Off-Premise vs On-Premise Catering: What’s The Difference

Off-Premise vs On-Premise Catering: What’s The Difference

The main difference between an on-premise and off premise catering is the location of the event. Simply put, an on-premise caterer is one that serves food in the same area where the food is prepared or manufactured. An off-premise caterer has to travel to the event to serve the food.

Which one is for you

Most of the time, on-premise catering services offer slightly cheaper menus because they do not have to worry about early preparation times and transportation costs. To top this all off, if you are renting the events place from the on-premise caterer, they get to enjoy full profits in that aspect of your event. As you are holding the event in their “territory” so to speak, they are serving you food within their comfort zone. Laborwise, it is much easier to pull off an on-premise catering than on off-premise one. Off premise catering is at least five times more difficult due to the transportation alone.

Save money vs. Have options

Most people, when holding their events, choose off-premise catering, 315 Daylight Bulbs. This happens when they are not completely happy with the venues currently being offered by the caterer should they serve “on-premise”. This is sometimes due to the capacity of the place, the ambiance, the location, or the limitations of the space given the requirements of the event.

If you want to save money and you have no specific requirements for your event except that it has to be “on budget”, on-premise catering might suit your needs. If you need bigger space, better amenities, etc., you should invest in off-premise catering. You may need to pay for transportation or out-of-town costs but if you really like their food and their services, and you absolutely cannot compromise the venue, off-premise catering is your best option.

Types of off-premise catering

There are also different types of off-premise catering to consider. Some are called party food caterers. They may provide food that is cut up, packed in boxes and trays, ready to be transferred to serving trays and prepared well-in-advance before the party happens. There are also “hot buffet” caterers who offer food that has already been prepared and transported to the event venue, and placed in buffet serving trays to be reheated before the event happens. You may also choose full-service off-site catering. This means that depending on your needs, you may ask for boxed prepared meals, food that is in hot buffet trays, or food that can be cooked on the venue itself. For example, Mongolian barbecue buffets.

Things to prepare for

There are things you need to clarify with your off-site catering service provider before the date and time of the event. One is the venue’s location. This will set the transportation costs and what time the caterer can ingress before the event. If they are also providing styling for your event, you need to agree on this months beforehand.

Next is the number of people they need to serve and the service style you want your food to be served. This will set the tone, the kind of food, and the number of the crew they need to provide during the event.

The number of people to serve can change but you should try not to make too huge a change so close to the event date. If there are any changes, try not to exceed 20% of the agreed-upon guests. Also be sure about your ingress and egress arrangements.

For your off premise catering needs, contact us today at Altland House Catering. We can help you plan your next event and make sure it will be a memorable one!


Bonnie Baldwin