How to Choose 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 exactly should you look for in a caterer?
If this is your first, heed the following tips:
Looking for Prospects
As a neophyte, you’ll have to begin from the bottom. 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 crucial. Before you choose a catering service, visit their kitchen. The area must be organized and sanitary, period. Otherwise, you will be risking your safety and that of your guests.
Reviewing the Menu
Not all caterers are appropriate for all events, and definitely, you’ll want to choose one that aligns with your needs. During your meeting, discuss any menu ideas you may have in your mind. 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’re uncertain about the size of your staff, below is a quick guide:
> With buffets, two servers for 30 guests is the norm. If you have a bigger guest list, be ready with two or three more runners who will take care of used dishes and chafing stations.
> 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 the bar, one staff per 50 guests is manageable, plus more bartenders for specialty drink stations you might want to have.
> 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 think their food is great, but unless you do, they’re not right for you. The menu should be completely your choice, and of course, you have to like their food.
Don’t go for a caterer just because they charge cheap, but cost will always be important nevertheless. Be straightforward about your budget, and make sure the quote you receive already includes everything, from set-up to staffing. Lastly, inquire about any additional costs before you sign the contract. That’s far from the surprise you’ll want.
As you can conclude, you’ll have to spend some time searching for a good caterer. But rest assured it will be time well spent.