The Captivating Culinary Delights of Saint Germain Catering

Tips for Planning the Perfect Event

You have been given the task of planning a party, corporate event or other special event and need catering.  Whether it’s  for breakfast, lunch, reception or  plated dinner, you are not sure what to do or what  caterer to use,  let alone how much food to order or how to display it.  We have gathered a few helpful hints to help you with planning your event.

Here are some simple questions your caterer should ask to get you the most accurate quote to you:

What time does the party begin?

The time you’re hosting this will influence how much food will be needed to feed your guests adequately. Also it will help in determining the amount of hours you will need to provide food to your guests.

How many people are attending the event?

Always provide an estimate for the number of people you’re expecting. This should include you, the guests and any other service vendors  participating in the event.  For example, if you’re having a guest speaker,  photographer or even a DJ, decide whether you’ll provide them the same meal as your guests will be enjoying, or ask you caterer for a box lunch or dinner they can eat during their break from the event for your vendor meals.

What Type of  Menu do you want?

Of course the food will be part of the expense of the catered meal however there are many things that influence the actual price of your event.  Once you’ve shopped your caterer’s menu and selected the menu you want to serve, other items need to be discussed before any caterer can truly give you an accurate quote.

What kind of service do you want?

Buffet Service

Your breakfast, lunch or dinner menu will be presented on banquet tables for all your guests to go down and assemble their own meal from the items you’ve chosen for them.  This is the most economical service to offer as it requires less professional catering staff to serve all your guests.  Beverages and desserts can either be included with the buffet, or separate tables for these two items can also be set up to allow for a bit better guest flow at the buffet tables.

Plated Meal Service

This is the most formal service for your catered event. Guests are seated at tables and served their pre-plated meals by professional wait staff just like a full service restaurant. This is also the most expensive service so you should budget accordingly.

Passed Menu Items and Appetizers

This service is growing in popularity and being requested more and more.  It does control the amount of food you’ll need, however it does add to the wait staff required to plate and pass the items of your choice.  Your caterer should tell you what items work well for this type of service and how many wait staff will be needed to serve your audience in the time allotted for this portion of the meal.  Once these are served, and it’s time for the actual meal, you need to decide if want to serve a plated meal or have them enjoy a catered buffet.

Food Stations

Food and Action Stations are a good alternative to passed appetizers and most of these don’t require quite as much staff as the passed service will. These also create some sort of entertainment for your guests with them interacting and creating their own menu item at the station.  These Action stations do need to be manned with a chef or other professional catering attendant so that needs to be included in your budget as well.

What Place Settings Do You Want?


This is the more formal place setting to use and can range from basic white banquet china to numerous other color and shaped patterns. There are so many options out there you’re sure to match the theme or colors that will complement the event.  Be prepared to budget plenty of money for this though as prices start typically at $8 or more per person and that’s just the place setting. When opting for this level of service, more wait staff will be needed to properly service your event.


Disposable settings are gaining in popularity for banquets, receptions and other special event catering because it’s the most economical option available.

Just as china/glassware has many options, there are many disposable place setting options available today in a variety of colors and shapes and sizes that you’re sure to find what compliments your catering event perfectly.  Because these items are disposable, less wait staff will be needed to serve your guests properly.

Other Charges and Fees

Though all the items above will influence the actual price of your event, caterers have other charges and fees involved for their services in addition to just the menu price. There is delivery, set up, breakdown and clean-up  just to name a few, so make sure you’re getting an actual and accurate quote for your event from your caterer and not just a sample quote.

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