10 Tips To Keep In Mind When Choosing The Perfect Caterer For Your Next Event
Are you hosting an event?
If there’s one thing your guests are going to remember from your event, that would be the quality of the food served to them. Serving food that’s downright terrible will bring down all the other wonderful aspects of your event.
Remember: good food can outweigh an event’s poor taste in decor, a less than stellar emcee, and a not-so-pleasant ambiance. Bad food, however, is just bad food. That’s why you should put some time and thought into carefully choosing the right caterer for your event.
1. Assess your expectations
Before diving into research, consider the kind of event you’re hosting.
How formal is your event?
How many guests are you expecting?
And what kind of food are they expecting?
Any seating arrangements in mind?
What kind of venue is your event hosted in?
Do your guests have any dietary requirements? (e.g. religion, age)
What’s your budget?
From here, you may start listing down caterers who can handle your specific type of event based on size, location, budget, venue limitations, and menu options.
2. Experience counts
Just like most event planners specialize in a specific type of event, several caterers do the same. For example, if you’re throwing a formal, black-tie kind of event, a caterer that specializes in casual, outdoor barbeque events may not be best suited.
Avoid the mistake of automatically hiring a caterer you’ve previously worked with before, for an entirely different type of event. Rather, convey your requirements and look for proposition from other caterers with demonstrated experience in the kind of event you’re hosting.
3. Look for references
Want to know if that Ireland event catering service's food, drinks, and services are as good as they say? Ask for a list of references. Find out what their previous clients say about their work.
In some cases, you may even be able to observe an event they’re currently hosting so you can see first-hand how they work.
4. Pay attention to their responsiveness
A good caterer is responsive. They’re easy to reach and they’ll respond to your calls, texts, and e-mails promptly. If they lack the communication skills, then you’ll likely have a problem with their service down the line.
5. Look for flexibility regarding menu options
Caterers usually have standard menu options from which to choose. Many standout caterers, on the other hand, go beyond standardized menu options and provide flexibility to adapt these menus to your specific needs by substituting items or customizing others.
If you’re concerned about your guest’s dietary restrictions, or you want to match the menu to a specific theme or a current trend, look for flexible caterers who are willing to deliver according to your needs and expectations.
6. Request three proposals
The rule of thumb is to ask for three proposals: one may be too low, another may be too high. But hopefully, one proposal will be just right.
7. Give it a taste test
Let’s say you’ve found a caterer who can deliver all of your needs. It all boils down to the taste.
Ask a sampling of their proposed menu. Caterers who know their food quality and service are of high standards are confident to provide taste tests. With this, you’ll be able to evaluate if the food they serve lives up to your expectations before you sign the contract.
8. Inquire about the service
It’s not just the food and beverage. When selecting a caterer, remember that you’re also hiring them for the service they will deliver to you and your guests. Inquire as to the number of servers and the number of staff in supervisory roles.
9. Demand a complete explanation of the legalese
As with anything else, make sure to get everything in writing.
The contract details should be clear. It should specify what food, beverage, and services they’ll provide, as well as information about the date, time, and location. The contract includes selected menus, beverages, number of servings, tables and table linens, accessories, servers, and all pricing.
Contracts protect both parties in an agreement. Make sure the contract is intended to protect you from non-performance.
10. Ask about their cancellation policy
The cancellation of your event due to unexpected mishaps that may arise is probably the last thing you’d want to happen. However, it’s best to determine ahead of time how it will be handled by your caterer.
The contract should also include cancellation procedures and penalties should you cancel the event. Similarly, if your caterer bails at the last minute, the procedures and charges should also be clearly outlined.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a resident writer for Fitzers Catering, one of the best event catering services in Ireland. Aside from eating ramen, this self-proclaimed foodie is passionate about writing articles about food, recipes, and events.