Service Styles

There is so much more available to today’s host at a catered event.  While in the past it was typically a choice between a buffet or seated meal, there are many more choices available to today’s client.

The style of service will have a significant impact on the tone of the event, the formality, or informality; the ability of the guests to move around a lot or spend more time at their table.  It also has a considerable impact on the overall cost of the event as well.  Essentially, the smaller the presentation of each menu item, the larger the overall cost.  For example, some clients prefer an event that provides all tray passed hors d’oeuvre, enough to replace a meal for their guests.  This may necessitate 12 – 15 individual, hand made items per guest, as opposed to providing a few hor d’oeuvre, and then a traditional appetizer and entrée.  This is typically the most expensive style of service.

There are pro’s and con’s of each style.  Our event planners will work with you to determine what is the best match for you, taking into consideration all of the factors above as well as the unique features of your event location that may have an impact on your choice.

Stationary Display

Typically presented on a centrally located table, the stationary display is an attractive culinary arrangement for your guests to choose from at their leisure.  Unobtrusive and simple, it works well for a small group, or combined with tray-passed, for a larger group or extended cocktail event.


A convenient bite passed to your guests by our staff.  Perfect for warm hors d’oeuvre and detailed presentations, this style of service works well at mingling events.  Tray-passing is a nice way to welcome guests, or to thank them with a sweet send-off.  All of La Cuisine’s tray passed items are small, not larger than two bites.  They are beautifully presented on thematically garnished trays by knowledgeable staff.


Chef and wait staff – attended food stations prepare plates to order and present them to your guests.  This versatile style affords a personalized service while maximizing the social energy and movement of the group.  Additionally, the station setup allows us to control food quantity and presentation in a comfortable way.

Passed Plates

A unique style of culinary service, passed plates combine the strengths of both tray -passing and station service.  Plates are created in the kitchen and waiter – passed, requiring no set-up in the event space and allowing guests to enjoy a small plate wherever they are sitting, lounging or standing.


The simplest style of service, a single buffet works best for a small, casual gathering.  The buffet is a simple and attractive display.  However, we would caution that this style of service tends to require more food than needed to assure a bountiful look.  You might consider a station or passed plate approach instead.

Family Style Service

Back to the table with family entertaining.  Waiters bring platters of hot-from-the-oven foods and place them on the table for the guests to share.  This is a perfect choice for a more casual and familiar get-to-know-you style of interactive “Family” style entertaining.  We are seeing a resurgence in this style of service coupled with the use of longer tables seating 10 – 30 guests.  The passing of platters back and forth creates a truly festive, convivial focal point.


Classic and elegant, this is the most labor-driven style of culinary service.  Courses are prepared and plated in the kitchen, then delivered to each of your seated guests by a coordinated team of waiters.  Seated service is very personal, making it a favorite for more formal affairs.  You can either select a single option for all of your guests, ask them to make a choice of 2-3 items at the time they RSVP, or the most luxurious option is to provide printed menus on the table allowing guests to choose their dinner as they would in a restaurant.

Seated/ Stations     

This style of service combines a served first course, then station service, which offers the guests more variety and then finishes with a served dessert or a cheese course and then dessert.