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Full Service Catering
Full-service catering is a comprehensive service where The Silk Road handles all aspects of the food, starting with preparation and setup, to serving and cleanup. Full service can be at any level, from simply maintaining and restocking a buffet to serving a formal plated dinner, and it will vary in price depending on the level of service you choose.
This type of catering is also ideal for events where you want to relax and enjoy yourself without having to worry about the details of the food service and cleanup.
With The Silk Road, this often includes cooking and finishing the food at your location to ensure the freshest flavors and textures for your entire meal.
Delivery catering, on the other hand, is a more limited service that simply delivers prepared food to your event location. This type of catering is often more affordable than full-service, but it does require more work on the part of the host. For example, the host is typically responsible for setting up the food tables, arranging and maintaining the buffet, and cleaning up after the event.
The food will prepared at our commercial kitchen, transported to your location arranged to your preferences. Some foods do not travel well and many not be available for delivery to locations far outside of Missoula County.
Hors d'Oeuvres for Dinner? Yes!!
Treat your guests to a taste of luxury with smaller portions and a more relaxed atmosphere with hors d'oeuvres for dinner!
Imagine servers walking around with silver platters, offering scrumptious little morsels for your guests to ooh and ahh over all night! Little bites all around, please!
Appetizer displays and hors d’oeuvres are also especially elegant for the cocktail hour after your main event/ceremony, but before dinner, with an array of little bites for your guests to enjoy at their leisure while mingling.
Budget tip: choose your appetizer menu wisely based on your budget and vision. Is your goal to “wow” your guests with tasty morsels or give them a little filler to cut dinner portion size? Both are valid options, so choose wisely. If you choose dinner to follow apps, we recommend keeping hors d’oeuvres lighter, about 2-3 bites per person. Otherwise, plan for about 10-15 bites per person if you are not planning other meal options.
Get in Line: The Buffet
A buffet dinner is a more casual style of dining where guests serve themselves from a buffet table. This means that guests can choose the food they want and how much they want. Buffet dinners are typically less expensive than plated dinners, offering guests more flexibility and variety.
Several protein options (in smaller portion sizes) on the buffet is the newest trend
and definitely a crowd-pleaser. Steak, chicken and salmon all offered, but much smaller, each at 1/2 or 1/3 the traditional portion. The Silk Road is already prepared for your best friend or cousin, who will serve themselves four portions of steak, leaving none for your other guests.
Here's a quick look into The Silk Road process for a dinner buffet: After all your guests have been invited to sit at their tables (before the salad course is served), either our Chef or Catering Manager will get up to speak about the food and buffet process, describing each of the flavors you chose for the menu and explaining how each table will be invited to the buffet one at a time. They will then give a brief reminder to take reasonable portions so everyone can enjoy all the items on the buffet, and acknowledge that as soon as everyone goes through, the guests can come up for a second round.
Remember, the traditional buffet has a drawback: everybody is hungry waiting in line. The Silk Road is in tune with these needs and knows how to speed things up before you're guests become impatient.
Planning a plated salad course before dinner will allow your guests to get a bite to eat before heading to the buffet. Orchestration is critical for this style. Ideally, after cocktail hour, The Silk Road Chef or Catering Manager will invite your guests to sit down at their assigned seats for the salad course and briefly describe the delicious meal they are about to enjoy and explain how each table will be invited to the buffet one at a time after salad. The bride and groom will be served salad first (of course), then the wedding party, the dining tables starting from one side of the dining area to the other. After the last table is served salads, the first few tables will likely be ready to have their salad plates collected and invited to the buffet in the same order they were served.
When planning the menu, discuss efficient buffet lines. Use both sides of the buffet table or create a T-shaped buffet. Both lines start at the bottom of the T, and are funneled away to each side to move quickly and prevent congestion.
Want a prime rib carving station but know it will take forever to get everyone served? Add an additional carving station, and your guests will be delighted at how quickly everyone goes through the line!
Traditional Elegance : Plated Dinner
A plated dinner is a formal style of dining where guests are served their meal at their tables by waitstaff. This is typically done in courses, starting with an appetizer or salad, then the main course, and optionally dessert.
Hosts typically choose a set menu for their plated dinner, and guests may pre-select their entrée choice when they RSVP to the wedding or event.
Plated or served dinners are traditionally the most elegant style of service, providing a sophisticated dining experience for your guests. They are, however, labor-intensive, with more servers and chefs paying special attention to each plate.
Years of experience with more than 1,000 weddings have given The Silk Road an expert playbook to elegantly serve hundreds of guests efficiently.
Here's an example of a plated dinner for a wedding. As soon as the tables are set, typically during the ceremony, The Silk Road team will quietly diagram the floorplan with each guest's entree choice. Then, after cocktail hour, The Silk Road Chef or Catering Manager will invite your guests to sit down at their assigned seats for the salad course and briefly describe the delicious meal they are about to enjoy. The bride and groom will be served first (of course), then the wedding party, the dining tables starting from one side of the dining area to the other. After the last table is served salads, the first few tables will likely be ready to have their salad plates collected, and will then be served dinner.
Be imaginative and creative with your place setting indicators, noting your guests' choice of entree by choosing distinctive table decorations, name tags, stickers, etc., assigned to each person. But be careful not to make it so fun that your guests end up playing with or trading (or eating) them away, breaking your entire service pattern! Also, providing The Silk Road with a pre-set diagram is highly encouraged.
Family-style is another way to allow your guest more flexibility on the plate with a slightly more casual atmosphere, all while having the feeling of a full-plated dinner. Your main courses (and possibly the salad course) are served on large platters at each table, where guests can serve themselves the portions they prefer.
Everybody Wins : Specialty Service Bar
Remember hotel brunch, where the chef at the omelet bar allows you to choose the perfect mixture of ingredients for your favorite omelet. Then they make it for you, right there, on the spot?
Now imagine that for dinner! How about an Italian pasta bar, an Asian noodle bar, or creamy risotto bar? For a crowd pleaser, you’ve got it nailed!
Allergies, intolerances and food preferences are easily accommodated by the chef at a Specialty Service Bar, instantly making everyone happy!
To keep the love flowing (and stay-the-hunger while waiting in line) offer passed hors d’oeuvres or an appetizer buffet (or both) in addition to the service bar, creating a dynamic and social atmosphere. Provide both sitting and standing tables (if it’s feasible) offering a comfortable place for everyone.
BONUS: Service Bars are becoming increasingly popular for rehearsal dinners, almost forcing both sides of the family to intermingle!
My Mom is Gluten Free : Special Diets
Keep options available for those with dietary sensitivities too, but don’t let them overwhelm your decisions on the menu.
In your invitation, simply ask your guests to contact you well in advance for dietary restrictions, helping you (and your guests) be prepared for the feast.
Catering delivery is easy to arrange and have delicious food at your event, but without the cost of full-serivce catering. You can focus your time on other event details instead of planning and cooking all the food you'd need.
Delivery is significantly more affordable than full-service catering, but it does require more work on the part of the host.
For example, the host is typically responsible for setting all the tables and serviceware, arranging the food, serving the food to guests, and cleaning up after the event.
Additionally, the delivery area is significantly reduced with this style because all food has to be prepared in the catering commissary kitchen then held hot for delivery. Some menu items hold well, and some others will not taste great after sitting in a vehicle for an hour. Each menu is different, and can be discussed at your consultation meeting.
The menu items are available in sent quantities.