There are several things you should consider before choosing a caterer for your event. In fact, the type of food you will serve is crucial to the entire experience. Bad food and service will no doubt overshadow the real purpose of your event because all people will be talking about will be how disappointed they are. You don’t want this memory to be associated with your cause, right? Here are some tips on choosing the right catering service.
- Check for reviews and references.
As much as possible, do not go with a catering service that has no feedback from anyone at all. While it’s nice to give startups a chance to shine, if you’re hosting fundraiser and are serving VIP clients, it’s best to go with those that have been tried and tested. A good caterer will have a list of satisfied clients, but that’s not all you should look for. Certain service offerings on their menu might not sit well with your event, so it’s best that you do your research first before hiring anybody.
- Get feedback from someone who has hired them firsthand.
While you might see dozens of positive reviews online and, perhaps, a celebrity endorsement or so, nothing beats hearing it straight from somebody who has hired them in the past. Double points if that happy client is somebody you know. You can also find out for yourself by visiting their office, or arranging for a meeting with them. Do their representatives carry themselves properly? Is their office organized and clean? Are they professional? How they present themselves to you will likely be how they carry themselves at a catering job, so impressions matter.
- Look for photos of previews catering jobs.
This part gives you a good idea of the caterer in action, especially in terms of design and aesthetics. The caterer may be famous for preparing delicious food but fall short on the presentation side. If the usual style that appears on the photos is not what you want for your setup, you can ask the caterer to change the look or just pick somebody else.
- Discuss rates and extra fees.
Talk to your prospect caterer what services are included in the catering package. Will they take care of the uniforms, decorations and cutlery? Would they be using electrical equipment? Will there be a fee for product testing? Will they charge extra if you ask for somebody to man the dessert station? Things like that. Be very specific with your questions so you don’t get surprised later when the final bill comes.
- Check with the venue and conduct a taste test.
Before the actual date, check the venue first and find out if your caterer can operate at your chosen location (or if they charge additional fees for special areas). Some venues already have their list of preferred caterers who will most likely already know their way around the place. If you want to bring in somebody new, discuss the nature of the place with them first or, better yet, take them with you so they can survey the location.
On the day of the event itself, find out who is in charge so you know who to turn to in case something’s not right with the food or there are complaints about the service. Of course, knowing who’s at the top is not just about reporting mistakes. Knowing who the lead is will also give you easier access to special requests, additional orders and other food and beverage issues that can affect your event.