Caterers in Manchester

Caterers in Manchester

Caterers in Manchester

Having been undertaking catering since 2006, Thyme Outside is one of the most established caterers in Manchester.

Since we first began outside catering, we have tried to stick to a number of key principles. These revolve around fresh, quality ingredients, homemade dishes, flexibility in menu choice and a high standard of presentation.

Sticking to these principles as we have grown our catering operation has remained at the heart of what we do. That is why many large companies in Manchester choose us for their catering and why we are trusted by individuals to deliver outstanding catering for weddings and private events.

This page goes into a bit more detail about Thyme Outside’s approach to catering and food preparation generally, along with looking at some of the different styles of catering we offer and the clients we provide them for.

Thyme Outside Caterers in Manchester – Our Formula

When you’re looking for caterers in Manchester, there are a number of things you probably look out for. You’ll want to know that the food that you would receive tastes good, is presented well and that quality ingredients are used in its preparation.

It’s no coincidence that we know what our customers want and actually, it so happens that those things align perfectly with our ethos and attitude to catering. 

After all, underpinning everything we do is a real and genuine love for food. Wherever possible, we try to source ingredients for our dishes from local suppliers. For example, our meats are sourced from Frost Butchers in Chorlton and our fruit and vegetables are delivered daily from the local market. We believe that good ingredients make for great food and we have taken time over the years to get to know where the best of everything comes from.

The second part of producing great food is to have chefs that are passionate about food preparing it. From sandwiches to dinner party dishes, our team know the secrets of producing great food. As Thyme Outside is owned by a trained chef, everything has to meet exacting standards and the chefs working for us have been selected due to their abilities to create dishes that deliver on taste and flavour.

Thirdly, we always try and go a step above expectations when it comes to the presentation of dishes. People eat with their eyes and first rate presentation is something we always strive to achieve. For example, buffets are served on ceramic platters rather than plastic trays and nothing leaves the kitchen without having been garnished!  These may only seem like small things but actually we believe they really count.

Menus and Choices

Trying to choose the menu for an event can be a challenge. We know that our clients want the food to stand out for all the right reasons and that it why we have a dedicated team to put together quotes and ensure you are happy with every last detail.

Here are some tips on making menu selections for different types of catered events.

Corporate Catering

Corporate catering can come in many forms and the food you would want for different types of events would vary greatly. Budget can be an important consideration, as can creating the right impression.

One of the most regular requests we receive from our corporate clients is catering for working lunch or breakfast meetings. If it is a business lunch you are catering for, you will have quite a wide variety of options to choose from, although cold buffet style food is often preferred. For breakfasts, we can supply teas and coffees along with both hot and cold breakfast options – from the usual bacon and sausage sandwiches to lighter options including granola pots and fruit skewers. On occasion we are even asked by clients to cook on the premises for such events, to ensure the hot selections on offer are optimum temperature for the attendees. This is something we are happy to include as part of our quote.

As a general consideration, if the attendees will be standing up rather than sitting down to eat, you will probably want to choose options that can be easily picked up with one hand.

Don’t forget that you will want to have options for attendees with dietary requirements. You should always have a vegetarian option or two, and you may also wish to consider gluten free options.

Corporate catering doesn’t stop at sandwiches though – in fact far from it. We have been asked to provide food for many types of corporate function – including networking events, staff parties and business milestone celebrations. We also have a number of production company clients that require meals for staff and participants in photo shoots.

Something fun that we have done on numerous occasions is food for promotional events for large brands and retailers. The menu requirements for each will vary, but to give a flavour, we have provided healthy themed bowl food for a major sportswear brand, colour themed canapes for a major denim brand and child friendly snacks for the Disney Store. For each of these events we have also provided serving staff to ensure the events run smoothly and guests can all enjoy the food and drink on offer.

No matter what your requirements and no matter the events, Thyme Outside is happy to discuss your event with you and how we can make it work.

Wedding Catering

Choosing the food for your wedding can be a tall order. You want to have food that you both really love but at the same time, you will usually have many guests of different ages and generations to consider. Additionally, budget can add in restrictions on what is and isn’t achievable and you will want the food to reflect the style of wedding you are trying to create.

Sometimes the setting for a wedding will automatically lend itself to a certain style of catering. For example, if your wedding is in a countryside location, perhaps in a marquee or a tepee, picnic baskets can be a great choice. Barbeques also really suit these types of weddings, as do pizzas from our wood fired pizza ovens.

If a wedding is indoors, there are many different styles of food you could opt for. Mezze and tapas sharing platters can be an ideal option to suit all tastes. We have also done a few weddings whereby we’ve served mouth-watering joints of meat – one per table – accompanied by all the trimmings.

The traditional three course sit down meal hasn’t disappeared though and this is still quite a popular choice. Nowadays, menu choices perhaps have a slightly more novel and interesting twist – which we absolutely love. 

