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  • Writer's pictureEngilberto Olivera

The Pros and Cons of Drop Off Catering vs. Full Service Catering

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

When it comes to planning an event or special occasion, catering is an important factor to consider. Depending on the size and type of event, there are two main types of catering that you can choose from drop-off catering and full-service catering. We will discuss the pros and cons of each option to help you decide which is best for your event.


When considering whether to use drop-off catering or full-service catering for an event, the cost is often one of the most important factors. Drop-off catering tends to be the cheaper option since no staff is needed for setup, service, or clean up after the meal. Full-service catering, however, usually requires an additional fee to cover the cost of staff, equipment and setup and breakdown, and more. Depending on the size and scope of the event, full-service catering may still be the more cost-effective option if you take into consideration other costs. Ultimately, weighing the costs of both types of catering is essential to making the right decision for your event.

Food Quality

When it comes to catering, food quality is an important consideration. With drop-off catering, the food is typically prepared ahead of time and dropped off at the event site. Because the food has to travel, it is not as hot when it arrives, and this can affect its quality. On the other hand, full-service catering provides meals that are often cooked on-site or held in chafers to maintain heat. This helps to ensure that the food is of a higher quality than with drop-off catering.

Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use, dropoff catering has the edge. With drop-off catering, clients order their desired food and it is delivered at the requested time. This makes the entire ordering process much simpler for the client and allows them to focus on other aspects of their event.

On the other hand, with full-service catering, the catering staff takes care of everything for the client. This includes delivering, setting up, providing servers, and breakdown. Although this can be beneficial in some cases, it can also add to the complexity of the event although it can be the better option for events that require a certain level of service or have a high number of guests in attendance. With full-service catering, clients don't have to worry as they can rely on the catering staff to make sure their event runs smoothly. Plus, with more staff members available, clients can rest assured that their guests will be served promptly and professionally.


When it comes to flexibility, both drop-off catering and full-service catering have their advantages. With drop-off catering, you have the freedom to easily change your location at the last minute. You won’t have to worry about whether or not the catering company can make it to the new spot on time because they simply drop off the food, leaving you free to arrange things as needed. Full-service catering, on the other hand, can offer flexibility in other ways. For instance, if someone in attendance has a food allergy you were unaware of, a full-service catering team may be able to help accommodate this person. While a drop-off catering service will typically be unable to offer any last-minute solutions for food allergies, a full-service provider will be able to come up with a meal tailored to the individual’s needs.

When deciding between drop off catering and full service catering for your event, it's important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of each. Drop off catering is typically more cost effective and easier to coordinate, while full service catering offers a higher quality food selection and more flexibility in terms of menu and setup. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your individual needs and budget. Whichever option you decide on, catering can add an extra special touch to any event.



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