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Creative Food Station Ideas

 

food-station-ideas

Food stations are quickly becoming a big trend in food service and catering. Break away from tradition and make your next event stand out with a creative and interactive food station for your guests! These are great alternatives to employing traditional servers, and buffet style layouts. Food stations will not only differentiate your event from others, but it will also give your guests an opportunity to socialize and interact with each other, the staff, and the food as well. This also allows your guests to pick and choose how they want their food prepared and served, which will leave everyone happy. Here are some of our favorite food station ideas that we love.

  • salad-food-stationAppetizer – Appetizers are by definition a great fit for foodstations.Oftentimes, appetizers are already set up this way, whether it be aveggie or fruit plate with dips and sauces. But with a little creativity, this can be taken a step further, allowing for further customization and interaction among your guests. Using the trend of smaller, miniature sized portions will work great here as well. A couple of our favorite ideas include a salad bar, a build your own nachos food station, or a cheese, fruit, and wine pairing station.

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  • Main Course – Unlike the appetizers, the main course needs to be insushi-food-station bigger portions. Because of this, preparing a main course food station may require a bit more planning, but there is so much flexibility with the main course that your possibilities are endless. You can prepare a main course food station for anything from gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches to an asian inspired rice bowl. Some of our favorite ideas include a raw seafood bar including a variety of sushi, a build your own sliders station, a taco bar, and a baked potato food station. Don’t be afraid to use your creativity and do something different. When done right, your guests will really appreciate the unexpected choices!

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  • Dessert – Desserts are also a great fit for this style of food service.smores-food-station Desserts are often in smaller portions, making it easier to build a plate with a variety of options. Candy food stations were always popular and could be seen as a precursor to this food station craze. Try building your own candy station for your guests. Some other great food station ideas that we love include a s’mores station, a build your own ice cream or yogurt station, a cotton candy machine, and even a coffee or espresso bar.

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Give your next event a unique flair and use these creative food station ideas for your next event. These ideas will add a new and fun social element to food service at your next event. If you need any catering supplies to help you turn any of these ideas into reality, you can find everything you need at Caterer’s Warehouse!

How To Save Money On Wedding Food

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Wedding food can prove to be one of the more costly items when planning a wedding. Whether money is an factor or not, it is always important to cut costs wherever possible. This way, you are not spending excessively in areas that are unnecessary, so you can allocate that money to areas that need it. Too often, inefficient ways of spending money on wedding food becomes the biggest area where money is being spent unnecessarily. When you focus on listening to your guests and their needs and spending your money smarter and in the right places, you will find you can get the results you are looking for at a fraction of the cost it normally would. Here are some of our favorite ways to identify and address different ways to save money on wedding food!

  1. Local Seasonal Ingredients – Wherever possible, try sourcing ingredients that are local and in season. These are usually cheaper, as they do not have to be imported or transported very far to reach their destination. This is also a great way to support local farmers and sustainable farming methods, which your guests will appreciate.
  2. Use Local University Facilities – When using the space of a university or college, they will typcially already have sufficient facilities for you to do everything you need for your reception. Additionally, they will also have on hand a knowledgeable and usually very affordable staff that you can use for your events. This may be a great way to save on costs and find useful labor to help you along the way.
  3. Hire Culinary Students – Culinary students can oftentimes be a great cost saving option for your events as well. Students are much cheaper to hire and are often very enthusiastic about their work as they are still trying to establish themselves in the culinary world. Hiring culinary students can save you money, help up and coming chefs and caterers, and yield some amazing results at the same time.
  4. Hold the Reception at a Restaurant – Restaurants may be a great option for a venue if you’re trying to save money. Restaurants are convenient options because all of the food will be in one central location. This will eliminate the need to transport food from a kitchen to the venue. In addition, restaurants typically already have the infrastructure in place to serve a large amount of guests at one time.
  5. Fruit Infused Water – Instead of offering a wide variety of drinks that can be a hassle, try offering different fruit infused waters instead. These are much cheaper, simpler, and oftentimes more refreshing for your guests as well.
  6. Supply Your Own Alcohol – Instead of hiring an entire staff to provide and serve your alcohol during the event, consider supplying your own alcohol and means of serving to your guests. Buying your own alcohol in bulk will be much cheaper, and you can hire caterers to serve the alcohol throughout the night.
  7. Serve Comfort Foods – Instead of only providing fancy, expensive options, try a menu featuring some comfort foods. These are often less expensive, but just as desireable and delicious to your guests. Try barbecue, sliders, french fries, and more!

