Hiring a Caterer

Hiring a Caterer

Posted by clientservice, on 3/11/2010, in category Planning

catererFood is one of the most crucial elements of your event. It’s the part of your event that your guests will remember the most, so serving great-tasting food is of the utmost importance.

When people reminisce about your wedding or party, the last thing you want is for them to recall is how the mashed potatoes were powdered and the chicken was so rubbery it was like biting into a pencil eraser!

Remember, the quality of the food will reflect on you, so it had better be good.

The importance of hiring a reliable and skilled caterer cannot be emphasized enough. The caterer takes care of feeding your guests so you can focus on being a good host.

Do your research and hire a qualified professional with expertise and experience, or else your event could turn into a nightmare of bad food and angry guests.

Searching for caterers

  • Use Eventective to search for caterers in your area. Generate a potential list and begin making contact. Also, ask family and friends who they would recommend.
  • Does your venue have a preferred caterer or will they allow you to bring your own? Sometimes venues will have a list of preferred caterers for you to choose from.
  • Arrange to meet with prospective caterers and sample their food. Make sure you sample the food that will be served at your wedding or event. The highest-quality, best-tasting food is made from fresh ingredients. Does the caterer use fresh ingredients or frozen ones?
  • How big is your event going to be? The size of your event may determine whether or not some caterers will be able to accommodate it.
  • Discuss whether you’re having a buffet-style or sit-down dinner at your event. Sit-down service is generally a more expensive option. Remember to stay within the budget that you have outlined.
  • Are you planning to serve alcohol at your event? Find out about your venue’s liquor policy so you make arrangements with the caterer. In order to serve alcohol at your event you must also be sure that alcohol is allowed on the premises at your venue. If alcohol is permitted at your venue, you can then ask your caterer if they have a valid liquor license.

The Interview

Here are some important questions to ask during the interview:

  • Are you licensed and do you have liability coverage?
  • Can you provide a list of references?
  • What is the estimated cost per-person?
  • What is the staff-to-guest ratio?
  • Will the staff be able to dress appropriately?
  • Are you able to accommodate special dietary considerations (vegetarian, kosher, etc.) if necessary?
  • What’s your tipping policy?
  • What are the overtime/cancellation costs?
  • Do you have refrigeration (for an outdoor event?)

Make sure you lay all responsibilities out in a contract for both of you to sign. If the caterer is going to be responsible for tasks like providing the linens, setting the tables or ordering flower arrangements, you need to outline it in the contract. The contract should also include taxes and the tipping policy.

All contracts should outline the menu and drinks that will be served, as well as the number of servers there will be. You will want the caterer to send you a confirmation letter that includes the event date and time, the menu and cost per person, the tipping policy, any color schemes and the names of the servers.

When you speak with the caterer’s references, be sure to ask them how the quality of the service was. The catering staff is responsible for serving the guests in a timely fashion, keeping up with beverage orders and other guest needs, setting and clearing the tables and accommodating any special requests.

If you don’t like or trust particular caterer, find someone else. The caterer you hire should inspire confidence in you. When you hire a reliable and experienced caterer it will eliminate stress and hassles for you and make the event an enjoyable and memorable experience for all.


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