Craft Services Table Packages: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right One for Your Production
For many production teams, the craft services table is the heart of the film set.
More than just a place to stock up on snacks, the craft services table is often where people can connect and communicate when not on-screen. Producers chat with talent, extras share tips, and everyone has an opportunity to network, relax, and unwind.
A craft services table can also be a vital tool for keeping everyone nourished and healthy on a chaotic production site. Since filming often takes place around the clock, passing through normal meal-times, people need a place where they can safely re-fuel, or there’s a risk morale can drop.
So, how do you create the ultimate craft services table?
Here’s everything you need to know to get started.
Step 1: Creating a Budget for Craft Services
Food might be a necessity in any industry, but all organizations have a budget they need to consider. The key to getting your craft services strategy perfected is knowing how to maximize value by purchasing the right number of high-quality nibbles, snacks, and entrees.
There are a few things worth considering when planning your budget, starting with the kind of event you’re hosting. At a concert, for instance, artists and producers are more likely to want light snacks they can grab in between sets. On a feature film or television set, you might be able to experiment with more filling food to help everyone maintain their energy during breaks. At a photoshoot, it’s a good idea to stay away from any messy food or beverages which could lead to stains.
Other points to consider include:
- The number of people: How many people are going to be eating the food throughout the event, and how long are they going to be on set? Determining a per-person budget is a great way to ensure everyone gets the sustenance they need.
- Types of food: The food you choose for special events, such as launch days or celebrations at the end of shooting, might be a little more luxurious than your day-to-day craft table snacks. From mid-morning snacks, including healthy options and organic selections, to a hot meal at the end of the day, think about the kind of fare you want to deliver.
- Crucial extras: Alongside standard food and snacks, it’s important to make sure everyone has access to plenty of water and other refreshments. Determine whether you’ll need any accessories to go alongside your feast, such as napkins and cutlery.
Step 2: Finding your Caterer
Once you have your budget, the next step is choosing the company responsible for preparing your food. Unless you have an in-house kitchen and a full team of chefs on hand, you’re going to need support from a professional production catering company. Since you’ll need your refreshments delivered quickly, it’s best to look for a local company in your specific area.
When searching for the right catering service, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions ready to ask anyone you might want to short-list. Such as:
- Do you provide equipment and supplies? What will we need to provide ourselves?
- How quickly can you deliver our food, and how much notice do you need?
- Can you accommodate any special requests or dietary restrictions?
- Do you have experience in craft service or the production landscape?
- How is the food prepared, and is the packaging eco-friendly?
- Do you have any reviews or references from previous clients you can share?
- What does your cancellation policy entail?
Step 3: Defining Your Craft Services Menu
While different types of catering companies can often specialize in specific meals and cuisine options, most will give you a variety of products to choose from. This means it’s up to you to decide exactly what you’re going to need from your vendor.
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for choosing the right menu, but there are a few things you can consider to help you make the right choice. The most important factors to consider include:
The Time of Day:
When are people going to be using your craft services table? The types of foods people will expect to see at breakfast time will differ from the meals they’ll want at lunch and dinner. If you’re going to be on the production set all day, you might want to choose a range of different types of fare, from a continental breakfast with fresh fruit and baked goods to mini pastries for lunch.
Consider experimenting with a variety of hot and cold dishes, or think about different styles of food, from regional cuisine to sweet and savory treats and vegetarian or non-vegetarian options.
It’s always important to consider the special requirements and dietary needs of your crew members and other staff when you’re catering for a large group. Make sure you ask everyone in your workforce whether they have any specific allergies or requirements you need to share when you contact your drop off catering company.
Asking about dietary restrictions in advance will ensure you can convey your needs properly to your catering provider, so they can minimize any risks and ensure everyone is well-fed.
Don’t forget about the drinks! Specialist drinks might not be necessary for a craft service table, but you’ll still need to ensure there are plenty of fresh bottles of water available at the least. It’s also a good idea to offer a range of juices, tea, and coffee options for those who want them.
If you have any specialist members of staff you really want to treat like a VIP, consider asking them if they have any favorite drinks that they want you to source.
Step 4: Nailing the Presentation
Now that you’ve chosen the perfect menu, all that’s left to do is lay your feast out in the most appetizing way possible. The good news is if you work with a reputable catering service company, they should do most of the hard work for you. Experts like Marbled LA prepare all of your food and snacks to perfection, then package them so they’re ready to be dished out with minimal fuss.
Of course, you can always take extra steps to make sure your craft services table leaves a lasting impression. Here are some quick tips to get you on the right track:
- Keep the table clean and organized: Sort foods into different categories, such as sweet and savory, vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, or even foods for different times of day.
- Label everything: Make sure your people know what they’re eating by including labels in front of or around the trays. This should help to avoid any mishaps.
- Make it easy to navigate: Keep the area around the table clean, and make sure people can quickly grab food without knocking anything over.
When working with a caterer, feel free to inquire about staffing for your craft services table. Many of Marbled LA’s clients opt to choose a package that offers accompanying staff; they are there to help keep the craft services section remain stocked, clean, and maintained.
Step 5: Get Feedback
Finally, feedback can be extremely helpful when you want to ensure your future craft services tables are as impressive as possible. In addition to asking the people in your team what they want before you make your order, it’s worth asking them afterward what they liked and disliked too.
If you don’t think you have time to connect with everyone individually, you could always consider leaving out a comment box or providing a survey online for people to fill in. Alternatively, just send out a mass email asking people to check the boxes of the food items they’d like to order again and which they would prefer to avoid.
Sharing the feedback you receive with your caterer can be helpful too. Most catering companies love receiving constructive thoughts and comments they can use to enhance their services.
Choose the Ideal Craft Services Table Package
A craft services table can be one of the most important resources on a production set. Making sure you create the right one not only keeps everyone in the team happy, but it can also improve overall performance, productivity, and morale.
If you need help cultivating the ultimate fare for your craft services table, work with an expert that knows the industry. Contact the team at Marbled LA today to see how we can help delight and nourish your crew, or Request a quote online today!Request Your Catering Quote Today