Getting the right menu for an event is very important and it requires adequate planning. It may be a detailed wedding reception or a New Year party, without the right menu, your event can turn into a complete disaster, hence it is very important to select the ideal catering firm when planning for an event. An experienced and knowledgeable caterer is capable of making things go as planned so you can relax and enjoy your event. Therefore, it is worth every effort searching and hiring a reliable catering agency you can trust.
- Have a budget
Before searching for caterers, you must set your budget. Just like every other industry, catering agencies also come in different forms and shapes in order to provide the needed services to various market or individuals. It is not wise to waste time on a company you cannot afford or settle for a locale takeaway if your budget is small.
- Carry out adequate research
Presently, there are several competitive catering businesses. The available catering companies have a distinct specialty. Make sure you take time to look through available caterers online or in your location to get the ones that will give you the service you truly desire. Browse through prices and menus, most of which are available on their websites, so you can learn more about the catering company.
Ask your family, friends, and colleagues – you may find someone that knows about a good catering agency. A referral from trustworthy friends is just the best
- Differentiate apples to apples
There are several catering companies with distinct prices. Some catering firm displays their standard price, while all trimmings have an additional price. Also, note that other catering companies operate on an inclusive basis. So when carrying out your research, ensure you contrast apples to apples.
Don’t get carried away by catering companies with low prices. If it doesn’t seem right, then it doesn’t. Make certain that you collate the food of similar quality, portion sizes, and the same addition in the price.
- Plan a consultation
A reputable catering company offers a complimentary consultation to talk about your expectations and requirements. It is a perfect opportunity to learn more about the catering company and the services they will offer. During the consultation, you will find out the level at which they operate, their expertise and if you are comfortable working with them.
- Ascertain the value of the food
Well, this is quite obvious – before spending a huge amount of money on an event, it is imperative that you examine the food to know if it is what you want. Several catering companies have distinct policies regarding food tastings. Most caterers charge a small fee to get rid of unserious clients, while others companies do it without charging a fee.
- Request for references
Asking the company for references is absolutely normal. Reading through every customer testimonials is another great idea– you can search for other sources, do not rely on the company’s website alone.
Due to the advent of technology – where the internet (social media) determines the order of how we organize and manage a business, companies can no longer hide information. So, carry out proper research, look for information about the catering company you hope to work with.
- Understand the company’s terms and conditions
It is vital to always read the terms of a company when evaluating a contract. There are three basic questions you must ask:
Payment schedule – some catering agencies will request a particular deposit. The deposit might be a fraction of the overall invoice or a fixed amount. Furthermore, some companies charge another part two weeks before the event and the rest balance immediately after the event.
Cancellation policy – What if you want to call off your event? What will happen to your deposit? Is there any cut-off time to cancel with no consequences? Make sure you understand the cancellation guideline and put it in writing.
Changing the guest menu and count – When is the final date for implementing changes to the number of guests and menu? Basically, a catering firm needs all the basic details 72 hours before the event.
- Consider extra charges
Not only is it important to have a budget, you should stick to the budget. Also, knowing the actual price for a catering service is very vital. First, you must know about all the necessary fees like gratuities and taxes.
You must know the services included by the catering company. If you require a dinner (especially a sit-down dinner) you require a service staff (basically 1 server for about 7-10 people). Usually, the price does not include the service staff, however, it is negotiable. For huge functions, you need to set up a deal.
Are linens, glassware, and cutlery included in the dinner price? Or there is an extra charge for that? Generally, there is no standard – it is contingent on how the companies fix the prices. Some companies provide White napkins and linens; however, if you require a specific color, you just have to hire them.
- Ask if the catering company offer extra services
Is the catering company responsible for your rentals needs and flowers? – Linens, chair covers, napkins etc.? Note that you may safe cost and other expenses if you handle this yourself.
- Ask questions, don’t assume
Calling your catering company several times a day might seem improper; however, you shouldn’t assume things including the services they offer. It is good to ask if silverware and Chinaware come along with other amenities. Detailed, oriented, and diligent caterers welcome any questions you may have because you will be giving them all the basic information and confirm everything again – it makes the caterer’s job easier.
Whatever the event you are planning, choosing the perfect caterer is very crucial, however, it is not an easy task. Be prepared, do your research. Don’t get carried away by low-priced and shady catering companies that promise you the best and end up delivering nothing. Make sure you ask important questions, however, remain professional and reasonable.