Choosing Between Drop-Off & Full-Service Catering – Our Guide

Hiring a caterer for your next social event involves many different decisions. One of which involves choosing what type of service you need. You have two choices in this matter: one, drop-off catering, and two, full-service. 

If you’re not sure which type of service you need, then this guide is for you. We’ll be going over each choice and discuss its pros and cons so that you can better decide. 

What is drop-off catering? 

Drop-off catering is sometimes referred to as off-site catering. This is when the food is prepared outside the event’s venue and then eventually brought in once the party has begun. The food can be delivered by the caterer or you, as the event planner, can pick it up from their location. 

This type of catering will obviously cost less money, making it a good option for people who have very limited budgets. It also allows you to have greater control over the other aspects of the event, such as how you would serve your food and how you would set up the dining arrangements. 

What is full-service catering? 

Full-service catering is just what the term implies. It includes a complete suite of different services ranging from a full buffet, service attendants, and table settings. Food is usually prepared off-site as well, but some dishes might be finished on the premises or even tableside. 

One of the biggest benefits of this type of service is that it frees up a lot of your time and energy. You can count on the provider to handle many different aspects pertaining to the food, allowing you to focus on other aspects of the event. However, full-service catering is many times more expensive, so be prepared to shell out more than you normally would. 

How to Choose Between the Two 

The most sensible way for you to choose between the two types is to base the decision on the size of the event. If you are expecting more than a hundred people to attend your party, then perhaps full-service is the way to go. 

On the other hand, you can easily manage events that involve fewer guests with drop-off catering. You’ll also have much more room in your budget to afford other indulgences such as party favours, entertainers, and a more impressive venue. 

Additionally, it’s important to remember that you’re not strictly limited to just one choice or the other. Nothing prohibits you from hiring both types of catering services, and you can find the correct balance that’s appropriate for your needs. 

For instance, you can hire a service attendant to man a meat carving station for your main entrees, while at the same time purchase finger foods and appetizers from a drop-off caterer. This essentially gives you the best of both worlds, and it can also give you the ability to stretch your budget regardless of how big it is. 


As you can see, the choice isn’t hard to make at all. You just have to plan ahead and consider what your needs really are. In any case, make sure you work with a reputable caterer to better ensure that your party is a success. 

If you’re looking for a gourmet catering company in Chatswood, we’ve got you covered! Get in touch with us if you’d like to see how we can help.