9 Steps To Choose A Good Caterer
Are you soon planning a corporate event, a family gathering, a wedding, or even a birthday party? One option you must be thinking of is whether to hire a caterer to provide food for your event. Anything from a mobile pizza catering company to having your own private gourmet chef may have crossed your mind. But how do you ensure you are making the right choice in picking your desired caterer? The following 9 steps should act as a guideline to help avoid picking the wrong caterer for your event.
Get Some Recommendations
Your first step in finding your ideal caterer is to ask your trusted friends and family members for referrals. These are people who share your tastes and are familiar with what your guests might like so they will offer recommendations best suited for your kind of lifestyle and guests. Moreover, a caterer recommended by someone you are close to may be easier to work with and may offer better discounts and higher levels of service in the hope of creating long term business relationships.
Go For a Tasting
If you are hosting a large event, prospective caterers may agree to a tasting. This will help you to best gauge their quality and also decide on a menu. Nevertheless, keep in mind that the caterer will want to put his/her best foot forward to land the contract so you will receive the best products during the tasting and this may not result in the same being offered at the event. Additionally, remember it is a very different ballgame cooking for two in a professional kitchen compared to cooking for 300 guests at the event venue.
Discuss Your Budget
While costs are important to keep track of, the discussion on budgets should probably be the last step. This is because when you seek bargains early on you will end up compromising on quality. Agree on type and quality of service and products before asking for a quotation. Even as you seek discounts and favorable prices, keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
Consider Caterer Specialty
A mobile pizza catering service will specialize in making pizzas on site. Before asking them to provide any other service first ensure that they have a good track record at handling that kind of service. Otherwise you might be setting them for failure. Always choose a caterer who specializes in the kind of service you need for your wedding. Asking one to try something new may go either way at your wedding and you don’t want to take any unnecessary risks with your big day.
Decide On Required Services
What will you be offering your wedding guests? Will you be offering them a plated meal, a buffet, a family-style dinner, or a formal setting? You need to seriously consider the type of services you will require first then approach the best suited catering company to match your needs.
Request for References
Before deciding on using any particular catering service, find out who their most recent clients were. Once you have a list, start with the most recent wedding clients and contact them. Ask them about the service they received. Ask about any compliments they have for that catering company plus all complaints and areas the client felt required improvement. This will give you a realistic view of what to expect. Contact all other recent clients whether it was a company event or a kid’s birthday.
Find Out About Product Quality
A key consideration in picking the best caterer is to know how fresh their produce is. The best caterer is one who runs a busy establishment such as a restaurant. That at least implies they regularly purchase fresh produce and high quality products. You may also ask about any special requirements you may have such as whether they use organic produce.
Use Publicly Available Resources
Recommendations and references may only provide you with a rosy picture on the level and quality of services provided by your chosen caterer. Check with online forums what previous clients and guests have to say about them. Call the local health department and find out if there are any complaints or running investigations against the caterer. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Refine the Contract
Once you have chosen the caterer that best suits you, have all the agreements put in writing. Read the contract carefully and suggest any changes you might need before appending your signature. If it seems complicated, have a lawyer or a friend more knowledgeable in such issues to check it over. Once you are satisfied about the contents of the contract, sign and keep a copy that has been duly signed and stamped by the caterer.
Finding a caterer for your event can be a demanding process. Follow these 9 easy steps for a better decision-making process and you will hardly go wrong.
Joyce Fowley places a high value on food quality, design, presentation, and hygiene and this reflects in her catering business. She works with aspiring caterers and offers free consultations whenever she can.