Pop-up food stalls, or traditional catering? Pros and cons of eating with your fingertips.

Pop-up food stalls are becoming extremely popular at events, from awards ceremonies to meetings shows, exhibitions, networking events and more. Whether it’s that juicy-saucy-beef-burger-yumminess, or fresh paella, tomatoey falafel salads, bursting burritos, or aromatic Indonesian rendang; high quality ‘street food’ is tasty, diverse, and original every time.

Traditional catering will always be a ‘safe’ choice because there’s no mess, delegates know the serving time of their food and the contents of it beforehand (a menu is always placed somewhere) so it’s a familiar process. However, is this structure depreciating the liberation of discovering a new food and eating it with your bare hands? That’s right, no cutlery, and no running order, just queue up wherever you choose and grab that grub.

We’ve decided to make a comparison between street food (5+ pop up stalls in one area), and standard catering (canapés, BBQ, dinners) looking at the pros and cons of both.

Pros of Caterers
  • Pre-planned menus so delegates can pre-order
  • Even if they don’t pre-order they know if it’s BBQ, or dinner
  • You can create a bespoke menu to ensure the right combination of flavours, and pair up the right food
  • Steady flow of food at the event, helping to keep you on time
Cons of Caterers
  • Limited choice at times for guest to choose from, especially if it’s a set menu
  • Choice of food may be considered ‘standard’ or ‘boring’ – buffet, canapés, BBQ, dinners, red or white wine
  • If people don’t like the food there is nowhere else they can go
  • Delegate has no control of what they eat and are limited to what they’re given at their table or what’s been laid out at the buffet
Pros of Pop-Up
  • A range of choice: different cuisines, suppliers, food can be hot or cold, unique, cultural.
  • Separate stands for starters, mains, desserts, drinks, cocktails
  • Delegates can choose for themselves, it’s a fun experience as well as a culinary experience
  • Social and trendy atmosphere
Cons of Pop Up
    • Queues can be an issue if one stand is more popular than the rest
    • Finding space for the pop-ups at the venue
    • Not always appropriate for corporate events
    • Too much choice can slow down the dining process

Still can’t make up your mind? Take a look at these two trending suppliers:

Pop up food stall provider ‘Kerb’: http://www.kerbfood.com/

Event caterer ‘Payne and Gunter’: http://www.payneandgunter.co.uk/

Emily Johnson

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