Craft services, sometimes called “crafty” in the business of corporate and event catering, refer to the items you eat when you’re on a television or film set. From breakfast to dinner and all the snacks in between — it’s widely agreed that a happy and well-fed crew works harder!
Typically, a craft services table sits away from the hustle and bustle of the set and is a place for the crew to congregate and connect. During a long day of hard work, a warm meal or a bite of something sweet is greatly appreciated.
Creating a craft services menu might feel a little overwhelming at first if you’re dealing with a crowd who has different tastes and dietary restrictions (and many do).
Luckily, if you’re looking for tricks on how to prep an impressive craft services table with little stress, the Eco Caters team has put together our top tips to help you easily get great food on the table to fuel your crew. From snack inspiration to budget-friendly crew meals, here’s a craft services checklist to get you going!
7 Tips For Craft Services
Here are a handful of our top tips for a successful craft services menu.
Keeping a crew happy has a lot to do with getting them excited about mealtime. If a crew has had a long morning, there’s nothing to lift their spirit quite like a creative lunch. Think of hot meals like a taco bar, then take it a step further and think about how you can make it extra special. Maybe you whip up a big batch of strawberry guacamole for something different or put a little bit of love into homemade tortillas. Keep things simple, yet elevated and creative.
Buy in Bulk
If you’re putting together your own craft services table, buying in bulk can make things a lot easier to plan and help with the budget, too. You can buy everything from pasta sauce to canned beans in bulk, and trust us — you’ll go through it all when you’re feeding a big crew!
It’s a good idea to have a back stock of items, as it can be hard to determine exactly what crafty items will run out first. Some crews might lean towards the sweet options, like a square of dark chocolate in the afternoon for a pick-me-up. Others might love something salty as a snack, like a package of pretzels or a handful of roasted almonds. When you’re well-stocked, you’re ready!
It’s always good to contact a crew beforehand and get a list of allergies and dietary requests. Some crew members might opt out of dairy or gluten. Some might be highly allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients. If you request the information before the filming production actually begins, you’ll be a step ahead.
One of the most important parts of meal planning, especially when you’re serving a large crowd or crew, is prepping. Craft service tends to take place early in the morning and late into the night, which means that the more prep you have done, the better! Start making your quiche or homemade salsa the night before. Get your fruit prepped and ready. Pack the car ahead of time and make a to-do list to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything important.
Think of Non-Edibles
Another component that often goes unnoticed when creating a craft services checklist are the non-edible items. Crews love when craft service teams are prepared with everything from pens to hole punches to paper clips that make their tasks throughout the day just a little bit easier. Highlighters and colorful markers tend to be appreciated, too!
Keep it Nutritious
It used to be common on film sets for people to tear through junk food, sugary candy and soda. Today, not only do crews have a deeper appreciation for sustainability efforts in the workplace, but they also tend to lean towards being more health conscious. A sugar crash midway through the day is never a good thing (especially because being on set is physically demanding). Think of sustainable ingredients like superfoods and proteins, the kind that gives you a boost and keeps you going.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It will kickstart the crew’s workday and get them feeling energized for the hours of work ahead. When it comes to breakfast, think of items that are easy to prep, hearty and wholesome.
- Bagels and cream cheese
- Apples & bananas (can be kept for a snack throughout the day)
- Croissants and jam
- Waffle bar with fresh berries
- Granola and yogurt
- Breakfast potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
- Bacon and sausage
- Breakfast sandwiches
- Oatmeal bar
- Assorted quiche
- Breakfast burritos
- French toast
- Sliced cheeses and meats
- Coffee, cream, and sugar
- Fruit juice
Lunch offers a midday break and gives the crew a chance to relax and recharge. It’s important to create and serve dishes that won’t weigh people down and make them lethargic — but also will give them a boost to tackle the remainder of the day ahead.
- Fresh homemade soup (like clam chowder and lentil soup)
- Chicken and beef burritos
- Pasta and bolognese sauce
- Grass-fed burgers and black bean burgers
- Tamales with salsa verde
- Chicken and quinoa
- Jerk chicken and Caribbean fried rice
- Salad bar with a selection of meats and proteins
- Pad Thai with chicken
- Vegetarian and meat chili with cornbread
Lunch and dinner items can often be interchangeable, and they’re each equally as important. At the end of a long day, a delicious dinner is crucial (especially if crew members will be working late into the night). Keep dinner hearty, warm and special.
- Roasted chicken and veggies
- Taco bar with homemade salsas
- Asian stir fry
- Eggplant parmesan
- Chicken masala
- Braised beef brisket
- Lime cilantro chicken breast
- Grilled salmon
- Meat and veggie lasagna
- Meatloaf and mashed potatoes
Of course, one of the key parts of any successful craft services menu is the snacks! There will always be crew members on the lookout for a chocolate chip cookie or a slice of pizza, so keep things fresh and homemade (when possible).
- Fresh fruit
- Chocolate covered almonds
- Trail mix
- Cheese and crackers
- Assorted chips
- Coffee, tea, water, fruit juice
- Granola bars
- String cheese
If you’re putting together a craft services table and looking for some inspiration, we hope this article has helped guide you in the right direction.
When you need an extra hand, Eco Caters is happy to help and offers lunch catering and craft services in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. Whether it’s a film set or an office, we’ll work with you to come up with the best option for you and your team.
Contact us today to customize your organic catering menu and keep your crew happy and well fed!