Picking a Caterer for Your Event
Whatever type of event you’re planning – a business conference, a wedding, a marketing expo, etc. – choosing a caterer will be an important decision. We all know how important food is! But what are the things you have to consider when choosing a caterer?
If this is your first, heed the following tips:
Because you’re a newbie, you’ll have to start from scratch. That means getting recommendations from friends and relatives, and checking out online reviews. If you have selected a venue, you can ask the management for help.
Inspecting the Premises
This is a critical consideration. Take a look at their kitchen before you book any catering service. It should be organized and clean, period. Otherwise, you will be risking your safety and that of your guests.
Reviewing the Menu
Not all catering services are right for all kinds of events, and of course, you’ll want to hire one that is a match to your needs. At your meeting, mention any menu ideas you may want them to consider. They should be open to your inputs, or you can look for another prospect. If you or anyone attending the event has food allergies or whatever dietary restrictions, discuss them too.
If you don’t know how much staff you’ll need, here’s a good guide:
> With buffets, two servers for 30 guests is the norm. If you have a larger group, you’ll need two or three more runners for restocking chafing stations and clearing dishes.
> If you’re having a sit-down meal, you will do with one server per table of eight, plus more servers for the drinks.
> For your bar staff, have at least one bartender for each fifty guests, and add a few more if you will be featuring specialty drink stations.
> For every six members of staff, have one captain of service.
Testing the Menu
Professional caterers usually provide menu tasting for their clients. The whole world may find their food a bomb, but unless you think the same way, they’re not the best for you. The menu must be your choice totally, and of course, it’s important that you like their food.
You shouldn’t choose a caterer just because they’re cheap, but cost is and always will be an important consideration nonetheless. Be direct about how much you plan to spend, and make sure the quote already includes everything. Lastly, before you sign the contact, ask them if there are any hidden or additional fees. That’s far from the surprise you’ll want.
As you can see, it will probably take a little time to look for a good caterer. But you can rest assured it’s going to be time well-spent.