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Catering is food prepared by professionals to be served to a group of people at a designated place for a designated time and fee. Although catering has been considered a “service for the wealthy,” it is now in demand for many occasions.

Types of Catering
There are two main types of catering:

On-premise catering refers to food prepared and served in the same location to a group of people. Off-premise catering is food that is prepared in a kitchen and transported to the location where it will be served to a group of people.

Both on-premise and off-premise catering have much in common. Obviously, transportation by vehicle is a main difference. It complicates food safety issues such as packing safely to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, and to avoid spillage. This is accomplished by using:

A caterer’s reputation for high-quality food that is safely prepared can take years to develop. Any outbreak of a food borne illness could result in lawsuits, death, and the closing of the business. Safe food handling procedures are a must; there are no shortcuts.

Planning Considerations
For successful events, the caterer must anticipate and plan every step in the serving and eating process. Other arrangements, such as entertainment, flowers, tables, chairs, tents, and special equipment need to be considered. Thinking through the details of each event is what makes catering challenging.

Of all the details, the most important is the menu. Not only is the type of food important, but also other presentations must be carefully considered:

Buffet Set-Up
To help plan a buffet set-up, use the following tips:

The diagrams below show typical buffet set-ups. One illustrates a reception type buffet; the other a dinner buffet. Common sense and convenience are the best guides to setting up buffet tables.



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