Using these tips, you can start saving some money on your wedding food costs. This may prove to be very useful when you can have some left over money to allocate elsewhere, where it may be needed more. If you realize there are any catering supplies or equipment that you will need to plan your wedding, you can always shop at Caterer’s Warehouse at any time of the day!

7 Overlooked Birthday Party Catering Tips

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Birthday parties are always popping up throughout the year, so its important to be well prepared at all times. Be prepared for any birthday party with these simple but often overlooked catering tips and ideas that will make your event stand out. We have come up with 7 of our favorite and most useful birthday party catering tips to make the big day even more special.

  1. Keep Your Menu Staggered – When serving your many dishes, try to bring them out one at a time. Start with something light and easy to eat to get your guests started. Then gradually bring out foods that are heavier and heartier, with palate cleaners and drink refills in between.
  2. Have Fun With the Theme – If you have a theme for your birthday party, get creative and have fun with it! Try looking up playful and creative ways to display or make your foods while sticking to the overall theme of the party. These will surely impress your guests and add to the overall splendor of the event.
  3. Spread the Food Out – Throughout the event, try placing food in multiple locations throughout the event. This may be a better option than just leaving all the food on the dining table, as this encourages more movement and allows everybody to have access to something.birthday-party-ideas
  4. Plenty of Trash Cans – Things can get messy, so its important to make it easy for your guests to clean up. Get many trash cans and distribute them evenly throughout the event. This will prevent any of the trash cans from becoming too full too fast, which will also make it easier for your guests to discard of their garbage.
  5. Encourage Cleanliness – This goes hand in hand with having plenty of trash cans around. In addition to this simple rule to keeping things clean, you could also encourage cleanliness by having abundant paper towels and napkins around at all times. If necessary, wet napkins may also be a good option for your guests, and 
  6. Pillows On the Floor – Instead of providing the typical chairs for your guests to sit and relax in, try placing large pillows on the floor, if your venue allows. This will create additional seating areas for your guests, even if you run out of chairs to use. They will also create a more relaxed, casual environment for your party as well, adding to the overall ambience.
  7. Coasters and Place Mats – Leaving drink coasters and place mats for food is always a good idea. Doing this defines where each tabletop setting should be, and where your guests can expect to eat. These will also protect your table from harmful scratches, moisture, and spills!
By knowing these easily overlooked birthday party catering tips, you can be sure to have a party that will be free of any major hiccups. Be sure you keep these tips handy for your next birthday party! If you ever need any catering supplies to help make your party a reality, you can always find these and more at Caterer’s Warehouse!

6 Must Try Winter Wedding Trends

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It isn’t always easy to prepare for an upcoming winter wedding. Sometimes, there just aren’t the resources or the time to pull some great ideas off. Other times, you just don’t have enough great, fresh ideas to use. Since you have control over that, its important to make sure you always have new ideas at all times. Here are some of our favorite and most popular winter wedding trends for this season!

  1. Wintery Venues – The challenge with winter is bringing the beauty of the season indoors without having to battle the elements. With certain venues, this becomes increasingly possible and easier and to pull off. Try finding ways you can give access to a balcony with a nice view of a wintery landscape, while keeping space heaters nearby to keep a comfortable temperature.
  2. Feathers and Capes – A rising trend in this winter’s wedding fashion trends include the use of feathers and capes. You can try using feathers of all kinds in the bridal gown, hair, veils, centerpieces, and even bouquets. Capes can also be a unique and elegant way to add flair to the wedding dress. Try using a material like velvet or fur for added luxury and class!
  3. Bold, Earthy Color Tones – As winter is a season of bold temperatures and weather patterns, try matching this with bold, loud and earthy color tones. Try different shades of red and orange in conjunction with greens, browns, grays, blacks, and whites. The red and orange shades are very bold and daring, and will scream on top of the soft, subtle earthy tones. 
  4. Small, Savory Foods – Winter is a time for hearty, savory, warm foods and flavors. Try preparing smaller portions of many different kinds of popular winter dishes. Comfort foods are often great choices for these criteria. Things like mac and cheese, biscuits and gravy, or a chicken pot pie are always hits with any crowd.
  5. Embellished Bouquets – To go along with the bold color themes, it is also a great idea to go bold with your flower bouquets. It is becoming a popular trend to embellish the flower bouque using gemstones, feathers, crystals, and other extravagant decorations to spruce it up.
  6. Bold Invitations – Wedding invitations can be a great way to set the mood and theme for your wedding as well. Going along great with the bold nature of the other winter wedding trends, the use of bold wedding invitations are also a must. Try sticking with the bold color themes, and use large, clean, bold text to get your message across.

