Should I Have an ‘Action Station’ for My Catered Event?

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Have you ever attended a catered event and been truly “wowed” by the service and the quality of food? If you’re planning a catered event, this is obviously the impression you’d like your own crowd to have. Everybody wants their guests to walk away feeling good about the experience, the flavors, and the attentiveness of the catering professionals on-site. This is the goal from the moment you first start planning your menu with a caterer.

It doesn’t always happen this way, however. There are lot of catering companies out there who just aren’t working on a very high level, professionally speaking. They’re disorganized, ill-trained, and lacking the proper equipment. They don’t know how to plan properly to make sure the client’s expectations are understood and met, and the result is often disappointment and negative feedback after the fact.

This highlights the need to choose your catering company with care, and put extra time into finding and hiring the most reputable professional in your area.

When you do narrow it down to a few caterers and start asking more specific questions, you might end up talking about something called an “action station.” What is this exactly, and should you consider it for your event?

What is an action station?

Chances are, you’ve seen action stations at one or more catered events before. You’ve probably also seen them at hotel breakfast buffets. An action station is an aspect of the buffet or food service that involves a catering professional who is “stationed” to offer people a specific type of food or beverage, made-to-order. Examples of action stations include:

  • Fresh Italian pasta
  • French crepes
  • Oriental wok
  • Baked potato bar
  • Ice cream
  • Sushi
  • Meat carving

Depending on the caterer you hire, there may be several other options for one or more actions stations at your event. It’s a great feature because it allows people to have custom orders filled; and it gives an extra touch of class to your event, while making it more interesting.

Should you have one for your event?

This depends, of course, on the nature and size of your event. For example, if your event has several hundred people, a single action station is probably going to do more harm than good, and lead to frustration as guests wait in line. But if it’s a smaller gathering, choosing one or more action stations can really give you an extra sense of atmosphere — and guests usually love it.

Getting answers from catering pros

Any caterer you reach out to for more information should be able to give you a very clear idea of what kind of action stations they offer, and whether they recommend one for your event. You’ll also want to know who exactly is going to be working at the action station(s), and whether they have adequate training and experience to be doing so. These are all questions to ask your caterer before you decide on a plan and/or sign a contract. The more planning you do up front, the more rewarding and enjoyable our event is going to be!