No party is complete without delicious food. Preparing for an event is a major decision. You want the decor, promotional materials, and food all up to par. However, with different catering companies around, it can get confusing and overwhelming to settle on one company. What do you look for in a caterer and how do you compare one to another when you have no clue about event planning?
Here are some helpful tips that will make the process easier for you.
1. Do your Homework
Conducting your due diligence in regards to the catering companies around you is crucial. Local catering facilities will help you visit the facility, meet the staff, and find out what catering options they have. Also, you could ask your friends and family for recommendations on the best catering services around.
2. Explore Different Food Options
You don’t want to be a host of an event that lacks an entrée appealing or an appetizer. Before settling on any caterer, check their food menu to see if they have a variety of cuisine that will fit your guests’ needs. Mix everything up to ensure that everyone is happy.
3. Create a Checklist
Planning an event involves taking care of different things. Sometimes things can be chaotic and you could end up forgetting some items. The best way to stay ahead of things is to create a checklist of the type of foods that you’d like served at your event. This list should also have your preferred beverages and condiments. Use the checklist to ensure that everything matches with what your catering company is supposed to provide.
4. Check For Flexibility
Find out if the caterer is willing to accommodate any changes you may have to their menu to get you what you want. A caterer should be able to customize some foods and substitute specific items. Also, an experienced caterer should have different menu options that are regularly updated to keep up with the latest trends.
The right caterer can listen to your needs and make the necessary changes to ensure that the guests are happy with the food served. A caterer who is not willing to change his/her menu or challenge his staff to create a customized menu that should be a warning sign that you need to find another caterer.
5. Try the Food
You don’t want to end up with food that you don’t like when you’ve already paid hundreds of dollars. Some people are hesitant to ask for a sample because they consider it a hassle for the caterer. Before committing to any agreement, make sure that you try out a sample of a dish that you’d like to serve at your event. If the caterer is hesitant to let you try their food, this is a warning sign as you have the right to know the quality of food that you will be paying for. Taste at least three samples from different caterers to be sure of what to expect.
6. Staff Availability
Having an adequate number of staff members to serve at your event is crucial. The number of staff you’ll need depends on the size and nature of your event. Servers will vary between a sit-down dinner and a buffet. Find out how many servers the catering company will provide and if this will include bar back staff and bartenders.
7. Ability to Handle Your Type of Event
Not every caterer will be suitable for every type of event. It’s essential to find out if the caterer has the right kind of experience for your type of event, some specialize in small-type events while others work best with corporates. When interviewing the caterers, let them know the type of event you’re planning and the type of food and presentation that you would like. Avoid working with a know it all caterer as this could end up ruining your event.
8. Personal interest and Responsiveness
How interested and responsive your caterer is during your first conversation will indicate how they will perform later on. While some caterers will claim to use the freshest ingredients to create the best tasting foods, it’s unlikely that they will be open to new ideas and critiques. A potential caterer should be interested in learning more about you, your event, budget, and expectations.
Finding the right caterer for your event will take time. Be sure to follow the above tips to ensure that you settle on a caterer who has your best interests at heart, someone who is willing to come up with a customized menu, and someone who can promptly respond to your queries.