Try some of these winter wedding trends this season to ensure your wedding is a unique one! These will also help you stay at the cutting edge when it comes to wedding planning and wedding catering. If you ever need any catering supplies for your winter wedding, you can always find the best deals at Caterer’s Warehouse!

Christmas Catering Tips and Trends for 2013

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With the Christmas season in full swing, it is important to have a good idea on how to cater a great Christmas party. With the chaos of the holiday season, it can be easy to overlook the most popular catering trends in the industry. Staying on top these, however, can prove to be the difference maker between you and your competition. Be sure you are in tune with these popular Christmas catering tips and trends for 2013!

  • Farm To Table – In the spirit of being green, farm to table foods are becoming even more popular this Christmas season. This promotes sustainability and support for local farmers. This is a great way to not only support your local community, but also keep your menu true to the local flavors and time of year.
  • Traditional Decor – While in recent years, more contemporary and unorthodox celebrations were commonplace, this season a step back to the traditional is starting to make its way back into popularity. Stick to the traditional decor items like pine cones, wreaths, bows, holly, and mistletoe, for example.
  • Interactive Meal Courses – Instead of having a course plated and served to every guest, try experimenting with tasting stations, where your guests are encouraged to get up and try different stations they are interested in. This will allow them to have better control over what they eat, and also promote socializing among your guests as well. This could especially work great with appetizers and desserts.
  • Different Seafood Dishes – Instead of the common beef, chicken, or fish, try some more exotic seafood options. Things like lobster, crab, sea urchin, shrimp, oysters, etc. can add a very elegant twist to your menu.
  • Pop Some Champagne – What celebration is complete without some champagne? While wine, liquor, and other drinks may also be appropriate for this occasion, nothing quite says it like some quality champagne for your guests.
  • Fireplaces – Where possible, the use of a real fire for both heat and ambient light is a great idea at any Christmas event. This adds the much needed warmth from the cold for your guests, but will also add an unmatched ambience and feeling of community amongst your guests, which can prove to be very memorable.

Using these tips, you can be sure to have a christmas party that is sure to entertain. Staying on top of these trends will also set you apart from the rest! If you ever need any catering supplies for your next Christmas event, you will love your experience at Caterer’s Warehouse!

How To Set A Table: Table Setting Tips

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Setting a table properly and with efficiency and speed can be a very valuable skill. Things can get very hectic when you are running against the clock and cannot afford mistakes or miscommunications. Because of this, it can be a big help to have certain things prepared and planned beforehand. We have put together a list of some table setting tips that can help you prepare yourself for some of these situations as well.
  • Prep Your Tabletop Supplies Before – Be sure to have all of your plates, bowls, utensils, etc. to be cleaned, stacked in one place and ready to go for the next day. This way you can have everything you need in the same place and ready to be used, preventing further confusion.
  • Set Flowers Early – To get the best presentation from flowers, it is important to have them set up where they need to be as soon as possible. This will give the flowers time to bloom and open up as they wont be disturbed. This will make for a fuller and more beautiful flower display.
  • Simple Centerpieces – A nice centerpiece does not have to be very elaborate and complex. Sometimes, the best centerpieces are the simplest ones. Simple centerpieces also tend to be quicker and easier to handle, causing for even less confusion and chances for things to go wrong. It would be greatly beneficial if you could keep it simple while still having a great centerpiece.
  • Plan for Candlelight – If you are planning on using candles for your event, be sure you have enough candles and holders and that they are all gathered in the same place and ready to be set up. This way, all you will need to do is place them and light them.
  • Have a Side Buffet – If you find yourself having to make constant trips to and from the kitchen serving drinks, it may be a smart idea to set up a small side buffet table. This way, you can set up beverage dispensers so your guests can get drinks on their own. You can also leave extra plates and utensils on the table as well for your guests to pick up, or for your servers to have close on hand throughout the event.
  • No Tablecloth – A tablecloth adds a nice touch to your presentation, but you can have an impressive presentation without the tablecloth as well. This will keep things simple, while ultimately saving time and hassle. Try using fashionable and stylish placemats instead, for a simpler and easier to handle presentation.
With these table setting tips, you will be able to have a much smoother experience when table setting during crunch time. If you ever need any tabletop supplies for your next event, you will find the best deals and customer service at Caterer’s Warehouse!

