Tips – Choosing a Caterer
A caterer will not only be cooking your food for you and your guests, they will be providing servers, possibly bartenders and they will be a part time party planner so it is important you find one that you click with, beyond just enjoying their food. here is will talk about how choosing a caterer for your event can be all the difference from success to failure.
Narrowing it down to a handful of caterers that you wish to actively pursue and receive quotes from is probably the hardest process of all, but it doesn’t have to be. Word of mouth is one of the easiest ways to select a caterer in your area. Ask friends or business associates whom they have used in the past. Ask your rental company and event vendors for recommendations. Also, venues in your area are a great source of information. Call them and ask for their lists of approved caterers. You can be sure that venue approved caterers have been qualified and meet the high standards of the venue. If you are having an outdoor party be sure that your choosing a caterer for your event that is comfortable doing an event of that nature.
Once you have narrowed down the kind of food you would like to be served and picked 3-5 caterers that specialize in that cuisine, be prepared to compare them based on price, style, quality, personality and added benefits. It should be noted that before a caterer can give you a proper quote, they will need some preliminary information such as: the venue, number of guests, demographic of the group, length of event, style of catering and service (plated dinner, cocktail reception, brunch, etc.)
Additional services that caterers may supply vary greatly:
Rental Equipment – Keep in mind in many cases it is best to have your rental company work with you for all your rental needs except for items that is specific to your caterer. I.e cooking equipment, glassware, china, etc.
Labor – think of the extra labor requirements surrounding the event: set-up and strike for the ceremony and reception, bartending, cake cutting, on-site event planner.
Decor – some catering companies also have in-house professional designers who can do the bridal bouquets, centerpieces, table design, lighting and props.
Stationery – place cards, table cards and individual menus
Technical/safety questions you may want to ask of the caterer
Do they have an operating license?
Do they carry liability insurance?
Does the Worker’s Compensation Board protect the staff at the event?
Are their service staff hired and trained internally or are they subcontracted from an agency?
Review your contract and deposit schedule carefully before signing.
Ask for two or three client references and photos (if available).