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Whether you run a small catering company or manage multiple operations, you’re always on the lookout for new strategies. We’re always impressed by the endless range of inventive catering ideas that come from every corner of the foodservice industry.
From produce growers and product vendors to corporate chefs and industry bloggers, we’re all in this together. If you’ve ever participated in the annual Catersource Conference and Trade Show, you understand. If you haven’t, put it on your must-attend list of special events, and enjoy our latest take on catering inspiration from visionary sources across the industry.
8 Creative Catering Ideas That Can’t Miss
The best catering ideas are easily incorporated into any type of event. From focusing on healthy dishes to crafting unforgettable desserts, we offer eight unique catering strategies that work in all settings.
1. Re-imagine Traditional Dishes
Put a few simple spins on traditional dishes, and turn out memorable catering entrees. Elevate baked chicken dishes with jelly glazes, orange sauces and coconut curries. Slice spiced skirt steak into fiery fajitas, or pair pan-seared salmon with creamy pasta sauce.
2. Showcase Sensational Sides
Every entree enjoys a better reception when it’s served with a sensational side. From buffets to sit-down dinners, impress your guests with delicious, healthy sides. Premium produce is available year-round, so you always have nutritious options for culinary inspiration.
3. Get Creative With Dietary Requests
When a client asks how you plan on accommodating special dietary requests at a catering event, be prepared with creative responses. Keep your recipe box filled with ideas like gluten-free baby iceberg lettuce tacos, dairy-free Mediterranean falafel and vegan-friendly shepherd’s pie.
4. Build Beautiful Desserts
Show off the inventive side of your catering talent by building beautiful desserts destined to be snapped, posted and shared across social media. Craft visually stunning miniature pavlovas, construct towers of frosted cream puffs, and assemble irresistible layers of chocolate truffle cake.
5. Cater to Young Guests
So many catered events include families with children, so why not give the kids their own station? Keep young guests happy with appetizers, pastas and pizzas designed just for them. Keep their parents happy by making sure every kid-friendly selection is also a healthy menu choice.
6. Master Table Signage
Smart table signage dresses up your presentations and provides valuable information. Guests can visually graze multiple stations and easily make selections that suit their appetites and their dietary needs. Imaginative signage and clever item descriptions also add splashes of color and interactive fun to buffet tables.
7. Partner With Premium Sources
Fresh fruits and vegetables are important ingredients in many of your signature catering recipes, so always source the best. Partner with growers and suppliers who consistently deliver field-fresh products. Establish dependable connections that ensure your access to premium produce year-round.
8. Spotlight Local Chefs
This is another working partnership that works for everyone involved. Consult with chefs in your area, and make them part of your catering events. The presence of a local chef adds another layer of professionalism to your catering business. It extends your outreach marketing too.
Keep Sharing Catering Inspiration
It’s always exciting to exchange fresh ideas and make new connections. We hope our posts serve as a resource for your catering inspiration, and we hope to see you at industry conferences all across the country. Large and small catering businesses contribute so much to every B2B event, and that makes your participation important.
We look forward to seeing you soon at the next catering convention or industry trade show. We’ll be ready to hear your unique catering strategies and share more of ours. We’re all in this together, and that’s what keeps our industry fresh, creative and exciting.
Dan Holt is an experienced produce professional who started in the industry as a quality assurance inspector in the early 1990s and leads sales at Hitchcock Farms as Vice President. Prior to joining Hitchcock Farms, Dan enjoyed success in organic, specialty and conventional produce and with independent operators, regional and national chains in North America and abroad. Dan continues his passion in produce through collaborative inspiration and promoting healthy and sustainable food.