Selecting a caterer is more complicated than choosing a venue. When you choose a venue, you can look at the décor, check out the size of the venue, and maybe read online reviews of the brand. While selecting a caterer, you cannot go by online reviews or by just checking out the looks of a restaurant because sometimes, good food and excellent service come from the most unexpected of places. Who knows, the place you don’t like for its lighting may serve the best shrimp in town, and similarly, a popular restaurant may end up serving average food.
To choose a caterer for you, you will have to undertake a tedious, long-drawn process. Yes, this sounds like too much, but all your effort will become worth it the moment your guests will start going ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over your menu. Here is a list that will guide you in finding the right caterer for your event. These helpful tips will ensure that your guests talk about your party/event for years to come.
Evaluate the Caterer for Promptness and Etiquette
A caterer/company who is happy to talk to you and is prompt with providing all the details like menu options, price details, etc. is the one for you. You cannot afford to engage with someone who isn’t right in responding to phone calls or doesn’t listen to you attentively. Imagine a situation where a caterer does not listen to you carefully, and as a result, the starters served at the event aren’t the ones you wanted. Will you like that? Take time to meet a few caterers and go with the one who makes you welcome and comfortable.
Check for Flexibility
Most caterers will offer you fixed menus at different rates. Check them out and see if any of them are ideal for your event. Ask the caterer about other options, like, if you could add or delete a few dishes based on your needs. You may like the fixed menus, but it always great to find a caterer who is willing to make some adjustments to please you.
Check the Experience
A caterer should have experience in handling events of all sizes and types. Events differ from each other in terms of the kind of people attending them, the ambience and the type of food that is served. So, it is not necessary that a caterer experienced in a black-tie event will be good at catering to sit-down wedding reception as well. When you set out to meet a caterer, make sure to check for their experience, talk to them in detail about their comfort level and confidence in catering for a newer format. Finalize things only after you are sure your caterer is a perfect match.
Look Beyond Food
Of course, food is the most crucial aspect of a catering service, but you have to look beyond the menu and check out the beverage and service offered by the caterer. At the event, the training and experience of staff will be as necessary as food and beverages served to the guests. While you cannot control the behavior of the staff when you visit a restaurant, you can ask for well trained and well-mannered staff members for your private/personal event.
Ask for References
Ask your caterer to provide you with references of past clients so you can talk to them. You should know how the caterer works, how was the experience of the previous clients, and if the food and beverages were as good as claimed by the caterer. If the caterer fails to provide references, you should tread cautiously and ask around. Take time to research and investigate. If you cannot find a single ex-client, you may want to reconsider your choice of caterer.
Caterers generally offer a tasting menu to help you make a decision. Make it a point to taste every item on the list because serving even a single lousy dish will cost you your reputation. If your caterer does not have any such options, ask for it. You cannot afford to trust references and recommendations. Yes, they are important but not more crucial than your judgment. Ask for a sampling of the proposed menu and try it out with a few other people to have multiple opinions. Finalize the list once you are happy with every dish and beverage.
Create a Detailed Contract
As with any business deal, get everything in writing. Layout a precise caterer’s contract specifying the type of food (dishes), beverage, and services the caterer has committed to providing. Also, make sure to note down the date, time, and place along with details of services like server details, linens, tables, bar service, and other accessories. Do not forget to mention the costs and the payment method.
Check out the Cancellation Policy
An event can get canceled at the last minute; certain things are not under your control. So, pre discuss the cancellation policy of the caterer. Understand the procedure and penalties you may incur and negotiate in advance. So that, in case of a cancellation, neither you nor the caterer has to face heavy losses.
Catering takes a significant chunk of both money and time during event planning. The food and service offered at an event are very crucial, and you cannot afford to take it lightly. The Venue at Friendship Springs is a perfect event venue for all occasions. The place has an auditorium, conference rooms, and banquet hall that fit in all kinds of budget and offer ultimate flexibility in terms of space, design, food options, and more.