5 Green Winter Wedding Trends and Ideas

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A winter wedding is not always easy or inexpensive to plan. Especially during the colder winter months, more energy is required to provide sufficient heat and lighting for your guests. During summer months, on the other hand, it is possible to have wedding costs drastically reduced due to differences in weather. Because of this, it is important to be mindful of your carbon footprint when planning a winter wedding, and how you can make your winter wedding more green without any sacrifices in the quality of the experience. Here are 5 green winter wedding trends that may inspire you for your wedding planning this season.

  1. Decorate With Ice – When used creatively, ice can be a very beautiful decorative tool. It is also very simple and cheap to make! Ice is becoming very popular to use in decorations in winter weddings, and for good reason. Try molding your ice in different ways to achieve the effect you’re looking for. Try playing with the effect light has on ice as well, for an even more interesting twist.
  2. Use Natural Decor – There is no better way to display the natural beauty of winter than by using nature itself. Try going outside and gathering branches, twigs, berries, wood, leaves, pine cones, and other things. Use your creativity to make something that is presentable with these natural obejcts!
  3. Be Carbon Neutral – Another green winter wedding trend is ensuring that your wedding is carbon neutral through carbon offsets. These will ensure that emissions of green house gases will be reduced elsewhere to offset the gases that were emitted for your wedding.
  4. Fruit Wedding Cake Frosting – A popular trend for wedding cakes these days is the elimination of plastic wedding cake toppers and the use of more elaborate wedding cake frostings. Using a variety of local and seasonal fruits, you can really make your wedding cake green and sustainable!
  5. Vintage Wedding Themes – This winter, the vintage, 1920’s style wedding theme is showing growing signs of popularity as well. This can also be a fun and effective idea for a green wedding. Everything, from the venues, to the decor, to the fashion can all be something re-used from the past, reducing the need for more waste. In addition to this, a theme will add more fun and style to your wedding!

With these green winter wedding trends, you can be sure to have a very green winter wedding without any sacrifices or compromises. If you need any wedding or catering supplies to make your wedding a reality, remember to shop Caterer’s Warehouse first for the best deals, selection and customer service!

Winter Wedding Tips Not To Be Overlooked

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Sometimes winter weddings can be tricky to plan for. There aren’t as many weddings during the winter than other times of year, so it can be easy to lose sight of what is expected for a wedding during the winter time. Don’t let a simple mistake turn into a disaster, so be sure that you have all of the finer details accounted for. Here are some winter wedding tips that can really help shape the look and feel of your wedding.

  • Keep it Cozy – With the sun setting earlier, and the colder weather settling in, winter is the season to get cozy. You can continue with this theme through the use of candle light, and warm and soft colors and textures for your decor. A fireplace would add a nice touch, and serving hot, rich drinks like hot chocolate or eggnog are also a great addition.
  • Temperature Control – The winter is a time when you may need to be especially conscious about temperature control. Be sure that your cermeony is warm enough indoors to relieve your guests from cold. If feasible, try providing heat lamps outdoors to give your guests a break from the cold wherever possible as well. Be mindful that it doesn’t get too hot indoors, however.
  • Color Crazy – You can’t go wrong with the traditional color schemes that are often associated with the winter season. However, there are no rules against doing something totally against the grain, and maybe that is something that works for you and your client. Consider using bright, vibrant colors for a summer time beach theme, or lighter, pastel colors for a spring time feel, for example.
  • Guest Favors – Be gracious for your guests, and don’t let them go home empty handed from your event! Try providing special favors and gifts like food, snacks, or small crafts related to the couple.
  • Indoor Receiving Line – Oftentimes, receiving lines can become quite long and create a line of guests out the door, waiting for their turn. Be sure to prevent having your guests wait outdoors for too long; bring your receiving line indoors. This way, your guests will not have to worry about getting stuck outside in the cold.

Use these winter wedding tips at your next wedding to bring your catering to the next level. Your wedding guests will also appreciate the attention to detail! If you need any catering or wedding supplies, be sure to check out Caterer’s Warehouse for all of your catering supply needs!

Winter Wedding Trends for Caterers

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Weddings are always changing and evolving with the times, so it is important that you stay on top of the latest seasonal trends. It is always a smart idea to stick to tried and true techniques that work, but this is not the best way to set yourself apart from the rest. It is equally important to take some risks and try something new and different and see how things play out. Every year, different catering trends arise, especially trends that are seasonal. Be sure you are on top this winter’s wedding trends so you can be ahead of the competition!

