How to select a caterer for your party or special event
Selecting A Caterer For Your Party -
Guests may not remember many elements of a party, but they will remember the food. If the food is great, your guests will enjoy the event and leave with memories of a fabulous party. When you are planning your event, the caterer you select will be one of the most important decisions you make. There are some simple steps you can follow to find the caterer that will be able to make your event spectacular.
- What do you need - Some caterers focus on formal affairs that include cocktails, full course meals and elegant dining. Other caterers focus on more informal events and have a wide range of meal plans for guests. It will be important that you know what type of catering you want before you begin your search. In addition, you will need to decide if you want a service that is buffet style or served at the table.
- When is your event - The cost of your caterer will vary based on the number of guests that will be eating and the venue you have selected. If you are going to have a caterer at a venue that does not have a kitchen or preparation area, the caterer will have to have everything prepared and ready to set out when they arrive. This will require more complex work by the caterer and, in most cases, there will be an additional fee.
- Get recommendations from friends and family by asking about caterers they have used will be helpful.
- Be creative - If you are on a budget, you may want to consider a venue that has catering in-house. Some venues provide catering that is prepared in the location at a discount.
- Get estimates - Getting estimates from 3-4 caterers will give you a good idea of what the cost of the service will be. Most caterers will give you a "head/count" price that will change based on the number of guests that attend your event.
- Interview caterers - Talk to the prospective caterer about the services they provide, the number of events they book in a day, and whether they have the facilities to meet your needs. If you want a specific type of meal served to your guests, this will be critical in getting an accurate estimate of the cost of the service.
- Sample the food - When you meet with the caterer, they should have samples for you to taste while you are talking to them. It will be important to talk about the ingredients they use and where the food comes from. In addition, the caterer should have the ability to provide alternatives for any of your guests on a special diet.
- Visit the caterer at their business - Many people find that they can learn a lot about a caterer by visiting their business. You will want to see how the staff work together and talk to the caterer about the equipment they will use at your event. Some caterers will provide linens, tables, etc., for an extra fee.
- Get References - Get references from the caterers you are considering and talk to people who have used their services, before you commit.
- Estimates and Quotes - When you have narrowed your search to the top two caterers, get proposals from them that include what they will serve, the number of people who will be on hand, and details about the service they will provide. The caterer should include set-up and clean-up as well as the hours they will be on hand in the quote.
- Book your event - When you have found the caterer that you want, book your event immediately. Caterers are very busy and if you wait until the last minute, you may not be able to get the caterer that you want.
With the caterer selected and the menu established, you will be able to relax and focus your attention on other details for your event to be the kind of affair you want.