When looking for fun and unique catering ideas for your small to medium-sized event, customization of the menu offerings can often be a key component of success. Guests love having the opportunity to think about toppings and make their creations. The creative aspect of this idea builds in ice breakers as guests mingle and discuss what they will be choosing to eat.
Recently, food stations that allow guests to make their small plates or pick up a few small bites are gaining popularity over the classic buffet style. Keeping the menu for large groups simple is a good general rule when choosing the menu to feed your guests. The simplicity of the menu may help navigate the flow of people huddled around the food stations. We recommend keeping the food stations well labelled and the condiments or extras on a separate table for these large-scale events.
Here are some of our favourite unique catering ideas that are proven crowd-pleasers to substitute for a typical buffet.
Unique Catering Ideas For Your Corporate Event
1. Mini sliders
Miniature, bite-sized versions of classic hamburgers, chicken parmigiana or crab cakes are a delightful and delicious way to feed crowds. Hamburger stations, where guests can create their options, are also a great idea.
2. Festival-inspired food
If you consider a carnival theme for your event, consider offering the foods that add to that feeling for your guests, including unique (and sometimes fried) combinations like corn dogs, fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
3. Salads on skewers
Sticks are a unique and creative way for guests to eat while continuing to hold their drinks and converse with each other easier.
4. Bruschetta Bar
Diced heirloom and Roma tomatoes with fresh garlic, onions, basil, and olive oil always mark the start of a beautiful meal. Guests will have fun trying a variety of topped bruschetta.
Spanish-style catering is necessary if you are pouring Sangria for your guests. For example, serving tiny croquettes, wedges of tortillas or ham and cheese over hard toast can pair perfectly with alcohol-soaked fruits.
6. Indoor picnic
Serving tiny jars of potato salad, deviled eggs, and bite-size chicken salad sandwiches to your guests, and all that is missing is a blanket on the ground to make your guests comfortable.
7. Seafood bar
Serve up a variety of shellfish for your guests to enjoy that will get noticed.
8. Nacho bar
This interactive food station is a unique and exciting way to allow guests to chat and network as they select the toppings for their nachos.
9. Massive charcuterie board
One look at a visually stunning charcuterie board, and your guests will happily dig into the selections. These are often great places for guests to gather and chat.
10. Martini Salad Bar
Small salads served in Martini-style glasses are often a hit with guests. Guests can select their toppings, and catering staff can “shake not stir” their salad to perfection.
11. Can of “Tuna Salad”
Sashimi-grade Hawaiian tuna, avocado, scallions, soy-mustard aioli and microgreens in a mini tuna can for a visually appealing presentation.
Interactive Dessert Stations
We always save the best for last. When it comes to unique catering menu ideas for dessert, keep in mind to offer dairy-free and vegan options. It’s easy to overlook dietary restrictions when you’ve got dessert on your mind. But trust us, your guests will appreciate inclusive menu options.
1. Sweet waffle sandwiches
True Belgium, bite-size waffles go well with just about anything.
2. Mini milkshake shooters
When you can’t go to the soda shop, bring it to your guests. Spoons and straws are a must if you’re serving up thick, creamy milkshakes.
3. Snow cones
Eyes will light up as guests get rainbow-coloured snow cones. Expect to see these on Instagram!
4. Mini bags of donuts
Make dessert double as a goodie bag with tiny satchels of mini donuts guests can enjoy at the event or later at home.
5. S’mores bar
Who doesn’t love a DIY s’mores bar? All you need are marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, and some fire.
6. Masterpiece Dessert Wall
A unique display of bite-size desserts placed on a custom-built velcro wall! Velcro dots can be placed on shot glasses filled with various desserts to allow guests to pick their own from the wall!
7. Acrylic shot glasses
Filled with strawberry cheesecake, Maker’s pecan pie, chocolate pot de creme, and peanut butter mousse, along with an assortment of caramel, almond, lemon and chocolate roulade, are top choices.
We hope this list of unique catering ideas has inspired you and your next event. We also hope you didn’t read it on an empty stomach! And remember, there are even more ways Bright Ideas can help you create your dream event through any food experience/journey.
Remember, we offer a free assessment of your needs in a 30-minute complimentary meeting. Contact us today to book your complimentary meeting!
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Event Consulting Series | How To Plan The Perfect Event Menu