If you’re planning your next special occasion or event, you might be wondering how to make it memorable.
What will set the tone and give you that extra boost? How can you create an atmosphere that is fun, exciting, and welcoming?
The answer may lie in the food you serve at your event. When choosing a catering company to cater your next event or doing it yourself, there are several factors that you should consider.
Some of these include price, quality and service (if you out-source the catering)
If you want to ensure that you get exactly what you need when it comes to catering, then you should consider using one of the best caterers in town.
There are many creative and smart ways to go about this, but here are some great catering food ideas for birthday parties that you cannot go wrong with!
Indoor Children’s Play and Party Venue
Indoor play centres for kids often contain beautifully styled party rooms that offer the perfect environment to host your very important person’s birthday party.
Bookings will generally be for a 2-hour period, and the party will see the birthday child having a wonderful time playing in the venue’s adventure land with their closest friends.
These children’s party venues are generally fully air-conditioned, with jumping castles, slides, ball-pits and separate toddler play areas, to keep the kids entertained.
The fun continues when their venue host serves the children scrumptious birthday treats in a themed party room – for example, one venue we know (Little Feet Cafe – Engadine, Sydney) promotes that the children can choose between dining on a space adventure, in the secret garden, at a carnival, under the sea, with pirates or even fairies… or for those who like to keep it simple, how about in our beautiful Happy Birthday room?
Be sure to ask, as some venues will allow you self-cater your party group.
Most centres will also cater for adults, at reserved tables in the venue cafe, where you (and the parents of your guests), can enjoy time away from the curated bedlam of the birthday party with excellent coffee and ‘grown-up’ food.
Food trucks have become a popular way of serving delicious and affordable eats in the city.
Most food truck owners will cater for your party with their menu items. They can also provide you with a full-service setup, including tableware and decorations.
You can read our detailed post on Food Trucks and Catering Vans here.
If you want to host an outdoor party, then consider renting or purchasing tables and chairs from a restaurant supply store like Costco.
You can choose to rent or buy, depending on whether you can see these types of events being a regular occurrence. If you like to entertain or have a large family (and live in a temperate and forgiving climate) then buying will generally work out cheaper in the long run.
Check our list of some of the most Popular Catering Dishes
If you are having a barbecue at home, you can purchase a variety of side dishes that would be perfect for a party.
These include potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, macaroni salad, cornbread, rolls, etc.
Ever considered running a Spit Roast for an event?
Ice Cream Truck
Who didn’t chase after an ice cream truck when he was a kid, or at least wished they were one of the kids in those movies enjoying their fresh ice cream on a hot summer day?
We all know that everyone loves ice cream, so an ice cream truck is another great option for a fun party that will satisfy all palates.
This type of catering food idea is also very inexpensive, making it the no.1 option to go for if you are on a budget.
All you need to do is hire one.
Is keeping to a budget important for you? Our post on Catering For 100 Guests On A Budget is for you.
Hot Dog Cart
Speaking of inexpensive ideas, you can also easily set up a hot dog cart for your party.
Just make sure that it has enough seating so that everyone can enjoy themselves and enough hot dogs for those asking for a second one.
Not sure how much food you’ll need? Check out our article on Simple Ways To Calculate Finger Food Quantities
A pop-up tent is another idea to consider if you want to serve food outside but don’t want to spend too much money.
It is usually pretty easy to put together and can be used again and again.
As for the food, you can ask for all kinds of finger foods or go with simpler things like popcorn and caramelised apples just like in a fun park.
Here are some Finger Food Platter Ideas
Picnic tables are ideal for parties because they allow guests to eat outdoors while still being able to socialise.
If you are looking for cheap catering food ideas for birthday parties, this may be the best choice as picnic foods are always homemade and store-bought, which means that you can ask for simple plates with fruit and fun things like fairy bread.
Make sure you bring some wine or Prosecco (for the adults) to celebrate the sunny weather… and your birthday.
Are you organising a baby shower? Check out our Catering Food Ideas For Baby Showers
Dessert bars are becoming more and more common these days.
They offer a wide range of sweet treats that people love; from cupcakes to pies, brownies, and cakes, the list is endless.
This is especially popular if you aren’t keen on a traditional birthday cake.
