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Why Service Styles Matter

Strawberry Salad

Photo courtesy Ken Kienow Photography

Published on, written by Heather Jones

Many aspects go into planning an event, but catering is arguably the most influential piece of the puzzle. A chosen service style determines everything from guest seating to food selections, making it an important decision early in the process. There’s a big difference between buffet-style service and plated dinners, for example. Let’s take a look at the different options and how they are playing out in 2019.

Buffet service

Buffet-style dining has risen in popularity over the past year and continues to be a top choice for clients this year. The ease of self-service simplifies the experience and allows guests to choose what they want. With the increased focus on dietary restrictions, this is a great way to let guests control what ends up on their plates. As a whole, buffets provide a more relaxed and time-efficient option with the opportunity to include chef-manned stations for direct guest engagement.

Interactive stations

Skip the continental breakfast vibe and opt for interactive stations, like omelets or tacos being constructed on a made-to-order basis. This style offers a fresh, handmade feel and can be combined with a garnish bar to provide guests with an array of toppings and sauces. These activity-centered, Instagrammable stations immerse guests into the event experience, and the possibilities are endless.

We recently created an “action” station with a chef hand-carving Iberico ham to serve with crostini and have also seen countless other ideas play out, from ceviche bars to DIY baked potato stations. Dessert stations also remain extremely popular, as wedding clients shift from a traditional cake to a variety of sweets to satisfy every palate.

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