12 Amazing Catering Options for Parties That Will Impress Your Guests

Last Updated on September 25, 2023 by Project Party

When planning a party, the term ‘catering’ often conjures up images of swanky affairs with silver trays and black-tie waitstaff. However, in today’s diverse culinary landscape, catering options for parties have evolved far beyond the traditional. From food trucks serving street food to unique interactive food stations, there’s a whole world of casual and exciting catering alternatives to explore.

Whether you’re planning an informal get-together or a grand celebration, ensuring your guests are well-fed is key to hosting a successful event. And while less formal doesn’t necessarily mean less structured, it does open up a myriad of possibilities for creative and fun catering ideas. With the right caterer by your side, you can offer your guests an unforgettable dining experience without lifting a finger in the kitchen.

The beauty of modern catering lies in its flexibility and adaptability. Whether you’re going for stand-up cocktail-style nibbles or sit-down gourmet meals, local caterers have got you covered. They work closely with you to understand your event’s vibe and guest preferences, delivering a menu that’s sure to tantalize everyone’s taste buds.

So, if you’re ready to break away from the norm and try something different for your next party, keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite non-traditional catering options that promise to turn your celebration into a gastronomic delight.

1. Revolutionary Food Trucks

The food truck revolution has taken the catering industry by storm. Offering a vast variety of cuisines, these mobile kitchens are perfect for parties and events of all sizes. Whether your guests have a craving for tacos, sushi, burgers, pizzas, or even vegan specialties, food trucks cater to every palate. The beauty of food trucks lies in their flexibility and convenience. They can park anywhere, require minimal setup, and serve fresh and delicious meals right out of the kitchen. Moreover, they add an element of entertainment, creating a casual and relaxed atmosphere that encourages social interaction. Plus, with their distinctive designs and vibrant colours, they make for a great photo backdrop. So, if you’re looking for a unique and fun catering option that offers a culinary adventure, food trucks are the way to go.

A food truck as a catering option will not disappoint
Food trucks are a fantastic addition to birthdays, weddings, corporate events, or any other gathering, offering a unique and customizable dining experience that delights guests with a variety of delicious cuisines and a fun, casual atmosphere.

2. Elegant Grazing Boards

Grazing boards are not just a catering option; they’re a visual feast. Overflowing with a variety of cheeses, fruits, crackers, and more, these boards are as pleasing to the eyes as they are to the palate. They offer a casual and communal dining experience, allowing guests to pick and choose what they want to eat. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to set up and require little to no maintenance throughout the event. This leaves you free to enjoy the party without worrying about the food. Grazing boards are also highly customizable. You can opt for a classic charcuterie board, a vegan board, or even a dessert board. With their stunning presentation and abundance of delicious bites, grazing boards are sure to impress your guests and make your event the talk of the town.

3. Delicious Donut Walls

If you’re looking to add a sweet and unique touch to your event, consider setting up a donut wall. This fun and modern catering option is sure to delight your guests and create a buzz. Donut walls not only offer a delicious treat but also serve as an interactive feature that encourages guests to get up and choose their own donut. Plus, they’re incredibly Instagrammable. With an array of flavours, colours, and toppings to choose from, you can customize your donut wall to match your event’s theme or colour scheme. Whether you opt for classic glazed donuts, colourful sprinkles, or gourmet flavours, a donut wall is a memorable addition that will add a touch of whimsy to your event.

4. Authentic Pizza Ovens and Spit Roasts

For a truly authentic and interactive catering experience, consider hiring a pizza oven or spit roast. These options not only provide delicious food but also add an element of theatre to your event. Guests can watch as their pizza is made from scratch and cooked in the traditional way, or as the spit roast slowly cooks to perfection. This not only entertains your guests but also allows them to customize their meals to their liking. Furthermore, these options create a warm and inviting atmosphere, filling your venue with enticing aromas and providing a focal point around which guests can gather. With a pizza oven or spit roast at your event, you’re not just offering great food; you’re offering a unique culinary experience.

5. Professional BBQ and Paella Chefs

If you want to transport your guests to the sunny beaches of Spain or the vibrant streets of Brazil, hire professional BBQ and paella chefs. These experts not only cook mouth-watering food but also provide an authentic cultural experience. Watching paella being cooked in a giant pan or meat being grilled on a large BBQ is not just entertaining; it’s mesmerizing. Plus, the food is bursting with flavour and cooked to perfection. This option is particularly suitable for outdoor events where the chefs can set up their equipment and cook in view of the guests. So, if you’re looking to create a memorable culinary experience at your event, hiring professional BBQ and paella chefs is the way to go.

A large pan of paella frying up
Paella, with its rich flavors and generous portions, is not only a delicious dish but also an excellent choice for feeding large groups, making it a crowd-pleasing option for any gathering or event.

