On-Site VS Off-Site Catering

On-Site VS Off-Site Catering

Choosing Between On-Site Catering or Off-Site Catering

When planning an event of any size, from a small business get-together to a large wedding, catering is one of the first things to square away. And one of the first choices you’ll have to make when searching for the perfect catering service is whether to choose an on-site caterer or an an off-site one. Before you choose between these two types, you’ll need to know what each one offers.

On-Site Catering

On-site catering is usually a catering services that is attached to the event venue. On-site caterers can be associated with hotels, banquet halls, convention centers, and even local restaurants. There are several benefits to using an on-site caterer:

Last Minute Changes

On-site caterers can usually make last minute changes to catering orders, because they are available at the facility to do so. This can be advantageous, although you should always inquire upfront about the cost of last minute changes to catering orders.

Dealing with Dietary Restrictions

Many event planners will need to plan for the dietary restrictions of their guests. Many planners will include a request for information about restrictions with guests’ RSVP letters so that they can plan ahead of time. However, if your event doesn’t call for an RSVP, or a guest forgot to include the information, on-site caterers can help. Since the caterers are present at the venue, they can explain ingredients of provided dishes, or quickly supply an unscheduled alternative for a guest.

Cost Benefits

On-site caterers can be cost effective, depending on the venue. For example, if you have an event at a country club or hotel, the venue may offer a packaged deal that includes the cost of catering services. Setup and clean-up costs are often included as well, though this can vary from venue to venue.

Off-Site Catering

An off-site catering service prepares the food and transports it to the venue. As with on-site catering, off-site catering comes with its own benefits:


Off-site catering allows for flexibility of venue, and style of food. Instead of being limited to the offerings of on-site catering, off-site catering gives you a wide variety of options.

Cost Choices

Choosing an off-site caterer also lets you choose between a variety of services and costs. If you use an on-site caterer, the costs for available packages are often set. When choosing an off-site caterer, you can choose services to fit your budget.


Typically, an off-site catering service will bring the food and leave. These services can have multiple venues to serve at in a single day, so their availability may be limited. If your event is a small gathering, this can be a preferred serving method, rather than having an entire catering crew be kept available for the entire event.

How to Choose?

With either option, you can be certain that the caterer is passionate about their profession. It is not a simple task to be a successful caterer. Aside from the choice of cuisine, or reputation of the caterer, base your decision on your event. Where would you like to hold the event? How many people will participate? Who will clean up once your guests leave? Would on-site or off-site be the best fit for your budget? Once you answer these questions, you should be able to choose the perfect local caterer for your event.

For more information about catering an event, or to speak to a professional about local catering by a San Marcos restaurant, visit Italian Garden, an Italian restaurant located in downtown San Marcos, TX.