There are two main types of catering on-premises and offpremises
catering that may be a concern to a large and small
caterer. On-premise catering for any function - banquet, reception, or
event - that is held on the physical premises of the establishment or
facility that is organizing / sponsoring the function. On-premise
catering differs from off-premise catering, whereby the function takes
place in a remote location, such as a client’s home, a park, an art
gallery, or even a parking lot, and the staff, food, and decor must be
transported to that location. Off-premise catering often involves
producing food at a central kitchen, with delivery to and service
provided at the client’s location. Part or all of the production of food
may be executed or finished at the location of the event.
Catering can also be classified as social catering and
corporate (or business) catering. Social catering includes such
events as weddings, bar and mitzwahs, high school reunions,
birthday parties, and charity events. Business catering includes such
events as association conventions and meetings, civic meetings,
corporate sales or stockholder meetings, recognition banquets,
product launches, educational training sessions, seller-buyer meets,
service awards banquets, and entertaining in hospitality suites.
All of the required functions and services that the caterers
execute are done exclusively at their own facility. For instance, a
caterer within a hotel or banquet hall will prepare and cater all of the
requirements without taking any service or food outside the facility.
Many restaurants have specialized rooms on-premise to cater to the
private-party niche. A restaurant may have a layout strategically
designed with three separate dining rooms attached to a centralized
commercial food production kitchen. These separate dining rooms
are available at the same time to support the restaurant’s operation
and for reservation and overflow seating. In addition, any of the three
dining rooms may be contracted out for private-event celebrations
and may require their own specialized service and menu options.
Other examples of on-premise catering include hospital catering,
school, University/ college catering.
Off-premise catering is serving food at a location away from
the caterer’s food production facility. One example of a food
production facility is a freestanding commissary, which is a kitchen
facility used exclusively for the preparation of foods to be served at
other locations. Other examples of production facilities include, but
are not limited to, hotel, restaurant, and club kitchens. In most cases
there is no existing kitchen facility at the location where the food is
served. Caterers provide single-event foodservice, but not all
caterers are created equal. They generally fall into one of three
Party Food Caterers:
Party food caterers supply only the food for an event. They
drop off cold foods and leave any last-minute preparation,
plus service and cleanup, to others.
Hot Buffet Caterers:
Hot buffet caterers provide hot foods that are delivered from
their commissaries in insulated containers. They sometimes
provide serving personnel at an additional charge.
Full-service caterers not only provide food, but frequently
cook it to order on-site. They also provide service personnel
at the event, plus all the necessary food-related equipment—
china, glassware, flatware, cutleries, tables and chairs, tents,
and so forth. They can arrange for other services, like décor
and music, as well. In short, a full-service caterer can plan
and execute an entire event, not just the food for it.