When throwing an event, food is often the number one priority. You want to serve the kind of food that will get conversations going and that will set the mood of your party, while saving you money. The question here is this: would hiring a professional caterer or self-catering do the job?
Here are a few factors to consider:
When self-catering, food makes the least expensive part of your shopping list. However, you may need equipment and dishes that caterers have on hand, but you may have to buy, borrow or rent. If you are planning a less-formal event, you can still go DIY by using disposable plates, cups and other serving pieces.
Another viable option is to look for a commercial kitchen for hire. These are portable kitchens that come with standard kitchen equipment such as a refrigerator, oven or dishwasher. Some units even come with a gas fryer, generator, utensils and serving ware. This way, you don’t need to spend $40 or more per guest on a catering service.
Hiring a catering service eliminates the need to hire help. Most caterers take care of the place setup and decorations, aside from the food itself. They also have in-house servers who make sure your guests are never out of food or drinks. If you’re holding the event at home, though, you may want to keep the expensive vases somewhere safe, statues or anything breakable because with all the rush, accidents are inevitable.
When self-catering, on the other hand, you may need a small army of helpers. Maybe one person for every food table, one person to do the cleaning, and another to help you with the food preparations (if you’re the one cooking.) If you have plenty of friends and family who are willing to lend a hand, this would not be a problem.
DIY catering gives you more flexibility in terms of the food you’re serving. If you are cooking for a family reunion, for instance, you may choose to cook a recipe that has been in the family for generations — an option that may not be available if you hire a catering service.
You may choose to hire a caterer or a transportable truck, but the essential part is the planning. Calculate the pros and cons against the number of guests and the kind of party you’re having, to ensure the success of your event.