What Are Action Stations?

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An action station or chef action station is a food station where chefs or guests perform a type of action such as cooking, mixing, adding toppings, or plating meals. Action stations are one of the hottest trends in the catering industry as they continue to replace traditional plated meals at catered events. They allow guests to customize their meals and interact with chefs as they are cooking or plating their orders.

Types Of Action Stations

Action stations allow guests to get involved in the food preparation process. However, each type of food station provides them with a different role. If you’re looking to add chef action stations to your catering package, it’s essential to understand the differences between each action food station.

Carving Stations

Carving stations allow chefs to display, cut, and serve specialty meats in front of guests. This action station provides guests with an interactive experience as they can inform chefs on how to cut their pieces of meat. Event attendees are also able to ask chefs questions about the meat displayed or for recommendations on the type of cut they should order. This increases the chances of guests enjoying the food they are served.

Chefs are typically the only people cutting meat in a carving station. They are trained professionals who understand how to cut each piece of meat and keep it warm throughout events. Many catering companies avoid having guests carve the meat themselves to prevent messes and serious accidents.

Businesses that have carving stations on their menu offer a variety of meats. Clients enjoy having a selection of meats to choose from because they likely want to offer guests multiple meat options. Below is a list of popular meats clients often request for their carving stations:

  • Beef roast
  • Flank steak
  • Ham
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Prime rib
  • Turkey breast

Chef-Centered Action Stations

In a chef-centered action station, chefs create an entire plate in front of guests. For instance, chefs in a pasta station display a variety of pasta, meats, vegetables, cheeses, and sauces guests can choose from. Each attendee lets the chef know what they’d like in their pasta and the chef prepares it in front of them. This provides guests with a unique experience as they are able to witness how professional chefs prep their pasta. The meals in chef-centered action stations are also immediately served to guests once they’re ready, ensuring meals are at the perfect temperature.

Guest-Centered Action Stations

Guest-centered action stations or self-serve action stations provide event attendees with more control as they can serve themselves. In a guest-centered action station, there are a variety of fresh ingredients displayed. For example, in a taco station, there will be tortillas, meats, vegetables, beans, and other ingredients event attendees can choose from. Guests assemble their own tacos and serve themselves as much as they’d like. Chefs monitor the station throughout the event and replenish any ingredients that run out.

What Are The Benefits Of Action Stations?

Traditional buffets and plated dinners will always have a place in the catering industry. However, the demand for action stations at social and corporate events is higher than ever. Clients are looking to provide guests with a new and interactive dining experience. Adding catering action stations to your menu provides your business with a competitive edge. Your business can increase its target audience and provide clients with the customization they’re looking for. Chef action stations also provide your clients with a number of benefits:

  • Flexible eating time: At a ham carving station or pasta station, chefs keep meals warm throughout the event. This allows guests to go up to the station and get their food whenever they want.
  • Increases interactions: Event attendees experience something new as they can watch chefs prepare and plate their food.
  • Makes meals customizable: Guests can choose the ingredients and toppings the chef uses to create their meal. This guarantees that they will enjoy their food.

Trending Action Stations

With chef action stations becoming more popular, you’ll soon have potential clients ask about the different chef action stations your company has to offer. When creating your catering action station menu, consider including multiple options for each course. That way, you can guarantee you have a station that fits the needs of your clients' events. While there are limitless options you can include in your menu, below is a list of trending food stations for catered events:

  • Omelet stations provide event attendees with numerous cheeses and toppings.
  • Salad bars showcase a variety of salads, dressings, and toppings.
  • Coal-fired pizza bars typically feature a variety of cheeses, sauces, and doughs guests can choose from.
  • Pasta stations allow guests to choose a type of pasta, sauce, and meat.
  • Taco bars feature a number of meats and toppings so guests can customize their tacos.
  • Dessert crepe stations offer guests a variety of sweet toppings to choose from.

In your action station menu, it’s important to include the types of proteins, toppings, and sauces available in each station. This will give individuals that are researching your services an idea of what you have to offer.

It’s also essential to provide your clients with the ability to customize each catering action station. They are likely looking for something specific and meeting their needs will provide your business with an edge.

Time To Add Action Stations To Your Menu!

A number of individuals hosting events are looking to have chef action stations. They appreciate that action stations provide their guests with an interactive experience as they can customize meals and watch chefs cook.

While you may be accustomed to cooking meals in your kitchen and transporting them to events, preparing meals in front of guests elevates the perceived value of your service and meals. Guests are able to watch their orders sizzle in pans and smell the fresh ingredients, providing them with a unique and stimulating experience.

When adding food stations to your chef action menu, don’t forget to include the different ingredients each station comes with. You want to show clients that each action food station will fulfill the pallets of every person at the event. It’s also important to inform clients that they can customize the stations to fit their needs. Now that you have an understanding of what action stations are, you can include them in your catering packages.

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