One of the most important aspects of working successfully with caterers and catering services is understanding the lingo. The following are some of the most common terms used when talking about event planning.

catering options
When talking about buffet style events, catering companies are generally referring to fully staffed serving stations, where the service includes dishes, plates and utensils. Buffets can include any number of items: appetizers, entrees, salads, desserts and even drinks.
Drop Off / No-Service Catering
With this option the catering service cooks the food and packages it in bulk and delivers it to the event site. Plating, serving, dishes and utensils need to be taken care of by you.
Mobile Catering / Food Trucks
Increasingly, many caterers are mobile - they work out of a food truck and will bring the "facility" to you! Another option is to simply arrange in advance to have a non-catering food truck arrive on site and cook from a pre-arranged menu.
On-Premise Catering
On-premise caterers prepare and cook the food at the location at which it's going to be served. While this generally refers to event facilities, many catering services are also open to working in a home, provided there is suitable space and equipment.
Off-Premise Catering
Off-premise services will bring pre-cooked and pre-prepared food to the event location.
Partial-Service Catering
In many cases caterers use this term to apply to "self-serve" style buffets, where the stations are not staffed. However, catering services are increasingly open to a variety of partial service catering options, which can include simply cooking and dropping off the entree, offering served appetizers only, no clean up, no serving dishes and much more.
Personal Chef Services
Personal chefs come in as many different styles as caterers. This type of service can range from simply preparing and cooking at the location at which it's going to be served — generally a home or other private location — to offering private cooking class style meals where the preparation is the event. In general personal chefs will handle everything involved in the meal, from shopping to plating to cleanup. While some personal chefs also offer additional "catering-type" services such as decorating advice, this is not a requirement.
Self Catering
In British English, "self-catering" usually refers to vacations where guest accommodations include kitchens and equipment for cooking their own meals. In entertaining terms, "self-catered" generally means that some of all party food for an event is prepared by the hosts, guests or both.
Sit-Down Plated Meal or Full-Service Catering
This is generally the most expensive option, but everything is handled by the caterer. Even here there are options, as full service may or may not include passed appetizers, desserts and beverage stations. In addition, full service catering generally includes accessories such as linens, plates, utensils, serving dishes and full clean-up.
Take Out / Pick Up / No-Service Catering
With this option the catering service cooks the food and packages it in bulk for pick-up. Plating, serving, dishes and utensils need to be taken care of by you.


Find a local caterer in your area. National directory by state and city of catering services and restaurants who cater.

  Catering services
  Event planning services
  Food trucks
  Restaurants that cater
  Specialty bakeries

  NO chains!

Find a local caterer now!


Seasoned Catering, Fairfield CT

Chef Francis Quinn at Seasoned Catering uses his love of cooking, innovative perspective, attention to detail, and years of experience to provide clients with a one of a kind experience.
featured catering service