  • Winter Style Bouquets – You can be free to be creative here with your choice of winter flowers. However, it is always nice to use flowers that are known to be winter favorites. Maybe most importantly, use flowers that display winter colors, including deep greens, whites, and reds.  This can include amaryllis, holly, thistle, and pine.
  • Bold Wedding Invitations – This winter, be a little bolder with your wedding invitations. It is becoming increasingly popular to make winter wedding invitations very formal, giving your invitation a very bold look to achieve this. This style will also allow for a very clear, straight forward, elegant, and clean look to your wedding invitations, which will eliminate confusion.
  • Classic, Vintage Decor – Another trend this winter is the use of vintage decor. Make your wedding feel like one from the 1920’s, or any era of your liking for that matter. With the use of appropriate vintage decor, you can make your wedding have a very classic vibe and appeal to it. This can be both fun and interesting for you and your guests, making things different and exciting.
  • Gems and Crystals – To spruce up your presentation this winter, try adding some sparkle to your decor with the use of crystals and gemstones. These will shine and glimmer in the light, mimicking snow reflecting the sunlight. If gems or crystals are not available, try using anything that is metallic silver or gold, as they can also reflect shimmering light.
  • The Right Winter Music – Visual appeal and delicious menus are always a must have for any event, but do not overlook the importance of good music this winter. The appropriate music can be a very powerful tool to spark emotion and movement in a crowd. Be sure to have a great playlist or DJ that can set the mood you are looking for with a great music selection.
  • High Ceiling Venues – Due to the winter weather, most winter wedding receptions will be held indoors. If this is the case with your wedding, try to find a venue that has a high ceiling. This is growing in popularity and is especially becoming a trend this winter, as it allows for an indoor wedding to feel larger and more grandiose. This may not be the first thing your guests notice, but it will definitely make a huge difference in their impression.

Keep these winter wedding trends in mind this season when planning for your events. These trends could be what makes your event more memorable than others, setting yourself apart from the rest. If you ever need any catering supplies to make your winter wedding ideas come true, remember to check out Caterer’s Warehouse!

Winter Wedding Menu Trends and Ideas

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Winter will soon be upon us, which means there will soon be many weddings looking for a winter theme. Not only do you have to have the decor and ambience right to make your guests feel like its winter, but you also have to be sure that it tastes like winter as well. It is equally as important to be sure that your menu also reflects the season accurately, using local, seasonal ingredients for hot and hearty dishes. Here are a few of the most recent winter wedding menu trends that you can use for inspiration for your next winter inspired wedding.

  • Mini Portions for Cocktail Hour – The theme of this trend is variety. During cocktail hour, offering miniature portions of hearty, winter time favorites can have a great response with your guests. Try offering tiny portions of mac and cheese, or a bite size portion of hearty beef stew. These mini portions should allow you to get creative and make a wide variety of different dishes during cocktail hour, offering your guests a multitude of different flavors, while satisfying their craving for warm and hearty foods during this cold winter season.
  • Soups AND Salads – Instead of the choice between the soup or salad before your meal, try something different and offer both. Try finding tableware that can accomodate both soups and salads on a single plate, and prepare and present the soup and salad as a single dish. This allows your menu offering to be more seamless and complete, which your guests will definitely appreciate. Don’t forget to keep both your soups and salads hearty for the winter, using ingredients like nuts, berries, apples, pears, and cheeses.winter-wedding-menu
  • Many Main Entrees – Going back to the theme for cocktail hour, a popular trend for main entrees is also about variety. Try preparing many different kinds of flavors for your entrees in bite size, miniature portions. But this time, set these apart from your cocktail hour offerings, make these offerings more contemporary and gourmet. Use the finest and freshest local and seasonal ingredients, but be sure you prepare many different kinds of entrees to choose from!
  • All Vegetarian Entrees – You must always provide a vegetarian option for the vegetarians guests who may be at your event. However, sometimes an all vegetarian menu can be just as delicious and can keep things simpler for the caterer. There are many options and recipes these days for making hearty, all vegetarian dishes that are delicious and nutritious as well. Put your skills to the test and impress your guests with a delicious all vegetarian menu for your winter wedding menu.
  • Sweets to Take Home – Don’t let your guests leave empty handed, be sure they leave with some sweets for the road. Offer a wide variety of candies and chocolates, and get creative with the presentation as well. Try color coordinating the candies you choose to match the color scheme of your decor for another nice touch. You can also try offering hot cocoa powder and marshmallows in jars, so your guests can continue to enjoy the winter as they go home with this popular winter time drink.

Keep on top of these winter wedding menu trends and your guests will definitely appreciate the attention to detail. These details will also set yourself apart from the rest! If you ever need any wedding supplies to make your idea a reality, you can find them all at Caterer’s Warehouse!