In the world of catering, action stations have revolutionized how we think about food service at events. Moving beyond traditional buffet lines and plated dinners, action stations offer a dynamic, interactive, and engaging dining experience. Guests are treated to fresh, made-to-order dishes prepared right before their eyes by skilled chefs.

This blog post will explore the ins and outs of action station catering, discussing their benefits, various types, and how to incorporate them effectively into different events to create a memorable experience.

Action Station

Table of Contents

What are Action Stations?
Types of Action Stations
Planning an Event with Action Stations
Action Stations for Different Events
Setting Up Action Stations
Trends in Action Stations
Final Thoughts

What are Action Stations?

Action stations, also known as live stations or interactive stations, are specific areas within an event where chefs prepare and serve food in front of guests. This setup guarantees freshness and allows for customization and interaction, enhancing the overall dining experience.


  • Engagement and Entertainment: Action stations are inherently captivating. Guests love watching chefs showcase their skills, creating a sense of anticipation and excitement.
  • Customization and Variety: These stations offer a wide array of menu options, from savory to sweet, allowing you to tailor the experience to your event’s theme. Guests can tailor their meals to their liking, accommodating personal tastes and dietary restrictions.
  • Freshness and Quality: Since food is prepared on the spot, it is served at its peak freshness and quality.
  • Variety: A wide array of stations can be offered to cater to diverse tastes, providing a multifaceted culinary experience.
  • Interactive Experience: Guests can often interact with chefs, asking questions or making special requests, adding a personal touch to their dining experience.
  • Memorable Atmosphere: The sights, sounds, and aromas of action stations create a lively and memorable atmosphere that sets your event apart.

Types of Action Stations

Carving Stations/Churrasco Stations

Carving stations are a staple at many high-end events. These stations feature roasted meats such as beef, pork, turkey, or lamb, which are carved to order by a chef. Guests can choose their preferred cuts and pair them with a selection of sauces and sides, creating a personalized plate.

An exciting and modern variation on a carving station would be a Churrasco station. This style is inspired by the traditional Brazilian Churrasco, which involves grilling a variety of meats, seafood, and vegetables, often on skewers. It adds a dynamic, engaging, and delicious element to the dining experience.

Action Station

Pasta Stations

Pasta stations offer a versatile and crowd-pleasing option. Guests can choose from various types of pasta, sauces, and toppings and watch as the chef prepares their dish. This station typically features a variety of pasta types (penne, fettuccine, spaghetti) and sauces (marinara, Alfredo, pesto), along with an assortment of vegetables, proteins, and garnishes.

Action Station

At Catering by Michaels, we take a traditional pasta station and supercharge it by adding an element of flair. We use a hollowed-out Parmesan cheese wheel, tossing the pasta inside to create the base of a delicious sauce.

Sushi Stations

Action Station

Sushi stations are an excellent choice for a more refined and visually appealing option. Skilled sushi chefs prepare fresh rolls, sashimi, and nigiri for guests, allowing them to select their favorite ingredients and styles. This station not only provides delicious food but also serves as an impressive visual attraction.

Dessert Stations

Dessert stations add a sweet finale to any event. Options can range from crepe stations, where guests choose fillings and toppings, to build-your-own sundae bars with various ice cream flavors, sauces, and toppings. These stations are a hit with guests of all ages, offering a fun and interactive way to end the meal.

Endless Possibilities

These are just a few examples of the action stations Catering by Michaels can provide to wow your guests. Other examples include a Street Taco station, a Raclette Station (where the cheese is heated and then the melted part is scraped onto plates and served with traditional sausages and bread), a Belgian waffle station, an Elote station, a Caprese station…the list goes on and on!

Action Station

Planning an Event with Action Stations

Choosing the Right Stations

The first step in planning an event with action stations is selecting the right stations to match the occasion and the guests’ preferences. Consider the type of event, the theme, and the attendees’ dietary needs. For instance, a wedding might benefit from a mix of carving, pasta, and dessert stations, while a corporate event might focus more on lighter options like sushi and salad stations.

Menu Customization

One of the main advantages of action stations is the ability to customize the menu. Our Event Coordinators work closely with you to design a menu that offers variety and caters to different tastes. This may involve selecting specific ingredients, sauces, and sides that complement each station.

Action Station

Guest Engagement

To maximize guest engagement, ensure that the stations are strategically placed throughout the venue. This encourages guests to explore different areas and interact with the chefs. We provide clear signage and menu descriptions to help guests navigate the stations and make informed choices.

Action Stations for Different Events


Weddings celebrate love and unity, and the catering should reflect this joyous occasion. Action stations can add a touch of elegance and fun to the reception. Carving stations offer hearty options, while pasta and sushi stations provide variety. Dessert stations can add a playful, sweet element.

Corporate Events

Corporate events often aim to impress clients, partners, and employees. Action stations can provide a sophisticated and interactive dining experience. Sushi stations, gourmet sliders, and seafood stations can add elegance. Additionally, salad and pasta stations can cater to diverse dietary preferences.

Private Parties

Private parties, whether birthdays, anniversaries, or casual get-togethers, can benefit greatly from the versatility of action stations. A mix of stations, such as taco bars, BBQ stations, and dessert stations, can cater to all age groups and tastes, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable experience for all guests.

Setting Up and Executing Action Stations

Logistics and Equipment

Setting up action stations requires careful planning and coordination. Because we are experienced in crafting action stations, we know how to work with a venue to accommodate the stations. We provide all the necessary equipment, such as grills, burners, displays, and signage.

Action Station

Staffing and Training

Trained and professional staff are crucial for the success of action stations. Our chefs and attendants are skilled in preparing the dishes quickly and efficiently while maintaining high standards of hygiene and presentation. A hallmark of a Catering by Michaels action station is customer interaction, ensuring your guests feel welcomed and engaged.

Real-Time Coordination

Real-time coordination is essential to ensure that all stations operate smoothly. This involves managing the flow of guests, ensuring that food supplies are replenished, and addressing any issues that may arise. Our chefs and dedicated event coordinators can help streamline this process and ensure a seamless experience for guests.

Trends in Action Station Catering

Interactive Culinary Experiences

The trend towards interactive culinary experiences is growing. Guests enjoy watching their food being prepared and having the opportunity to interact with chefs. This trend is likely to continue as more people seek unique and engaging dining experiences.

Action Station

Fusion Cuisine

Fusion cuisine, which combines elements from different culinary traditions, is becoming increasingly popular at action stations. This allows for creative and innovative dishes that can cater to diverse tastes. For example, a taco station might offer traditional Mexican fillings alongside Asian-inspired options like Korean BBQ or teriyaki chicken.


Sustainability is a growing concern in the catering industry. We focus on sourcing local, organic, and sustainable ingredients. Action stations can support this trend by showcasing fresh, locally sourced produce and minimizing food waste through made-to-order preparation.

Action Station

Final Thoughts

Action stations offer a dynamic and engaging alternative to traditional catering methods. They provide a unique combination of fresh, customized dishes and interactive culinary experiences.

Whether planning a wedding, corporate event, or private party, action stations can elevate the dining experience, making it memorable and enjoyable for all guests.

By carefully selecting the right stations, customizing the menu, and ensuring seamless execution, we can create an unforgettable culinary journey for your guests.

Action stations have transformed how we approach event dining by prioritizing freshness, customization, and guest engagement while creating a unique and memorable experience that guests will talk about long after the event. They provide an interactive and dynamic dining experience that stands out from the rest.

As trends continue to evolve, action stations offering innovative and sustainable dining solutions will likely remain popular.