6. Expert Coffee and Dessert Vans

Coffee and dessert vans are a sweet way to end any event. These vans are run by professionals who have mastered the art of making coffee and baking desserts. They offer a wide range of options, from classic pastries and cakes to innovative desserts that are sure to delight your guests. Plus, their coffee is always freshly brewed and expertly made. But these vans offer more than just great food and drink; they also add an element of nostalgia and charm to your event. With their vintage design and cozy ambience, they’re sure to attract your guests and keep them coming back for more. So, if you’re looking for a unique and charming catering option, coffee and dessert vans are the perfect choice.

7. Exciting Mobile Bars

Mobile bars are a stylish and convenient way to serve drinks at your event. Whether you’re hosting a morning brunch, an afternoon garden party, or an evening soiree, mobile bars can cater to your needs. They offer a wide range of beverages, from freshly brewed coffee and smoothies to cocktails and fine wines. Plus, they’re run by professional bartenders who can whip up delicious drinks in no time. But mobile bars offer more than just great drinks; they also create a lively and festive atmosphere. With their sleek design and ambient lighting, they’re sure to become a hotspot at your event. So, if you want to keep the drinks flowing and the party going, consider hiring a mobile bar.

8. Colourful Candy Buffets

Candy buffets are a sweet and colourful addition to any event. These buffets are filled with a variety of candies, from classic favourites to gourmet treats. Plus, they’re beautifully arranged and colourfully displayed, making them a feast for the eyes. But candy buffets are not just about the candy; they’re also about the experience. Guests can fill their own bags with their favourite candies, creating a fun and interactive experience. Plus, they make for great party favours. So, if you’re looking for a catering option that’s fun, interactive, and sure to delight guests of all ages, consider setting up a candy buffet at your event.

9. Interactive Live Stations

Live stations are a fresh and exciting catering option that adds an element of interactivity to your event. Whether it’s a sushi station, a taco bar, or a pasta station, live stations allow guests to customize their meals to their liking. Plus, they provide entertainment as guests can watch their food being prepared right in front of them. This not only adds a touch of excitement to your event but also ensures that the food is fresh and hot. Live stations are also a great way to cater to various dietary needs and preferences, as guests can choose exactly what goes into their meals. So, if you’re looking for a catering option that’s fresh, exciting, and customizable, consider setting up live stations at your event.

10. Dramatic Ice Sculptures

While not a traditional catering option, ice sculptures can add a touch of elegance and drama to your event. These intricate works of art can serve as a stunning centrepiece, a decorative element, or even a functional part of your catering setup, such as an ice bar. Plus, they’re sure to impress your guests and create a memorable photo opportunity. Whether you opt for a simple ice carving or a grand ice sculpture, this unique catering option is sure to make a big impression. So, if you want to add a touch of elegance and drama to your event, consider incorporating an ice sculpture into your catering setup.

11. Themed Food Stations

Themed food stations are an innovative and fun way to cater to your party. They can be tailored to suit any theme, from a tropical Hawaiian luau with a poke bowl station to a Parisian soirée with a crepe stand, or a Mexican fiesta with a taco bar. The possibilities are endless! These stations not only provide a unique dining experience but also add to the ambience and decor of the event. Guests will enjoy the interactive element as they watch their food being prepared and can customize their dishes according to their preferences. To make these stations even more engaging, consider incorporating live cooking demonstrations or even cooking classes where guests can learn how to make a dish and then enjoy their own creations.

A bowl of poke with chopsticks
At a make-your-own poke bowl station, guests can choose their base (such as rice or greens), protein (like marinated raw fish or tofu), toppings (like avocado, seaweed, and edamame), and sauces, allowing them to create a customized and flavorful poke bowl to suit their taste preferences.

12. Sustainable and Locally-Sourced Catering

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in all aspects of life, including party planning. A growing trend in catering is to use locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. This not only supports local farmers and reduces carbon footprint but also ensures that the food is fresh and of the highest quality. You could organize a farm-to-table buffet or a gourmet dinner where each course showcases a local ingredient. To take it a step further, you could also incorporate other sustainable practices such as using biodegradable plates and cutlery, composting food waste, and donating leftover food. This unique catering idea is not just good for the environment but also creates a memorable and meaningful experience for your guests.

Discover Exciting Catering Options: Elevate Your Party Experience

In conclusion, if you desire a more flexible meal plan or find yourself in a situation where your guest list has unexpectedly expanded, fret not. There’s an array of innovative catering options for parties that can help transform your event from the typical fish and chips fare into something truly memorable. The options we’ve discussed here are just the tip of the iceberg in the vast sea of creative catering possibilities.

Whether you’re serving coffee to a large group or planning a multi-course meal, these ideas should spark inspiration and open up new avenues for you to explore. Remember, the key to great catering lies in its ability to create an immersive and enjoyable dining experience that complements the theme and mood of your event.

Your feedback is always appreciated. If you think there are any catering options I’ve missed or if you have any unique suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below. I’m constantly scouting for fresh and exciting catering companies to try out. So, let’s continue this culinary journey together, discovering and sharing the best catering options for parties.