What is catering? Nothing too complicated, the term refers to the process of preparing and providing food for different types of events, such as weddings, concessions, and corporate and social gatherings. Events that are catered can take place either onsite in the comfort of a client’s business or home or offsite at a hotel, banquet hall, convention centre or any other third-party location.

While the definition of catering is simple, the process itself is not. There are many different types of catering options to choose from and the choice you make will depend on the size of the event you are hosting and the services you will require. In addition, there are hundreds of decadent food options, covering dozens of menus, to select from. This can make it harder for some planners to determine where to start.

Having some trouble deciding on the type of catering event to host? Seeking some assistance with getting your event off the ground? Our event and corporate catering company in Toronto explains the 4 different types of catering services that are available to help make your next event a success.

4 Types of Catering

A good place to start planning for an event is to understand the different types of catering options available to you. The reason being that each type has a different type of planning, pricing, and ordering procedure. Narrowing down to one of these choices will not only save you time and money, but will help you simplify the menu choices and the type of services that you will need.

1. Corporate Catering

Corporate catering refers to the provision of food and drinks to business and corporate functions. The functions may range from onsite, small office gatherings to offsite, upscale dinners. The cost of a corporate catering event will also depend on the size and level of the function being hosted.

It is important to note that while some corporate functions are elegant, almost all corporate events are relaxed. They serve as opportunities to bring colleagues together, develop relationships, and network. It is therefore important to hire a catering company that specializes in serving corporate events and can ensure a relaxed atmosphere. Hiring a caterer that specializes in other functions, such as weddings, may prove wasteful and could eventually reflect on your expenses.

Types of Corporate Catering

• Breakfast
• Luncheons and Barbecues
• Conventions, Tradeshows and Conferences
• Board Meetings
• Product Launches

Wedding Catering

A wedding is one of the most important events in a couple’s lives. Unlike corporate catering, wedding catering is no casual affair. It requires some significant attention to detail and timing as well as clear communication with all members of the wedding crew, including the DJ, bride and groom, vendors and photographers. A seasoned wedding caterer will also know the wedding industry inside out and be able to deliver services on time and on budget regardless of the type of wedding being planned.

Wedding catering is much more than cooking and serving food. A full-service wedding caterer is responsible for some décor, table arrangements, and food presentation. They also take into consideration themes and fantasies and accommodate for food allergies and dietary restrictions. More importantly, they coordinate rentals like linen and serve ware as well as staffing. A first-class wedding caterer takes over the logistical planning so that the couple and their guests can enjoy a stress-free day.

Types of Wedding Catering

• A Plated, Sit-Down Dinner
• Family-Style Dinner
• Buffet Style
• Food Stations
• Cocktail Receptions

3. Social Event Catering

Social event functions are more intimate affairs and require greater attention to detail by the caterer. The category encompasses special events such as birthday parties, retirement celebrations, grand openings, housewarming parties, and bridal and baby showers.

Appetizers, décor, bartenders, and servers are some of what may be included in social event catering packages. Due to their small nature, social event catering menus differ from party to party. That’s because the clients’ dietary needs, allergens, preferences and cultural beliefs have to be considered to make the event successful.

Types of Social Events Catering

• Stationary Platters
• Hors D’oeuvres
• Small Plates and Stations
• Three-Course Plated Dinner
• Buffet
• Outdoor BBQ

4. Concession Catering

This category includes major sporting events, seasonal competitions and live concerts. Typically, catered food is offered at all of these events. Planning for these events requires skill to make sure you have all the right menu choices for your audience. The intent is not to provide a large variety of items to serve, but rather focus on the most popular food choices and the speed of service .