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Creative Plating Ideas: Small Plate Catering


Caterers often use disposable small plates for serving appetizer, dessert, and snack-sized dishes. However, doing so creates an on-going expense and doesn’t always deliver in the durability and aesthetics departments. 

Reusable small plates made from melamine, plastic, and metal not only create high-end presentations, they significantly reduce the year-over-year cost operators must budget for due to low replacement rates. Additionally, each of these materials are sturdy and won’t fall or fold in on your guests. 

Some caterers may even be able to charge more for their services due to upgraded presentations. Reusable small plates may very well translate into saving money while simultaneously pulling in higher-priced events. 

Pictured (left to right): G.E.T. products B-129-RSP,  SW-1430-1-CL,  ML-257-BK,  SW-1408-1-CL,  PP-44-W,  6026-F

To help caterers visualize beautiful small plate presentations, we’ve curated a photo book of small plate-inspired ideas featuring reusable materials like melamine, plastic, and metal, to light the inspirational fire.

For folks who may not be ready to switch to reusable materials, don’t worry. We didn’t leave you hanging. See the last couple entries here for some small plate ideas featuring gorgeous disposable products that are also sturdy and environmentally-friendly.

Scroll through and tell us in the comments which ideas are your favorites, or share your own ideas with us.


Products Used:

3 oz. Cascading Petite Bowl: B-783-W and B-783-RSP
3 oz. Scallop Petite Bowl: B-129-W and B-129-RSP
3 oz. Square Petite Bowl: ML-257-W


Products Used:

3 oz. Espresso Cup: C-1004-W
2 oz. Rectangle Sauce Dish: 025-W
1 oz. Round Sauce Dish: M-028-W
1 oz. 2-Compartment Sauce Dish: 037-W
1.5 oz. Round Sauce Dish: M-032-W
3 oz. Square Petite Bowl: ML-257-W

0.65 oz. Spoon: M-6030-W
6 oz. Sqaure Side Dish: ML-122-W
4 oz. Flare Petite Bowl: ML-233-W
4 oz. Rectangle Side Dish: ML-123-W
5.5 oz. Tea Cup: M-077C-W


Take control of your reading experience. Leave a comment below telling us what interests you and we’ll write about it!



Products Used:

3 oz. Square Petite Dessert Glass: SW-1435-CL
21.25″ x 2.6″ Roller Coaster Display: MTS-1122-CH
4″ Square Plate w/ One Raised Corner: PP-44-W




Products Used:

18″ x 13″ Tray w/12 Round Slots: ML-291-W
3 oz. Scallop Petite Bowl: B-129-W
0.65 oz. Soup Spoon: M-6030-W



Products Used:

4 oz. Flare Petite Bowl: ML-233-W
3 oz. Square Petite Bowl: ML-257-W
3 oz. Shooter: SW-1408-1-CL
3 oz. Mini Martini: SW-1430-1-CL




Products Used:

3 oz. Square Petite Bowl: ML-257-BK
3 oz. Mini Martini: SW-1430-1-CL




Products Used:

5 oz. Stackable Taster Glass: S-5-CL
11″ x 3.5″ Taster Wood Paddle Flight: PB-1135-M



Products Used

12 oz. Stemless Wine: SW-1461-CL
21″ x 12.5″ Faux Stone Display: ML-383-BK
6″ Tall Pedestal: ML-285-BK
8 oz. Stemless Wine: SW-1460-CL
25.5″ x 20.5″ Faux Stone Display: ML-384-BK
3″ Tall Pedestal: ML-277-BK
11.25″ x 7″ Rectangular Platter: CS-6103-W

Products Used

1 oz. Shooter: SW-1431-1-CL
13.5″ x 5.25″ Display Tray: ML-128-W
8 oz. Stemless Wine: SW-1460-CL




Products Used:

3.5″ Round Serving Pail: 4-80810
17″ x 14″ Frosted Glass Stair Riser: GLSTR-04
12″ x 10″ Rectangular Bulge Riser Set: IRBLG-02




What if You’re Just Not Ready to Switch from Disposable? 

Good news! The market constantly answers demands for improved products, and beautiful, disposable small plates are no exception. These disposable small plates add a warm, rustic touch to catered presentations. Even better, they are extremely durable and can handle just about anything you’d want to serve on them. 

If eco-friendliness is important to you or your guests, this plateware is biodegradable and made from sustainable, renewable resources. So not only do they solve for the durability issue that many disposable options create, they also add a warm-fuzzy to caterers’ brands they work so hard to establish.



Products Used

4″ Biodegradable Palm Leaf Square Plate: 01-22-10B

Products Used

8″ Biodegradable Palm Leaf Square Plate: 01-20-20B




Products Used

5″ x 5″ Disposable Palm Leaf Square Bowl: 01-00-18B

Products Used

3″ x 2″ Disposable Wooden Fixed Side Mini Tray: TG-DE-2X3




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