Recently, I met with a potential client who is going the route of drop-off catering versus full-service catering for their wedding day. As they talked excitedly about their plans and the substantial savings to their bottomline due to eliminating the labor and equipment charges that come along with full-service catering, I kept getting flash-backs to one of our earlier weddings where the couple had such a plan. I must admit at the time I thought it was a terrific idea. The caterer would drop-off and set up the buffet (beautifully) and leave behind a waiter to refill the chafers, check the food temperature and keep the area tidy throughout the evening. The guests will serve themselves, and various family members of the bride and groom had volunteered to bus tables, refill water glasses and wash dishes.
And then the wedding day came and I found myself helping an increasingly dwindling group of volunteers bus tables, refill water glasses and wash dishes for 250 guests (not to mention pack up the leftovers and break down the equipment at the end of the night). All while trying to keep the wedding on-schedule and put out the various fires that were happening outside of the kitchen. The experience gave me a whole new appreciation for the job of caterers.
Today, as I flipped through a national bridal magazine, I saw under the trends section: "drop-off catering". E-gads! what a bad idea! although I'm sure out there some bride is saying: "What a great idea!" If that bride is you, be warned: this idea is only great for weddings with less than 50 guests. However, in my experience, it is always the couples with guest lists topping 300 that think this is the way to go to cut costs. It isn't, cut the guest list.