Catering is the activity of providing food and beverage for events. Caterers, which are either independent vendors or individuals within a particular department of a facility (such as a hotel, restaurant, institution, venue, etc.).
Catering is provided at a full range of events, including business meetings, conferences, exhibitions, special events, weddings, and other social occasions. In addition to responsibilities for food and beverage, many caterers also handle event decor, A/V and other aspects of the program.
The catering manager will typically manage the staffing of servers, chefs and others.
Examples: The event manager organized a fundraising special event at the local hotel, and the catering department handled all logistics associated with food, beverage, decor and entertainment for the program. Catering included a cocktail hour and a formal sit down meal.
(info taken from Event Planning Blueprint)
Every industry has its jargon; so to make your job as an event planner easier, learn these terms and you’ll be running events like a professional.
A la Carte: A phrase meaning “according to the menu,” which refers to a variety of differently priced dishes
A la mode: A phrase indicating that a dessert will come topped with ice cream
Amuse-bouche: The literal translation is “mouth amuser” – it’s a bite-sized hors d’oeuvre that is prepared according to the chef’s selection
Apéritif: A before dinner, light alcoholic beverage that is used to stimulate appetite
Back of House: The equivalent of “backstage.” Everything your guests do not (and should not) see
BEO: A Banquet Event Order is a document that outlines the details of your event. It serves as a guideline for the hotel to execute and communicate logistics to all necessary hotel departments
Bowl Food: Small bowls of food passed amongst your guests during a standing, casual reception
Canapé: Bite sized appetizers
Charger: Also known as the under plate, they’re larger decorative plates used to dress up the table and food is not served on them
Corkage: A fee charged per bottle for opening and serving wine brought in by the client
Crudité: Raw vegetable appetizers, sliced or whole, that are dipped
Dry Hire: Hiring a venue, without any labor, assistance, furniture, or delivery included. Always check what “dry hire” includes
Deposit: The amount required to pay in advance of your booking
Digestif: An after dinner, stronger alcoholic beverage enjoyed as an aid to digestion
Dueling Menus: Are split Entrees and often used to introduce more exotic menu items. For example, instead of having an eight-ounce steak, you can have a four-ounce steak and a four-ounce piece of fish (surf and turf).
F&B: Short for “food and beverage”
Family Style: A style of serving food in which diners help themselves from plates of food that have been put in the middle of the table
Food Stations: A fun way of serving a variety of foods at a reception.
For example, you might have a mashed potato station, a roast beef carving station, an oyster shucking station, or an ice cream sundae station
French service: A method used when partially cooked food is brought from the kitchen on a cart, which is used to complete the cooking process. It’s completed in front of the guests and served by a server
Front of House: Like the stage of a theatre; everything you and your guests do see
In-House: Everything that the caterer or venue already has. For example “we have an in-house audiovisual team”
Intermezzo: an intermission in meal service just before the main course. Sorbet is usually served to cleanse the palate
Linens (aka Napery): The table covers and napkins
Market Price or AQ (As Quoted): used in place of a set price on a menu item where the price shifts seasonally or where prices fluctuate greatly
Mise en place: Literally means “putting in place” and refers to organizing and setting up all aspects of the event
Paté: Pâté is a mixture of cooked ground meat minced into a spreadable paste
Petit Fours: Small, bite-sized decorative cakes
Plated service: A method of presentation where food is arranged by the chef before being presented to guests
Out mess: Small meals provided to your event team and suppliers that are eaten behind the scenes or back of house
Pre-con Meeting (aka Ops meeting): A meeting that is held with event vendors and suppliers where the event is scheduled to take place. It is typically one or two days prior to the event
Placement: The correct way of displaying cutlery, glassware and stationery on the table
Platters: Used to display and serve canapés to your guests. Can be extravagant or elegant, and should always allow for beautiful presentation
Props: The term for everything that exists purely for aesthetics, with no purpose other than to make things look beautiful or convey a theme. For example, balloons and flowers
Service: A term for the delivery of food and drinks to all of the guests
Set Up: (aka “the in”) the time it takes to get all the equipment into a venue and set up for the event
Shuck: The delicate process of opening an oyster shell
Silencer: Padding used under the tablecloth to prevent noise from dishes, cups or and flatware from clattering. Its’ especially important when speakers are on stage during a meal
Site Visit: A venue walk-through before booking the venue and before the event. It helps you determine the best space for your event, and the advantages and limitations of the venue. With a thorough site inspection, planning and production teams can avoid unexpected costs, last-minute changes to layouts, and mishaps during the event
Snake Service: (aka ballet service) synchronized meal service, when several tables are served at the same time. A line of servers, typically one per guest) enters with plated food and circles each table, placing the plates in front of each guest at the same time
Sommelier: A trained professional who specializes in wine and food matching
Tasting: A pre-event meeting where the event planner and client tastes menu options before finalizing the meal plan with the catering manager or chef
Whisper Call: An alternative to announcing, “Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats” over a microphone. Instead, the Maître De walks amongst the guests, asking them to move to their table/seats.