We don’t believe in being prescriptive when it comes to catering menus and the vast majority of our weddings are all different; with the menu for each one having being put together especially for the couple. What’s great nowadays is that anything goes at weddings. Food can be as inventive, creative or traditional as our clients want it to be – which always keeps us on our toes and gives us something to think about!

The most important thing when planning a wedding is that you are happy with the selections you have made. We would always advise that you put your own preferences first – before thinking of any of your other guests. After all, we can provide alternative options when opting for a sit down meal, or if you are going for a buffet, barbeque or tapas style, it is likely that there will be something guests can find to eat. Having said this, we would always try to suggest options as a second choice that would meet dietary requirements – such as having a vegetarian option.

Private Event Catering

Depending on the nature of the event you are holding, there will different options we would recommend you consider. If you are holding a party, you will want the food to be celebratory too. If it’s a summer garden party, you could opt for a canapes followed by a buffet of plenty of fresh food and salads, or perhaps a barbeque would be more suitable – with stacked burgers and charred skewers.

If the event is taking place in the winter, hot food will usually work really well. From curries to hotpot, fish pie to chilli, we can set up hot food to be served buffet style for guests to come up and make their selections. For this option we would usually recommend having Thyme Outside staff on hand to serve guests.

Not all events have a happy background and it could be that you are catering for guests attending a funeral. Guests often travel from far and wide to attend funerals and as such, you will want to provide a good selection of food. A cold buffet, including sandwiches, pastry options and salads can be a good choice. You may also want to provide a selection of cakes, along with teas and coffees.

Thyme Outside also offers private dining catering for dinner parties held at home. We have a selection of menus created specifically for this purpose, although as always, we are happy to adapt these to create a menu tailored to your tastes.

Current Catering Trends

As one of the leading caterers in Manchester we are asked to cater for all sorts of events and as such, we have an eye firmly on the current food trends.

One of the major trends, especially in wedding catering, is sharing style food. For many, the thought of a formal sit down meal, three courses followed by coffee, simply doesn’t fit with their day. Tapas style food, served in many small dishes to the table for everyone to pass around and sample is much more fun and is therefore proving really popular with brides and grooms. Other alternatives along the same theme include mezze platters, or we have even done British tapas menus for clients who really want to celebrate the best of British cuisine.

Wood fired pizzas are big news on the food scene and having fresh pizzas served straight out the oven is a great crowd-pleasing option. Thyme Outside has three wood fired pizza ovens that we have taken to many different types of events, including weddings and birthday celebrations. Unlike many other wood fired pizza oven hire companies, Thyme Outside has the advantage of being able to offer a full catering package – meaning we can provide sides such as salads to accompany pizzas, or a full bar with serving staff.

Although canapes remain an ever popular choice for events, there is currently a leaning towards slightly more substantial mini dishes in the form of bowl food. Generally served hot, bowl food is mini portions of all-time favourites, served in individual bowls with a spoon or fork.  Bowl food is a great option for corporate events where you don’t want guests to have to queue up for food at a buffet but want to retain the informality and avoid a sit down dinner.

For inspiration on different types of food, visit our Instagram gallery and our blog.

More than just Food…

When it comes to putting on an event, we appreciate that there are many logistical arrangements to be made, of which the food is just one. In order to assist, Thyme Outside can provide staff to serve food and can even arrange for a full bar and trained bar staff for events.

Additionally, we can arrange many of the other aspects associated with food service, including plate and crockery hire, cutlery hire and glassware.

Depending on the facilities already in place at a venue, it may be necessary to bring in equipment to allow food to be prepared, heated or presented. We will always try to conduct a site visit if it is a venue we have not worked at before and any equipment that is required will be costed for in your quote.

Thyme Outside have a ‘leave a place as you found it policy’ and wherever possible, will take away any rubbish resulting from an event, or else leave it tidied away in an agreed place. Thyme Outside staff will always clean the area we have used before leaving the venue.


Over the years we have catered at thousands of events and have amassed many loyal customers. We love to get comments about the catering we have provided. Here are just a few to give a flavour…

“Many thanks to you and your team, despite all the logistical challenges. The food was amazing and everyone  commented on how good it was. Not only that, but also how professional your team looked and how friendly they were. From day one your calm and open approach was really reassuring - not that the bride was ever tense at all!!” Neil & Gaynor.

“Many thanks for hosting my baby shower. The food and service was great- especially the giant portions of cake.” Helen.

“Thank you for making our 25th wedding anniversary so special. Everyone loved the canapés. All your business cards we snapped up!” Michael & Alison.

Contact Thyme Outside, Caterers in Manchester

To discuss your requirements with us further, please contact us today. We have dedicated staff members ready to take your enquiry and put together a quote for your event. Please take a look at our menus, listed under the different headings of weddings, corporate and private. These will give you an idea of what we can do, but if you have anything you would like to discuss, please do get in touch.