Hiring a caterer for any event is one of the elements for your event that you will need to take your time and make the right decision on. Similar to deciding what your guest will be drinking, the food that you serve is what your guests will remember the most.
So here are 8 things for you to think about when hiring a caterer:
1. Plan to meet with your caterer about 6-8 times before your event as there will be many aspects of your event and menu that you will need to work through.
2. Hire them well in advance of your event, many of the top caterers are book about 1 year in advance; most caterers need about 3 to 6 months to prepare for your event. So once you make the decision that you will need to use an outside caterer for your event begin your search.
3. Going with a bigger catering company is not always the ideal for an event; smaller ones tend to work harder as they are trying to build their clientele. They also tend to make more of their dishes from scratch; while some of the bigger ones may use canned or package foods.
4. Network if possible, your caterers may know other vendors that you may be looking for, they might even work out a cheaper deal for you if you use a vendor they recommend.
5. Make sure to research the caterer; check for references from previous clients. Ensure that they are certified in food handling and should be posted in their place of business, as well get a copy of their liability insurance to make sure they are covered.
6. Before you sign on the dotted line, take a visit of the caterer’s place of business. Sometimes they may have samples of their food that you can try and ensure the production is good.
7. Payment, generally you will have to pay 50% up front as deposit to secure the catering company; final payments are generally due about 2 weeks before the event. If you need to cancel do so as soon as possible you may be able to get your deposit back; the closer you are to the date you may not be able to get your deposit back and in some case you may end up paying more. Make sure you read the fine print in your contract to identify any penalties you may incur due to cancellation.
8. Budget, understate your budget a little bit so that you can have a bit of room in case you need to increase your guest numbers or make changes to the menu.
Until next time happy planning,
Your vision, your experience.