Chef's Blog

On-site vs offsite catering. What’s the difference?

Published July 12th, 2019 by Chef's Catering

Regardless of whether you're planning a relaxed or an elaborate reception, a noon or an evening event, one thing is equally important: the food. Food can truly make any event a memorable one. And with so many options available—hors d'oeuvres, food stations, buffet, family style—the planning can be overwhelming.

Good news. You don't need to be overwhelmed. A few key decisions will put you on the right track to the event you imagine. Let's start with this important question—Would you prefer on-site or off-site catering for your event? Not sure? No problem.

Here are 3 things to consider—

1. Preparation

The main difference between on-site and off-site catering is where the food is prepared. On-site catering means the food is prepared in a kitchen in the same location where your event will occur. Off-site catering means the food is prepared in a kitchen off-site and brought to your location. If a restaurant caters for your event, for example, they are likely to prepare the food at their restaurant and deliver the food to your location. If you know what kind of food you want to serve, this decision may be an easy one.

2. Plating

Whether food is prepared on-site or off-site determines where it is plated (or re-plated). If food has been prepared at a kitchen off-site, it will need to be wrapped, transported, and plated (or re-plated) at the venue. Typically speaking, the caterer handles all the plating needs, but it's a good idea to discuss specifics with an off-site caterer. How will the food be trasported? How will transportation affect the quality or taste of the food? These are important questions, depending on what you plan to serve.

3. Presentation

The third and main difference between on-site and off-site catering is presentation. When it comes to catering on-site, the sky's the limit in presentation. Off-site catering sometimes suffer in presentation due to the moving, jostling, and re-plating. If you're using fresh ingredients that need to be served in a time-sensitive way, or if your dishes must be kept at a certain temperature, using a on-site caterer may be important for presentation. Even the most delicious food prepared by the best caterer can quickly become a disappointment if it is lukewarm, for instance.

Regardless of whether you choose on-site or off-site catering, your caterer can make all the difference. And the right caterer will work with you to create an event that you'll want to talk about for years to come. 

Are you hosting an event? We'd love to be part of it. Located in Rochester, NY, we're here to help you.

Call us today: 585-752-2149 or e-mail us at:

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