Aside from Black Friday shoppers, there may be no crowd of people more eager to get to their bounty than wedding guests headed for the passed appetizers. While they’re surely thrilled for the bride and groom, that feeling comes second to the thrill of landing that first shrimp skewer—especially after a long ceremony. Same goes for work-related cocktail parties. Caught up in an awkward conversation? Oh look, it’s the mini-grilled cheese guy!
This month, FoodService Director takes a deep dive into catering, from the latest and greatest in menus to starting a new program at your operation and what happens when an event goes off the rails.
No longer are diners looking for a buffet of cold-cut sandwiches and too-dry cake. And with the total market for off-premise catering alone at $55.5 billion in 2016, according to Technomic’s 2016 Catering Insights Program, operators are working hard to keep up with raised expectations.
Obviously, some of that catering competition comes from restaurants—which are also a prime target for stealing ideas, as you’ll find in this month’s cover story. I’ve been amazed to watch that experience change in recent years, especially when it comes to technology and the shift toward a more casual experience. Is there an eventual backlash coming, with more value placed on the sit-down customer? Time will tell—but I don’t think it’ll happen any time soon.
The best and worst passed appetizers, per the FoodService Director staff.
|1. Crabcakes. Best if composed of a minimum of breadcrumbs and a maximum of crab.||1. Anything that requires a tiny fork. Have you ever seen someone over the age of 9 successfully wield one?|
|2. Caprese salad on a skewer. Flavorful, but fresh enough to feel healthy-ish.||2. Too-tall sliders. A one-bite disaster waiting to happen.|
|3. Bacon-wrapped dates. The perfect combination of sweet and savory on a toothpick.||3. Anything with blue cheese. It's disgusting|
|4. Crudites and hummus. especially if preportioned in a shot glass.||4. Chicken satay. More ofte than not it's dry, and the dipping sauce gets everywhere.|
|5. Mini grilled cheese and tomato soup. They're just so precious.||5. Egg rolls. There's no telling what might be inside.|