After you learn how to start a catering business the next question is, “What types of catering events will you service?” Will you stick with classic weddings–such as a winery wedding–and corporate social event ideas? Will you branch out with baby showers, reunions, or engagement celebrations?
In this post, we walk you through 10 types of catering events. Some are commonly catered events, while others will be a niche area if you choose to work with them.
Catering has been around since the 4th century BC in China, and in all those years, it’s continued to grow. There is the standard catering you’re used to hearing about, and then there is so much more. The different types of catering events you can work on showcase what you can do with a catering business model.
Before we dive into those events, let’s take a look at the basics of catering. No matter which events you cater the basics come in handy.
The basic catering needs apply to each of these upcoming types of catering events in some form or another. It’s a good idea to plan for these basics before you decide which types of events you’ll cater. This will make it easier to work across all your events.
Basic catering decisions you need to make include:
- Whether you’ll serve different types of alcohol and mixed drink options. It’s best to learn how to get a liquor license if you want to serve anything stronger than tonic water.
- What menu types you’ll offer. There are all sorts of menu options to choose from including a dessert menu, brunch menu, and a light dinner option. You may also consider having specialty dishes to showcase with your catering business.
- How you’ll set up your catering services at events. Some options include buffet style, tray passing, plated options, and banquet table setup serving. This decision is one that is likely to remain the same no matter which type of catering event you’re working at.
- Whether you work with themes. If you want to work on specific types of events you have the option to theme your catering around that event. You’ll be able to work with business branding that shows your specialty with those events.
- What your budget is for each event. Catering is a business where you can make a great profit but you’ll also be purchasing supplies and equipment, and paying employees. Organize the budget for your catering events to avoid worrying about finances. You should have a general budget, and leave room for changes for individual events.
- How your kitchen organization works. When it comes to organizing your kitchen, you need to prepare for dealing with allergies, dietary restrictions, and food storage. It’s also possible to have to deal with the unknown specifics of working at the event if onsite service is requested.
Once you’ve set up your catering business plan to include those decisions, you’re ready to start seeking out clients and events. In fact, having these decisions made and business plans finalized is crucial to your business growth. The more you can show clients that you know what you’re doing, the more clients you’ll retain for long-term success.
Here are 10 types of catering events:
10. Baby Showers
A baby shower is a perfect event for a specialty catering business. You can make it extra special by making baby-themed menu items. Another idea would be for you to work with colors and shades based on the gender of the baby for specific dishes.
With the amount of baby showers that are thrown on a regular basis, you can create a full catering business focused on baby showers. They can also be a part of many types of catering events you work at.
9. Retirement Parties
Retirement parties may be a personal party or a corporate event. Either way, they’re an opportunity to showcase classic catering skills with enjoyable foods that suit the occasion.
Retirement parties tend to be more irregular in how often they occur. If you’re angling to work retirement parties it’s a good idea to cast a wide net as a catering business for corporate events.
"Key Takeaway: You can tailor your business to specific events or be a versatile business with the capability to cater for any event."
8. Family Dinners
These gatherings and dinners are a chance for family members to catch up and interact with one another. Some families may prefer catering these events instead of spending time cooking on their own. This is especially true if it’s a large gathering, holiday, or some kind of celebration.
If you’re aiming for family dinners, they will more than likely be a part of many types of catering events you cater for. You can include them in your list of services, with an overall focus on intimate gatherings.
7. Bridal Showers
Bridal showers are a chance to show off your creative side as a catering business. In many cases, a bridal shower is a time for sweet treats and delicious drinks. Lean into the celebration of the occasion as you plan your menu and you’ll be a hit.
Bridal showers are another type of catering event that tends to happen quite a bit. You can create a catering business with bridal showers as the key type of event you offer services for through your business.
