If you’ve ever experienced the wrath of a hangry film crew, you already know that maintaining a high-quality craft services table is key to any successful production.
On a low-budget shoot, that task inevitably falls on the production department and their handy-dandy craft services shopping list. However, if you happen to have some coins to spare, there is simply no substitute for hiring a professional craft services company to keep your crew fed and fueled between meals.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to the basics of crafty and our picks for the 5 best professional craft services in Los Angeles.
Let’s get started.
The term “craft services” refers to the department responsible for providing cast and crew with food, drink, and other small amenities throughout the shooting day. They’re responsible for distributing the mountains of snacks, rivers of coffee, and placid springs of gently fizzling LaCroix that keep a film crew on its toes both before and after lunch.
It’s important to remember that craft services should not be confused with catering, even though they seem to serve similar functions. The catering department explicitly handles full meals- always lunch, often breakfast, and occasionally second meal--while the craft services department handles everything in between (and won’t help you avoid meal penalties). If you encounter any kind of film set food outside of a meal call, it’s a good bet that the craft food services department made it happen.
And what is craft services without a craft services table?
The unfortunately typical image of crafty is that of one or two craft services tables supplied according to a simple craft services shopping list, its sugary contents scrounged together by a somehow, already exhausted production assistant from the war-torn shelves of their local Costco the day or even night before.
But while encounters with such craft services tables are nearly inevitable, this typical image barely scratches the surface of what the more crafty craft services departments out there are capable of achieving.
From fully stocked food trucks to fresh-baked cookies to vegan chili delivered directly to set, professional craft services go well beyond the basics when serving their cast and crew. They can save production time, stress, and even occasionally money. It’s no coincidence that most commercial producers forego the craft services shopping list altogether and instead budget specifically for professionals when bidding for a job.
If you’re trying to figure out how to get into craft services, the production department is usually a great place to get your bearings but understand that doing so is not a straightforward path into working as a craft services professional. Most craft services companies operate under an LLC that the production department then hires as an outside vendor. You might have better luck working directly with film set food as part of a catering company or pre-existing craft services company.
Before we move on, there’s just one more, very important topic that we need to cover:
It’s “craft services,” not “kraft services.”
By ear, the terms may be indistinguishable, but “kraft services” simply isn’t the correct spelling, despite the natural human love for proprietary eponyms. Refrain from including “kraft services” on all your call sheets from here on out, unless, of course, you’re planning to serve mass quantities of mac and cheese.
Whether they call it crafty, craft services, or- dare I say it? - kraft services, nearly every producer in the industry has a personal favorite craft services, who may or may not be on this list. In fact, it’s more common than not that you’re going with a friend of a friend, or a word-of-mouth recommendation.
If you’re trying to decide on your own go-to source for crafty excellence, Wrapbook’s ever-expanding suite of professional features allows you to keep track of vendors more efficiently and effectively than ever before. Contact sales to learn more.
Now, without further ado, let’s dive into our list of the top 10 professional craft services in Los Angeles, in no particular order.
Providing both catering and craft services, Grandma’s House is an ode to high quality comfort food.
Founder Mario Johnson offers a culinary concoction of Texas barbecue and Louisiana Cajun inspired and influenced by- wait for it- his actual grandmothers.
Given its highly specific background, you might be tempted to think that a craft services table furnished by Grandma’s House would be too specific for an average production.
But you would be wrong.
Grandma’s House maintains an incredible number of both individual food items and food packages. When it comes to crafty, film sets can choose from options ranging from pork belly pops with maple and lime glaze to veggie sliders with hummus dressing. Grandma’s House has something to satisfy everyone.
And if the options aren’t enough to convince you, just check out their Instagram feed. A glance at any one of the Grandma’s House specialties is more than enough to make your mouth water, even if the temptation does threaten to expand your waistline by an inch or two.
After all, what is craft services without a deep-fried turkey every now and then?
Sunday Night Dinner Craft Services are true pros. They’re members of the IATSE Local 80 trade union and, in no uncertain terms, pride themselves on, “maintaining a clean and orderly truck that matches the ‘Grade A’ quality of a 5 star restaurant.”
Founded in 1997, Sunday Night Dinner Craft Services has spent the last two and a half decades building a regular client list that includes The Bachelor, Shark Tank, and- yes, please- Battle Bots. Even Hell’s Kitchen- Gordon Ramsay’s renowned anger management program- uses Sunday Night Dinner to manage its craft services.
Sunday Night Dinner offers a wide range of services, allowing you to choose the right options for your specific production. They offer well-stocked craft services tables, of course, but they also offer VIP, green room, drop off, and full-service packages.
If you’re trying to figure out how to get into craft services the right way, look to the masterminds behind Sunday Night Dinner for a pristine example.
Sassy Craft Services gives us anything but sass.
They’re straightforward in their pricing, and are one of the most Covid-conscious craft service companies we’ve seen to date.
Aside from offering individually packaged items, they also offer cheaper rates for minimal contact drop-off.