Are you gluten intolerant? Take a look at our Best Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes
Cake stands are a great addition to any party. Guests can help themselves to cake and other desserts without worrying about making a mess.
You can also spread them around the room, so people won’t have to queue in line as they would do in front of a buffet.
We’ve got some fantastic Festival Catering Food Ideas.
Candy bars are always a hit at any party. Make sure that you keep plenty of candy on hand and perhaps consider including some fun games.
An animal-shaped piñata filled with candy that you can try and break as part of the celebration will make candy-eating a much more fun experience that everyone will remember.
And whilst we’re on a Mexican theme with pinatas, why not take a peak at our Mexican Catering Food Ideas
Cookies & Brownies
Cookies and brownies are a classic combination and an obvious inclusion in out rundown of catering food ideas for birthday parties. They go well with almost anything, especially coffee or tea.
So if your guests are a bit older or you are, for example, throwing a birthday party for your mum and grandmother, this is a great idea to please all the guests.
Cupcakes are another favourite dessert among kids and grown-ups alike.
They come in all different flavours and sizes, and you can add all kinds of frosting and sprinkles to them.
While you can have simple vanilla cupcakes if you prefer, this is your chance to use your imagination and go all out.
Has organising the Christmas Party fallen to you this year? See our Catering Food Ideas For Christmas Parties.
Fruit platters are a great option for a summer party. People can pick out fruit that they like and take it back to their seats.
Fruits are very refreshing and light on the stomach, so you won’t get people stuffed and unable to move when it’s time to really party and dance.
In addition to that, you can always turn them into sorbets and snowballs or even add them to the cocktails that you have coming up.
Worried about Keeping Food Cold? See our tips.
Watermelon coolers are a great way to get children involved in planning the party as children can choose what goes into the cooler and even design the labels.
So, if you are throwing a party for your kid or getting families together for your birthday, this is a great way to keep them busy while you spend some time with your friends.
More interested in adult drinks? Check out our Easy Cocktail Recipes
If you’re a Joey Tribbiani (Friends), then there’s only one way to go: sandwiches.
They are portable and easy to prepare. Moreover, you can add anything you want and offer a variation of them.
They can be savoury, sweet, spicy, or even inspired by your favourite sandwich shop.
Thinking of launching a catering business? First read our piece Is A Catering Business A Good Idea?
Snacks are a smart and cheap way to feed hungry guests who aren’t eating a lot during the party.
Some finger food and crisps are all you need to set the tables ready, but don’t hesitate to bring some tapas into the game. They are perfect for light eaters and so easy to make.
As for the crisps, just get one of each flavour and you’re the best party host ever!
Here are some more Finger Food Catering Ideas
Cheese boards never get old.
They are also a nice alternative to chips and crackers, so if you don’t want something that simple, ask for a nice cheese selection to accompany the snacks.
If you are from France, Spain, Italy or literally any other country that has distinct local cheese, you can have your own thematic “Flavours of my Country” party with your country’s cheese selection.
Remember to take a photo of that and say cheese!
On the hunt for a good Vegan Cheese? Click here.
Vegetables are another way to fill up plates quickly.
There are many different types of vegetables that you can use and, while not all of them are great for a party – you don’t want that broccoli stuck between your teeth – the ones like carrots will go great with some hummus and onion and chive dips.
Check out our list of Cheap Catering Food Ideas
Another healthy solution is to get some big salad bowls for your party. Salads are very filling and the delicious thing is that they do not have to be boring.
Don’t just get a plain salad with greens.
Instead, have some salad with salmon, a Greek salad with pittas on the side, a Caesar’s, a hot salad with carrots, feta, and pomegranate seeds.
There are so many options here and your caterer will definitely give you the best ones.
We tackle the question: How Much Food Do I Need For A Party?
Finally, if this is a grown-up party or that of your son who’s just turned 18, punch bowls are a great way to entertain large groups of people.
They are easy to clean and look beautiful when filled with punch. You can always make them alcohol-free, but this is not the time to do that!
Catering food ideas for birthday parties is not hard to come by.
You can find many online and in magazines that offer great catering tips, but the best way to get inspired is to look at what other people have done and see what works best for you and your guests.
The party food ideas in this article are made to please a crowd and your caterer will second that. So keep them in mind and make your next party memorable.