Self-Service Catering or Full-Service Catering

If you are thinking of having a party or some other event, you may be considering catering. Essentially, there are two basic styles of catering. These are seated or full-service catering and self-catering. Depending upon your event, guest preferences, budget and even available space, you may find one is more suitable for your event than the other.

What Is Full-Service Catering?

Full service catering is a style of catering that is usually referred to as seated catering. In other words, the guests are seated for the meal. They are usually arranged in small groups at individual tables that are elegantly decorated. The staff weaves in and out of the tables providing the guests with the meals that may be selected from a menu before the event by the host or hostess. In some instances, a menu is provided at the tables from which the guests are asked to choose just prior to the meal being served.

The meal is served in courses by the catering service. The overall look and other factors make this type of service quite popular for weddings, receptions, award ceremonies and other similar events. Because of the amount of time and employees such a service requires, full-service catering tends to be more expensive than self-catering.

What Is Self-Catering Service

Self-catering service is when the meal offered is not served by the caterers at their table. Instead, it assumes the form of a buffet. The menu is set out in designated areas. The guests are then sent – sometimes table-by-table, to the area to select from the items laid out.

Some of the food is completely self-served. The guests spoon out what they want in the amounts they desire. In some instances, usually where the main course is concerned, servers stand behind the food and provide the exact amount, restricting anyone from having two main courses or taking too much of any item. In this fashion, the caterer can keep track of the food.

Buffet is the most identifiable form of self-catering service. It is best for a variety of events including less formal weddings, picnics and some corporate events. It is favored because of the variety of items that can be offered to the guests. This provides them with more options than may always be possible with a seated service. However, it is not always a good option if the guests are older and/or have disabilities that will affect their standing in line.

Yet, what consistently attracts people to this form of catering is price. Of the different types of catering, self-catering is the most cost-effective. This is mainly an issue of staff. Less people are required to serve the meal.

Self-Catering or Seated Catering?

In the end, you will have to make a decision on what type of catering will best suit your budget, your requirements and the needs of your guests. For some, nothing matches the elegance and pace of full-service catering; for others, their budget, sense of identity as well as the possible variety of items from which to choose, results in their decision to go with the more low-key option, self-catering service.


When you decide to hold a party, you have a choice between seated and Self-Catering. If you want to look at your options, and learn what can be done to make your event enjoyable, visit the professional and talented staff at Chicken Salad Chick. They can help you plan a menu that will make the mouths of your guests water with satisfaction. To find out how they can help, visit them online at Facebook or Twitter.

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