While they have healthy options mixed in with some fan favorites, the real upside is their tiered pricing. Never again will you sacrifice quality for budget. If you’re using Sassy, they’ll have solid options for any size production.
Catering services are also available and can be added on or scheduled separately, though most of their business does cater to crafty, (only a little sorry).
On their site, they boast The Craft Service 101 — a course designed to help those looking to start their own craft service business, an interesting but beneficial resource for anyone wondering how to get into craft services. Overall, they’re just a trustworthy team who've been helping industry professionals for nearly a decade.
City Palate Catering presents itself as no-nonsense company with an eye towards culinary precision and getting the job done right. City Palate specializes in “foods that are scratch made with seasonal, organic, and sustainable products”, making it the perfect option for those producers who want their crafty crafted from an environmentally friendly point of view.
Continuing their commitment to social responsibility, City Palate Catering has also instituted special hygiene procedures in response to COVID-19, doing their part to ensure the health and safety of crew everywhere as the film industry continues to reopen and adjust procedures.
To top it off, City Palate’s sample menus are stunningly diverse. Their offerings change according to the season but are highly flexible according to the needs of an individual production. In an ideal world, what is craft services if not fresh, hygienic food right at your fingertips?
Kit & Kaboodle’s mission statement reads something like a love spell aimed at capturing the very specific hearts of film producers everywhere. It goes, “Kit and Kaboodle was founded with this goal in mind: to provide a cost effective and all-inclusive food service to a health-conscious, dynamic production industry.”
And, honestly, if that’s not magic, I’m not sure what is.
Hocus Pocus aside, Kit and Kaboodle prides itself on accommodating their production clients needs. The company actively wants to be your go-to source for craft services on projects of any size, and they’re willing to bend over backwards to make that possible.
Kit and Kaboodle offers flexible options that they can tailor to meet your specific needs. They can arrange for full, drop-off, or even catering service. They’ll feed your regular cast and crew, your army of day-playing background performers, and even your VIPs, right in the comfort of their trailers. All you have to do is ask.
When it comes to crafty, film sets everywhere would benefit from the level of personal attentiveness that Kit and Kaboodle offers.
If you’re ready to spoil your cast and crew, you might check out Rise & Shine Catering. They have a separate craft food services menu if you prefer to use someone else for your meal breaks.
But it’s probably better they do more catering because that mindset has found its way into the way they do crafty.
Hot trays for days.
If you select their Full Service option, you and your team will be served with hot apps like quesadillas, taquitos, grilled veggies, and oh so much more.
Special menu items are welcomed and can be accommodated for a variety of dietary restrictions.
Camille’s is a virtual bakery and catering company that knows how to get a film crew fed quickly and efficiently. Established by a mother-daughter duo in 2007 and expanding ever since, Camille’s specializes in making “fresh Californian style food incorporating coastal, bright bold flavors that are traditional of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine.”
Maintaining options for event catering, production catering, production craft services, and now a brick-and-mortar sandwich shop, Camille’s has the scale and flexibility to handle the needs of any production, even, surprisingly, the little ones.
Camille’s craft services packages have been designed to meet multiple price points, depending on your needs, and can be arranged as either budget-friendly drop-off crafty or no-muss-no-fuss full-service packages.
If you’re asking yourself, “what is craft services all about?” -- look no further than Camille’s.
This one is a true gem. Though, I wouldn’t go as far to say “hidden.”
Bourg Crafts Service has been operating as a family run business for nearly a decade, servicing the sets of 24, House, Legion, and many more.
Family operated, they remain impressive in what they can handle, scaling your craft service needs accordingly.
They provide healthy alternatives to fuel your cast and crew and are a great way to stay under budget while remaining health conscious.
It’s never a bad idea to find a craft service company that also caters. But it’s an even better idea to find one that specializes in catering.
Aside from the one and done aspect, these companies really know food. And the worst thing is to have a stressful day of shooting with sub far food. Dine with 9 comes well experienced—they use private chefs, cater some of the most high-end events, they do corporate lunches, and well, the whole 9.
If you’re not looking for an all-in-one, they won’t be offended. Dine with 9 offers a separate craft services menu so you can always choose another favorite spot for your meals.
They also provide craft service kits with specialty items that can be added based on your needs.
While their website might look a bit outdated, their service is top notch.
Killer Craft Service comes to your set with their own 36 foot Peterbilt, fully outfitted truck. They cook on site and can accommodate any budget across the United States.
If your goal is to find one company to do both craft services and meals, and you have a ton of shooting locations, they’re a no-brainer.
Their resume boasts Mad Men, six seasons of Weeds, John Adams, and many more.
As you can see, craft services can be as different and diverse as the world of production requires. However, at the end of the day, it boils down to something incredibly simple.
What is craft services at its core?
It’s keeping your cast and crew happy. If we missed your favorite craft services company, let us know. And if you’re planning a shoot in Los Angeles, be sure to download our free ebook on L.A. film permits.
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