Whether you’re hosting a corporate event or a wedding, there are several questions you need to ask when selecting the catering company that best fits your needs. Generally, a large portion of your event budget will be spent on food and the services associated with catering the event, so you want to make sure that you are asking the necessary questions to make an informed decision that will leave you and your guests satisfied.
We’ve been in the business for over 25 years, and we’ve put together a list of questions we feel will help you consider important details and, ultimately, choose the best catering company for your event.
1. Do you have my event date open? This should be the first question you ask. There’s no point in trying to move forward if the company is booked on the day you need their services.
2. Can we set up a tasting? Many catering companies will set aside a time for you to come in and try some of their food. We highly recommend sampling a caterer’s products before making your final decision.
3. Have you previously catered events at my venue ? Most reputable caterers have worked with a number of local venues. Make sure to look at the catering company’s website to see where they have done events. If a company has worked with your venue in the past, they will know the details associated with setting up, serving, and taking down.
4. Based on my estimated guest count, what is the total cost and cost per guest? Depending on the type of menu you select, the caterer should be able to give you an approximate total cost and cost per guest. You can use these numbers to compare companies with similar food offerings. You should also make sure to note if the contract provides an itemized list of the charges. This will help you get a sense of how each item affects the total cost of the contract.
5. What other kinds of fees are associated with my event? Catering companies will charge you for services associated with your event (staff, preparation time, transportation time, setting up, taking down, etc.) Make sure these fees are clearly spelled out within your contract.
6. What types of dietary restrictions, if any, can you accommodate? Some guests will have dietary restrictions. Be sure to ask the catering company if they are able to provide food that falls within these restrictions, and ask that any additional fees be clearly stated in your contract.
7. Do you have any photos of recent events you’ve catered? Looking through pictures from a company’s events will not only provide you with ideas and inspiration, but will also give you an idea if the company can work with the image and feel you’re going for.
8. What have your past clients said about your food, your staff, and the overall experience? Be sure to ask for reviews and check out the catering company’s website for testimonials.
9. What other aspects of my event can you help with? Many catering companies offer a variety of services in addition to food service, including
- Bar service
- Table settings
- Cake cutting
- Tables and chairs
- Recommendations for other vendors that may provide products or services related to your event