Choosing the Best Food Service for Your Next Event

6 Catering Terms To Know When Planning A Great Event

If you are planning your first corporate event for your company or business, it helps to know the lingo. Catering companies, like most specialized businesses, have their own unique vocabulary. Understanding this vocabulary will help you improve your communication with your catering company and will help you create the event you are envisioning in your mind.

Full Service

If you want your catering company to not only provide the food and drinks, but also provide the cups, plates, and glass, you are looking for a "full service" catering company. A full service catering company, or a full service catering option, will take care of all the food elements for you – from the cooks and servers, to the tables and chairs, right down to the plates and silverware.

If you don't want to deal with the hassle of working with a variety of vendors in order to rent out plates, cups, silverware, chairs and tables, opting for the full service can help streamline the planning process for your corporate event.

Some full service catering companies may even offer additional event planning resources. Be sure to discuss in-detail what "full service" means for the catering company you want to work with, and make sure that it meets the needs of your event.


When you caterer talks about items being "in-house," that means that their catering company either owns those items or can provide those services on their own without hiring additional help.


When your caterer talks about "hire," this is a general shorthand term for anything that they will be hiring or renting from another company for your event. If your venue already provides you with all the tables, chairs, plates and silverware you need, you may not need to hire a catering company that provides all of those services. However, you may still want to hire servers from your catering company.

Back and Front Of House

When you start to talk to your caterer about the logistics, they will use the terms "back of house" and "front of house" a lot.

  • Back Of House. It helps if you think of "back of house" like the term "backstage." Everything that happens in the back of the house, your guests will not see. For example, all the preparation of the food for your event will not take place where your guests can see it.
  • Front Of House. You can think of the "front of house" as the stage – your guests will see everything that happens in the front of the house. This includes how you want the food presented and how you want the servers to deliver or serve the food.

Be sure to think carefully about your event and what you are trying to accomplish during your event. If you are throwing an awards ceremony and the food is supposed to be delivered to the guests at their tables, you probably want most of the preparation to take place back of house.

However, if you are throwing a more social event, where the food is part to your programming, you may want some of the food to be prepared in front of your guests or even set up in a more self-serve manner. Be sure to discuss your vision for the event the company you hire, so they know ahead of time what needs to happen in the back of the house and the front of the house for your event.

If you're looking for a catering company in your area, contact A Certain Flair Catering.