You have a big event coming up and have decided to hire a catering company to handle the food. To make sure you get what you want (and what you pay for),
Here are 5 questions you should ask a catering company before signing on the dotted line:
1. Where do you get your ingredients? Excellent food starts with fresh ingredients. Check if the caterer sources their ingredients from local suppliers. This will ensure the food is fresh as well as seasonal – also a sign that they will probably be willing to adapt their menu to the time of year and your individual tastes.
2. What do your services include and can you show me menu examples? A good caterer will have some set menus or menu ideas to show you, and will be able to show you a price breakdown per option. Find out exactly what is on offer, from food choices, to presentation (plated, platter, buffet?), to support staff. Don’t forget to check if the caterer can easily accommodate any special dietary requirements e.g. religious restrictions or vegetarian alternatives.
3. Have you worked at the venue before? A caterer does not necessarily have to have worked at a particular venue to be able to cater there but it does help. If they have, they will already know what the facilities are like and what they need to do to make sure the catering is flawless. If they haven’t worked at the venue, ask if they are willing to do a site visit so that they can plan ahead. If you don’t yet have a venue, it’s a good idea to ask the caterer for recommendations.
4. Who is going to be in charge on the day? It’s important to know who will be your point person on the day of your event, especially if it is a large corporate function. Will the owner or manager of the catering company be there to oversee the delivery and plating of the food, and the conduct of their staff? It’s also important that someone is responsible for your guests’ experience of the food on the day, including handling any issues that might arise.
5. What other services do you offer? A well-established catering company might offer services beyond menu planning and delivery. Wine selection services and custom made cakes are just two related services that might fall under your caterer’s offering and inform their quoted price. Ensuring that one supplier handles as many aspects of your event as possible can save you time and money, especially if these form part of a package deal.
Catering for special events requires experience and expertise.