It is estimated that around 20,000 catering companies open in the UK every year. So what is catering? What is it to be a caterer? I think the two most common words you would find in answers from people asked this question would be ‘food’ and ‘event’. This would be true, a caterer is a business that provides food. This food is provided to a client to their specification. The client and caterer would have to agree on what would be supplied in line with what the caterer has to offer and the clients requirements. Some caterers specialize in certain types of food. Caterers also come in the form of food outlets, theses are usually restaurants. Caterers, in the form of food outlets have a menu of set food and this is not changed depending on what the customer wants. There are many types of food outlet available, a customer will usually visit the one that is providing the variety they want.
The caterer, if being hired for an event would usually be assigned to work at a designated location. This could be a hotel or church hall, anywhere that can be hired out by members of the public. So catering is the process of providing food to a client within your abilities yet meeting their requirements. Before the catering can actually happens there is usually in depth discussion between the client and caterer about exactly what the outcome should be. This could be anything from a cold buffet to specialist foods from all over the world. This may involve taster sessions, especially if the client is not entirely sure what they want but have some ideas. The length of time dedicated to preparation would vary depending on how big the event was.
There is also such thing as a mobile caterer. You would expect to find this type of caterer at events such as concerts, fun-fairs or local community events. This type of caterer is nearly always found outdoors. They have far more limited means of preparing food and the variety of food is much smaller than that found at a restaurant or from a big catering company. The food served from this type of caterer would most probably fall into the category of ‘fast food’.