What To Think About When Hiring a Caterer

Getting Started
Planning an event is always stressful, and choosing the right people to help can seem daunting. But finding the right help, like a great caterer can make all the difference.
A great place to start is word of mouth. Talk to people who have held similar events get references and go meet some caterers. Take your time hiring, go out and meet a few before making a decision. Think about what you want to serve and try out a few caterers.

Try Out the Food
Before you buy, you must try. Many Caterers offer a tasting meeting, where clients can come try out selections that could be on their menu. Think about your guests and order for them. This is a great way to better get to know your Caterer as well. It is important to have a good relationship with the person who will be cooking for your family, friends, in-laws, or co-workers. Give everything offered a taste and see if their work would fit your event. If possible try what you want to serve.

Think About What You Need–Not What They Cook.
Don’t just hire someone because their sample plate looked pretty or they lit a fire on the stove (they didn’t mean to do that). You have to be sure the event you’re holding and what you’re serving are appropriate together, and that you can afford it. Typically there are four styles of food preparation in catering. Station, several themed food stations. Seated, formal dining. Cocktail, hors d’oeuvres. And Buffet, where guests prepare their own plates. Are you holding a wedding? You probably want a Seated catering style. Is this an alumni gathering? Perhaps a mix of Buffet and Cocktail catering.
If you are freaked about the total price there are plenty of ways to save you money but do not shave off quality. Serving room temperature hors d’oeuvres and buying your own alcohol are excellent ways to save. Keep in mind that quality will suffer if you keep trying to tweak the cost.

Ask A Lot of Questions
Remember, these guys do this for a living. Much of it comes as second nature to them and they may not think to tell you everything. What of space will you need? How many employees? What will you need when you arrive? I will be entertaining, can you make me a doggie bag? These seem like obvious questions, but they are the ones that get missed and leave people angry. You can make sure you know as much as possible by just asking questions.

Ask For a Quote, And Get Everything In Writing
Asking for a quote is very important. The caterer will know exactly how much everything costs, and so should you. Verbal contracts are fine, but this is food we’re talking about. Get it all in writing because then both you and the caterer know exactly what you’re getting and how much it costs. The caterer doesn’t want to serve the wrong food and you don’t want to eat it. Get it in writing so you know what you’re getting into.