Catering Like a Professional When You’re Not

posted by Chris Valentine

There are a lot of reasons for doing your own catering. Perhaps you’re a small business just getting started and the budget for entertaining customers is tight. Maybe you’ve been disappointed one too many times by “professionals” who charged you an arm and a leg for a rubber chicken dinner kind of deal. Or maybe, you’re a DIY enthusiast who likes adding your own personal touch to every event.

Whatever your reason, where there’s a will there’s a way. Like putting together a custom display at a trade show, catering your own party is a way to showcase your creativity and impress everyone.

If you’re doing it for business reasons it’s a way to show customers what you’re capable of, even if catering is light years away from your business model. It shows them your willingness to tackle unusual projects and get them completed. If it’s a private party for friends and family, it’s a way to create an event that will live on in your family lore for generations to come.

Whatever your reasons, you can do it in style.

The Right Tool For The Right Job

It’s an old but true saying, you need the right tool for the right job. A lug wrench is perfect for changing a tire, but terrible for fishing a ring out of the drain in the bathroom sink. You need the right catering supplies to pull off your DIY catering extravaganza.

Having and using professional equipment makes you feel like a professional yourself. Confidence is half the game. Grab a handful of self-confidence and you’ll be able to do anything you set your mind to.

The Venue

The venue sets the tone for your event. An empty rent-a-room at a local hotel with room for two or three hundred is a blank canvas, but the colors on the walls, carpets, and ceilings will dictate the overall color scheme for your event. You need to stay with it unless you want clashing colors that will make your eyes bleed. If your business colors just won’t work with the ones in the hotel, ask the management if they have other rooms available. If they don’t, you may have to shop around for something else.

If the party is taking place at your home, understand that people will inevitably gravitate toward the kitchen. It’s just human nature. That being the case, make sure you’ve chosen the right color for kitchen countertops, cabinets, and so on. Dark paneling might make your heart go pitter-patter with delight but it will make the room look small and cramped. Add a dozen or so people and it will seem like a dungeon.

Decorations To Die For

Professionals have their own ideas on decorating to bring out the theme of your event or party. You might or might not have their creativity but there are literally hundreds of websites with decorating ideas for every occasion. You copy them or combine them any way you like until you get the mix that is just right for your event. Whether you’re decorating for a birthday, baby shower, Christmas, prom, anniversary, Halloween, graduation, retirement, book launch, or anything else there are hundreds of ideas floating around that you can use.

Food and Drinks

After the decorations come the food and drinks. This is where having the right equipment really comes in handy. Parties require food preparation on a large scale so you’ll need large pots and pans, as well as somewhere to hold them and transport them from the kitchen to wherever your guests will be eating.

Rolling carts are the perfect answer. They have high handles, lots of space between the shelves, and large enough wheels to handle the transition from a hard kitchen floor to the carpet or rugs in other rooms. You can bring everything out all at once instead of making endless trips back and forth to the kitchen.


Of course, you’ll have to figure out a workable budget for your little soirée if you don’t want to go broke throwing it. The right equipment will pay for itself because it will save you from having to buy or rent countless smaller pots, pans, and platters. Get the one good set of professional kitchen tools and you’ll be ready to go.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of preparation time to get everything ready. Then, the day before your event, make some finger food snacks for the early birds who always arrive an hour before they’re supposed to!

You may also like