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. The food is always important! But what exactly should you look for in a caterer?
If this is your first, heed the following tips:
As a neophyte, you’ll have to begin from the bottom. That means asking for referrals from friends or relatives, as well as reading reviews online. If you have selected a venue, you can ask the management for help.
Inspecting the Premises
This is highly crucial. Before you choose a catering service, visit their kitchen. The area must be organized and sanitary, period. Otherwise, you’ll only end up risking your health 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 don’t know how much staff you’ll need, here’s a good guide:
> For buffets, you’ll be fine with two servers for 30 people. 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 the bar, one staff per 50 guests is manageable, plus more bartenders for specialty drink stations you might want to have.
> For each group of six staff members, get one captain of service.
Testing the Menu
In most cases, professional caterers offer menu tasting for their potential 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 not the kind of surprise you want.
Apparently, it’s going to take time finding a good caterer. But you can rest assured it’s going to be time well-spent.