Food is like fashion: while you can sometimes get away with normal and traditional, sometimes it gets boring. To be competitive in the catering industry you should be both on top of the current dining trends and be able to put your own unique spin on them. To get you started, here are some of the most popular trends taking the catering world by storm
I know what you must be thinking: this isn’t a trend! Buffets have been around for years and are often the first thing that pops into people’s heads when they think about catering. However, it’s not going anywhere soon and versatility is its greatest strength. They can be hot or cold, casual or formal and are easy to customize to meet the client’s needs.
Like a buffet, with the difference being that sections of the menu are divided up among stations throughout the dining room or event space, food stations are ideal for large groups. Good for reception type events where there’s finger food and drinks on offer. It’s also a great social lubricant as people will be encouraged to mingle as they walk around each station.
A river of chocolate is guaranteed to turn heads at parties, receptions or any other kind of celebration. They can be purchased or hired from various stores and suppliers at a wide range of prices. While a high quality one might be at the higher end of the price spectrum, it will certainly go a long way to impressing your guests and you can save money by using cheaper dipping foods. Typical dipping foods for chocolate fountains include fruit, biscuits and marshmallows.
Food and drink pairings
For an easy, relaxed dinner, a great idea is to offer a three to five course meal with each course being served with a drink. The drink is usually beer or wine and aims to bring an extra dynamic to the meal. It’s important that the drink served compliments the food, for example the robust flavour of a pale ale pairs well with grilled foods such as burgers.
Also known as family style dining, it involves platters of food at each individual table for everyone on it to share. It’s great for large functions as it provides a layer of intimacy that otherwise might not be there. Usually a waiter would come around to each table to carve and serve the portions equally among the guests.
While the term has been thrown around these days to mean nearly anything that’s out of the ordinary true artisan food is food that is produced in small batches. Popular artisan foods include homemade breads, cheese and desserts and they add sophistication to any event.
If food is locally made and produced it implies that it’s healthier and it tastes better. It can, however, be a challenge to source local foods sometimes as especially with fresh produce it would go out of season. This gives the caterers a chance to be creative as if they know what foods are in season throughout the year they can change the menu to reflect it. This adds an extra layer of intrigue in the minds of customers and is sure to increase your business year round.
Street food is big at the moment, with cuisines from around the world enjoying their moment in the sun. Popular street foods include Tacos (Mexico), Kebabs (Middle East) and Dim Sums (China). The more international a menu is, the better! Street food is exotic and interesting and it goes without saying that it’s convenient for an event where people are standing.
Gluten free foods
While for some it’s a dietary requirement due to an allergy, more people than ever are avoiding gluten due to the health benefits of doing so. Offering Gluten free catering is a great way to capitalize on this health trend and experiment with alternative ingredients such as amaranth and buckwheat.
Bite sized desserts are great for catered events as it’s more artistic and offers room for personalization. Popular mini deserts include cupcakes, tarts and even mini wedding cakes. For mini desserts quality and taste takes on extra importance and therefore if you’re not the best baker there’s no shame in ordering them from an external supplier.