Whether you’re looking to cater a working lunch, conference, breakfast meeting, after-work event or seasonal party, there’s a lot of things to consider. These considerations become even more complex when you realize you might be catering for a full house. Catering for a smaller group is complex in its own way, but catering for a crowd of people is naturally more stressful – think of the difference between cooking dinner for four and cooking Christmas dinner for twelve.
Whenever we’re catering for a larger group of people there’s always one thing we turn to – the trusty platter. Platters are the easiest way for restaurants to transport their food by moving it as one single massive serving rather than dividing it up, which is also better for the environment due to the reduction in serving containers! Platters are good for a crowd because they allow individuals to serve themselves, which gives them more control over the food they want and need, without having to get more admin involved.
There are things to watch out for when you’re serving food up platter-style – often platters have multiple types of food sitting alongside each other, which is great if you’re looking to try a bit of everything, but not fantastic for those with allergies or other food restrictions. When you’re communicating with your caterer, remember to be very clear about what allergies you’re dealing with, what hidden sources to watch out for, and what is a complete no-go.
In this blog post we’ll be talking about the various types of platters you could serve up, and most importantly how to make them fit for every occasion – from celebrating work anniversaries to Easter.
The sandwich platter is a great choice, no matter the occasion.
The greatness of a sandwich platter is partially due to its versatility – think of how many occasions a sandwich can work for! Maybe you’re doing a breakfast meeting serving up bagels with fluffy scrambled eggs and crunchy, crispy bacon or a lunch meeting featuring honey-halloumi wraps as the main topic.
With a sandwich, you’re not constricted to just the main meals of the day – maybe serve up a selection of mini sandwiches complete with toothpicks in the center for your summer office party, or cranberry and pork sliders for the christmas party.
If you want to know what sandwich we would recommend if you really want to impress, try out Island Poke’s newest product, now available on Feedr. They’ve taken the classic bao bun, a staple in Chinese cuisine, and taken the bread-like dumpling to the next level by extending it into a baguette form and stuffing it chock full with all your favourite bao ingredients. With flavours like miso aubergine, korean-style bbq chicken and yuzu salmon, these sandwiches are head and shoulders above the rest.
A salad platter is a great way to introduce some greens to the table, whether it’s the main event or just as a side. A summer party, bbq or picnic are the best events to make salads the star of the show, especially if you’re catering for a group that are health-conscious or vegetarians. If you’re catering for a veggie-heavy crowd, maybe bring in a few different salads, as even meat-eaters can still appreciate a good salad. If you want to make sure everyone leaves the event feeling satisfied and full, be sure to order slightly more than you think you need – although the table may look like it’s groaning under the weight of all those salads, they’ll be quickly eaten up by a hungry crowd.
The best reason to order in some salads for your next buffet-style event is they really go with anything – whether you’re doing a charcuterie board, grazing table style event where the majority of the food is cold, or a more substantial meal with hot courses. A salad is a deeply versatile dish that can be a welcome addition to any meal, suitable for any occasion and during any weather. Order in a fall salad featuring kale, apple, bacon and cranberries for a more festive event, or something super summery like The Salad Project’s peaches and cream seasonal salad if you’re hosting a bbq or picnic event.
Our recommendation? The vegan falafel salad from Le Montmartre with falafel, feta, mint, lemon, cucumber, tomato and hummus is a great way to easily incorporate filling vegan and vegetarian dishes into a larger meal, so you’re able to cater for a range of dietary needs.
Cold Platters can be a great option if you’re hosting a cocktail party, or any sort of party which doesn’t have a fixed time set aside for eating. You might not be able to easily access a chafing dish that works for your event, so sometimes it is better to avoid it completely. You would assume that with hot food off the table, your buffet is left looking a bit underwhelming, but luckily there’s an absolute abundance of cold options that might even be more impressive!
We’ve already discussed salad as a great option, but if you are looking for something a bit more exciting there’s two directions you can head in – focusing your catering around finger foods, or grazing platters. Catering a buffet in this way is very low maintenance to set up, as you don’t need to stress about regulating temperatures and you can set everything out at the beginning of the night and not need to come back to it, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the food with your team!
A grazing table is a general term that includes an assortment of traditional charcuterie or crudités platters, from cold cuts, salami, breads and dips, raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and olives. It’s really an opportunity to have some fun with your table decoration while enjoying your favourite snacks!
A platter of finger foods often involves food that is served cold, and is easy to eat, but requires more preparation in the kitchen. Finger food platters are perfect at any event that would otherwise have hors d’oeuvres, like a cocktail party or a more formal situation. However, as they are so easy to eat they also work for pretty much any after-work events you may be looking to cater for. They could be served for an event during the workday, but you’d have to ensure that you’ve ordered enough to make sure everyone’s full for the day ahead.
If you’re looking for a fancy but easy finger-food, our go to option is always a sushi platter, which you can order from some of your favourite sushi spots like Abokado, who make their sushi from scratch each day in their London restaurants. These sushi platters have a variety of fish, meat and vegetarian options so everyone can have something that works for them!
Interested in any of these great platters?