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Your catering menu’s layout can significantly impact how your visitors perceive it since, as the saying goes, “You eat with your eyes first.” A visually appealing and simple-to-read menu can improve the dining experience and add charm to your event. We’ll talk about how important it is to create a catering menu that is both aesthetically pleasing and practical in this article. We’ll provide tips on how to make a catering menu, including advice on font selection, layout, and color scheme. When you complete reading this article, you’ll have the resources to design a catering menu to impress your guests and improve the dining experience.

Define Your Catering Style 

Choosing the right catering style for your event involves assessing various factors, such as your budget, the number of guests, and the event you’re hosting. Different catering styles offer unique dining experiences and selecting the most suitable one can enhance the overall ambiance and guest satisfaction. Let’s discuss some common catering styles and how to choose the finest one for your event. 

  1. Buffet Style

Buffet-style catering involves setting up food stations where guests can serve themselves. This style is suitable for events with many guests, as it allows for flexibility in food choices and portion sizes. Buffets are often more budget-friendly than plated meals since they require fewer staff members for service. They work well for casual events, such as corporate gatherings, weddings, and family reunions. 

  1. Plated Service

Plated service, or sit-down dining, offers a more formal and elegant experience. Each guest is served individual pre-portioned meals at their table. This style is ideal for formal events like weddings, gala dinners, and corporate banquets, where attention to detail and personalized service are crucial. Plated service requires a larger serving staff and usually costs more than other catering styles. 

  1. Family Style

Family-style catering combines elements of both buffets and plated service. The dishes are placed on each table, and guests help themselves to the food. It encourages guest interaction and conversation and creates a warm, communal atmosphere. Family-style catering suits medium-sized gatherings and works well for weddings, social events, and holiday parties. 

  1. Cocktail Reception

Cocktail receptions are popular for networking events, cocktail parties, and receptions with many guests. Instead of a formal seated meal, a variety of appetizers, canapés, and finger foods are circulated among the guests. This style encourages mingling and provides a more casual and relaxed atmosphere. 

  1. Food Stations

Food stations involve setting up various stations throughout the venue, each offering a different type of cuisine or specific dishes. Guests can visit each station and choose the items they prefer. Food stations work well for events with diverse culinary preferences or themed events. They provide guests with a wide range of options and allow for customization. Food stations are often seen at weddings, corporate events, and large parties.

When choosing a catering style, consider the following factors: 

  1. Budget – Determine how much you will spend on catering. Some styles, like buffets and food stations, are more cost-effective than plated service.
  2. Number of Guests – The size of your guest list will influence the feasibility of certain catering styles. Buffets, food stations, and cocktail receptions are better suited for larger groups, while plated service and family-style work well for smaller gatherings.
  3. Event Type – Consider the nature and formality of your event. Formal occasions typically call for plated service, while casual events can accommodate buffets, food stations, or cocktail receptions.
  4. Dietary Restrictions – If you have guests with specific dietary requirements, ensure that your chosen catering style can accommodate their needs. Buffets and food stations often provide more options for guests with different dietary preferences.

Consult with your chosen catering company to discuss your preferences, event details, and budget. They can guide you in selecting the most suitable catering style that aligns with your vision and ensures a memorable dining experience for your guests. 

Choose Your Dishes 

Choosing the right dishes for your catering menu ensures all guests are satisfied. Here are some tips for selecting dishes that appeal to diverse tastes, dietary restrictions, and guidance on portion sizes and quantities. 

1. Consider Dietary Restrictions 

When selecting dishes, it’s important to consider any dietary restrictions your guests may have. Be sure to include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options and dishes low in sodium or sugar. Including various options will ensure that everyone can find something they can enjoy. 

2. Mix Classic and Unique Dishes 

Offering classic favorites like mac and cheese or chicken parmesan alongside unique offerings like quinoa salad or sushi rolls can provide something for everyone. It also allows guests to try new things while still having familiar options to fall back on. 

3. Pay Attention to Portion Sizes and Quantities 

When deciding on how much food to order, consider the number of your guest list and the event length. As a general rule of thumb, plan on 4-6 ounces (about 177.44 ml) of protein per person and 2-3 servings of vegetables per person. Remember that some guests may take food than others, so it’s always better to err on caution and order a little extra. 

4. Take Presentation into Account 

The way your dishes are presented can have a big impact on how your guests receive them. Add garnishes like fresh herbs or sliced fruit to make your dishes look more appealing. Consider using unique serving dishes, like mini mason jars or individual ramekins, to add visual interest to your table. 


Design Your Menu 

For your guests to have a great experience with your catering business, you must design a visually appealing and simple-to-read menu. Here are some reasons why it’s crucial and some guidelines for creating a successful catering menu. 

A visually appealing menu can pique guests’ interest and build excitement for the food they will soon enjoy. It can also influence the atmosphere and create the tone for the occasion. A well-designed menu can leave a positive impression on customers and promote your catering company as a reputable and high-quality supplier. When creating your catering menu, consider the following: 

  1. Layout: To make it easy for guests to choose their meals, divide the menu into appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Use clear headings and subheadings to draw attention to each section. Ensure that the menu is logical and intuitively organized.
  2. Font Selection: When designing a catering menu, selecting a font that is comfortable to read and consistent throughout is important. A sans-serif font such as Helvetica or Arial is the right choice.
  3. Color Scheme: When selecting colors for your event, ensure they align with your brand and theme. You can also enhance the experience by incorporating high-quality images of your dishes to engage your audience and highlight the excellence of your cuisine. 


Here are some examples of effective catering menu designs: 

  • A simple black and white design with clear headings and subheadings, like “Appetizers,” “Entrees,” and “Desserts.” 
  • A bold and colorful design that incorporates high-quality images of the dishes. 
  • A minimalist format with plenty of white space and a simple, easy-to-read font. 


Any event that is a success needs a catering menu that is pleasing to the eye, simple to understand, and practical. Create a menu that highlights your dishes and improves your visitors’ dining experience using the advice and suggestions in this post. Remember to employ readable typefaces, a clean, orderly structure, and effective color use to highlight important details. With these resources, you can wow your guests with a catering menu that tastes as wonderful as it looks.