6. Engagement Celebrations
Engagement celebrations are perfect for any catering business looking to expand their menu with extravagant options. That could mean cheesecake, crème brulée, fine red wine types, or fresh seafood. To ensure an exquisite menu, you may want to have a Sous chef or Executive chef leading the kitchen.
An engagement celebration is also the perfect time to showcase your ability to create an intimate and high-class event. You can focus on engagements as your main type of event, or use them as specialty occasions to bring all your experience together.
Reunions can cover anything from a family reunion to a high school reunion. As a catering business you can cater specifically to reunions with themed dishes if clients request it. With that said, a reunion may also be a time to let your skills shine by creating classic dishes and drinks.
The range of themes and occasions for reunions makes them the perfect type of catering event to broaden your catering horizons. You can work many types of reunions and expand your reach each time.
4. Corporate Events
There are all sorts of corporate event ideas you can cater for. There’s corporate breakfast, corporate dinner events, and company cafeterias. Your catering business plan for corporate events should include corporate cafeteria menu ideas and corporate event hosting plans.
If you focus on corporate events you’ll have enough work to last your catering business all the way through. You can also use this catering experience to enhance your ability to find other events.
3. Holiday Parties
Holiday parties cover a lot of ground considering how many holidays there are at the end of the year. You can work a holiday party in two ways: nondenominational or not. For example, for a holiday party that falls around Christmas, you could serve Christmas cocktail recipes. You may also consider serving the best winter cocktails to keep it festive.
Since holiday parties are meant for specific times of the year, it’s best to include them as part of a comprehensive list of types of catering events you can work on.
2. Birthday Parties
Birthday parties are some of the most fun you’ll have planning for a catering event. A birthday party can be a fancy affair or something lighthearted and delightful. Either way, you’ll be able to showcase your skills with unique dishes and drinks.
Birthday parties are another one of the options on this list which can make for a perfect focused type of event you work. Specializing in birthday parties will give you a name for your business that you can bank on.
Weddings are the highlight of the catering business world. Between the rehearsal dinner and the reception, your responsibilities are vast. Your experience and the boost to your reputation as a caterer make it worth the work.
Weddings are one of the best types of catering events to make your sole focus. They happen fairly often, and with the variety among different weddings, you’ll be able to exercise different skills all the time.
Frequently Asked Questions About Catering Events
There’s always more to learn about catered events. Our answers to these frequently asked questions are helpful for starting a catering business and people looking to hire a caterer as well. Catering events come with plenty of questions to discover for everyone invested in the success of the events.
What Does a Catering Event Mean?
A catering event means any occasion where the food and beverages served were prepared by a licensed caterer. The food is often prepared off-site and served at the catered event. However, there are some catered events where the caterer works in an on-site kitchen. A catered event is typically a party with 10 or more people.
How Do You Organize a Catered Event?
To host and organize a catered event, the best thing you can do is find the best caterer for your type of event. Of course, you will still be in charge of working with the caterer to match the menu and dishes to the theme of the event. Once you find the right caterer, you won’t have to worry about the meals being served at the event.
How Do You Create a Good Event?
To create a good event, start planning with plenty of time to spare and focus on the important details. For a catered event those details are the specific menu items, the number of people attending, and the beverages to be served.
Why Is Event Catering Important?
Event catering is important because it’s part of making an event run smoothly. When you host a catered event you have one less thing to worry about. Your caterer takes care of the food and beverage details.
For catering companies, event catering is your opportunity to showcase your skills. When you cater an event and do a great job, you’ll have a loyal new client and the potential for new clients by referral.
Catered Events: It’s Your Birthday, Order Catering If You Want To
The types of catering events we outlined in this BinWise blog post are all well-suited for any catering business. You can tailor your business to specific events or be a versatile business with the capability to cater for any event.
Whatever you choose, be sure to check out BinWise for your inventory management needs. When your inventory runs smoothly you’ll have more time to focus on creating spectacular catered events. BinWise Pro and the BinScan mobile app can help you get your inventory program in shape.