Catering By The Family (CBTF) is proud to be a culinary leader in the Tampa Bay region for more than 40 years. As we enter 2020, we’re seeing even more interest in fresh, sustainable, and local ingredients and a shift from traditional dining events for a more hands-on, interactive experience. This year, your guests won’t be content with standard catered fare – they want an Instagrammable meal that tastes amazing AND tells a story. With these top 10 catering trends for 2020, your next event will be a showstopper:

1. Less Scheduled and More Interactive Dining

Formal sit-down dinners and buffets are not the only dining options for 2020! Food stations offer continuous service for guests – with no breaks between courses – and more options for personalization for their specific preferences. These stations also allow for easy guest interaction and flow throughout your event. CBTF has a wide array of stations to create a flexible (and delicious) dining experience for your guests!

2. Grazing Tables

Like charcuterie boards on steroids, grazing tables are revolutionizing the buffet concept. These lavish tablescapes are filled with specially curated and artfully arranged meats, cheeses, breads, fresh fruit and vegetables, appetizers, salads, and even main dishes. At CBTF, our chef Steven Gonzalez Jr. cultivated his love for charcuterie, while working in New Orleans where he was the Lead Apprentice for Michelin Starred French Master Chef Rene Bajeux. Our chef-driven take on grazing tables will be sure to impress your guests!

3. Add Color

Colorful and bright menus are in for 2020! Our chefs love to create with unique ways to infuse color into food to match an event’s signature theme. Consider the reds and greens of Seared Ahi Tuna served with Wasabi Crème Fraiche for cocktail hour. Or, just think of the ways that Classic Blue, the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year, could be incorporated into both food and décor! We think a fresh blueberry tart is in order!

4. ‘Gram-worthy

Sharing food pictures on Instagram continues to be popular, so the food at your 2020 event needs to be picture-perfect. Our culinary team creates dozens of custom chef-driven menus each week, providing flavorful meals that are as impressive to the eyes as they are satisfying to taste. We believe in the power of presentation and know from experience that nothing leaves a more memorable impression than a meal that delights and impresses your guests (and their followers). And, knowing that they’ll be posting to the ‘gram, we recommend having creative hashtags on display for guests to use!

5. Allergy- and Diet-Accommodating Menus

Did you know that six out of ten Americans have dietary restrictions? People are prioritizing their health – even at special events – and the need for more inclusive menus is on the rise. Thoughtful food choices that minimize common allergens, like peanuts, and offer options for guests with restricted diets, such as vegan-friendly, gluten-free, or dairy-free, are a must for parties in 2020. Whole foods, including fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, edamame, and flavored popcorn, also make healthy additions to the grazing table or appetizer station.

6. Regional Flavors

Family owned and operated, CBTF is deeply rooted in Tampa Bay, and we love to celebrate our culture through food. We believe that your guests aren’t just craving amazing flavors, but they want a taste of the local specialties. That’s just one of the reasons that we’ve kept our menus full of regional favorites, like Tampa Tenderloin or Mojo Roast Pork, and signature items like our Cuban “Cigars” Spring Rolls, Mini Deviled Crab, and Cuban Sandwiches! Expect more inventive and updated twists on local flavors in 2020!

7. Sustainability

Reducing food waste and single-use plastic continues to be a priority. At CBTF, we consider every part of our food preparation, from sourcing and preparation to presentation and waste. We use seasonal and local ingredients to take advantage of Florida’s bounty and to maximize cost efficiency for our clients. As a nonpolluting business, we limit our environmental footprint by recycling all cardboard. We train our staff to properly dispose of garbage and waste at all venues, but especially when we cater outdoors. Our goal is to minimize waste and to do our part to create a greener future!

8. Plant-Based Options

Another way to go green is to offer more plant-based menu options! In addition to a wide variety of fresh salads, CBTF includes “Garden Choices” on our menus that are vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Some of our favorite bites include the Roasted Vegan Brussels, served in mini waffle cones, and the Charred Beet Hummus Bites.

9. Alcohol-Free Drinks

Non-alcoholic cocktails (also commonly known as “mocktails”) will be bar favorites in 2020, offering a drink option for everyone. With intriguing flavors and all of the artisanship of a traditional cocktail, there are no reasons not to go zero proof!

10. Late Night Snacks

Late night snacks aren’t new, but they are getting more inspired and sophisticated in 2020! Move over pizza and cookies, these snacks are one more opportunity to impress the crowd. At a wedding, the snack might reflect the happy couple’s favorite comfort foods, like CBTF’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese Station, or reflect their favorite places, like our Southern-inspired Chicken and Waffle station. We recommend placing your snacks close to the dance floor for easy access!

Utilizing these top trends will ensure your next
catered event won’t just be a meal – it will be an opportunity to connect with
friends and family, to share an incredible experience, and, most importantly, to
make memories. Which of these trends is giving you food for thought?

If you’re planning a 2020 event, give us a call at
813-875-2000 today for more chef-driven ideas!