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Whether buffet, plated, chef bars or passed hor d’oeuvres each service style creates a unique vibe. Choose a service style (or combination of styles) to match the degree of flow, formality, variety and timing you want at your event. Location, event purpose, timing and guest count are others factors to consider when thinking about optimal service style.

Peruse each Service Style for more info about the upsides and advantages of each:

FOOD: A beautiful presentation offers guests many options and the ability to choose when to eat. Easy to address any special dietary needs without having to know in advance.
FLOW:  Every bite is designed so that you don’t have to sit down to eat it. Guests graze and explore for optimal movement at your event.
FUN: Creates a seriously social atmosphere! Great for product openings, cocktail parties, and product launches. Ideal when guests are arriving at different times – they always feel on time!

FOOD: Our most satisfying flavor combinations are portioned into bite-sized morsels of culinary art. Pair with wines or specialty cocktails before a meal or simply to satisfy lighter appetites.
FLOW: Ideal when guests want to socialize. With tray-passed service our staff circulates discreetly around the conversations offering an unexpected delight for every guest.
FUN: A great way to start a party! What’s better than realizing you’re hungry and having a server appear with satisfying yummies, drinks or desserts.

FOOD: Guests discover a food pairing and a peek at professional chefs in action! Works for small plate nosh-sized portions or slightly larger plates, whichever most fits your menu!
FLOW:  Sprinkle these stations around for an exciting, social atmosphere with many choices. A perfect complement to other service styles to create even more movement.
FUN:  Let’s put the chefs on stage as entertainment! Engage guests with a curated plate put together and finished right before their eyes!

FOOD:  Classic service presenting of a range of options. Works well with a casual menu or a formal menu, with place settings at the table.
FLOW:  A defined meal period yet one that also invites guests to mingle throughout the meal. Pair with a preset salad or appetizer to avoid a cue line.
FUN:  Something for everyone! Guests explore the buffet and find something they’re excited about! When they discover a favorite guests can help themselves to “seconds”!

FOOD:  By far the most formal with a pre-set meal selection. Dual entrées offer a wide range of flavors on the plate. Guest meal preference or dietary needs are ideally recorded in advance.
FLOW:  Requires a seat for each guest. It may easily be worked around a program with salads or courses in between agenda items. Bars may remain open or add wine service during the meal.
FUN:  Elegant atmosphere with a high level of attention provided to each guest.


Ready to start planning? Your concierge level professional from Distinctive Catering will help design a menu and services that are perfect for your event and budget.


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