when you have a group of people coming from different cultures and having distinctive food tastes.

Also, it is a plus when you have food lovers in your crew. Since they will serve themselves, they will determine the quantity and pace of their appetite.

I am honestly not very fond of this service, due to the presentation. In order for the buffet to look clean and attractive, the decoration around has to be spectacular. Moreover, the quantity of food should be larger than usual to give guests a choice. This implies food waste.

Finally, as the invitees are serving themselves, there are always “accidents”: either on the tablecloths or during the navigation around the room.

On the other hand, I must say that although the menu price is more expensive than a plated service, you could save money on the staff side. Also, I do like the combination of buffet and plated service. For instance, I love the idea of a buffet of desserts: all those mini pieces of heaven mixed with a creative decoration are just… to die for!

Buffet Wedding Event

Live Cooking Stations

I really like this concept, especially for aperitifs and cocktail receptions.

It is basically a station where the chef prepares the food in front of you: you have the show and the food. It could be a pasta station, a grilled shrimp station, sushi station, or even a sweet one like ice cream!

The inconvenience with this format is the cost: as it will require a chef per station, as well as the fact that each station should be nicely decorated, could imply a significant rental budget.

Nevertheless, when you are planning a themed party, this is an excellent choice. Again, you can mix the service styles and use the live cooking station for a rich aperitif and, for instance, to replace a course: a starter or a dessert.

Food Station

Family Style

In family-style dining, each guest serves themselves from the food plates.

While this type of service has become popular for many years now in restaurants, during COVID it was the best alternative to the buffet.

I like the fact that invitees do not have to leave their tables and food comes to them. So, the atmosphere in the room is clean and we avoid any traffic jams.

The challenge here is to keep the food warm, however as we see in the tapas and mezze places, the meal could be served in 3 or 4 waves. It is cost-effective as you need less staff and the quantity of food is also controlled.  Keep in mind that this is an informal setting, so it is more appropriate for intimate gatherings.

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