Questions to Ask Before You Book Your Caterer
Food and drink consume almost one third of your event budget, so it’s only inevitable that you choose the right caterer for your event. Food, taste, presentation and service all matter and help make your event as memorable as possible for all the right reasons. Before you sign a caterer, pepper them with your questions and be sure to be satisfied with their responses. Here is list of questions to ask to ensure you’re communicating exactly what you need.
Can you work with our budget?
Your budget determines what you want to serve, how to serve and everything else. You need to be upfront about your food budget and your food vision when visiting your potential caterers. This helps to narrow down your list of caterers who you can realistically hire.
What’s in the contract?
Understanding the contract gives you outline of everything you will and won’t get and how much everything will cost. Be sure that you understand everything listed in the contract and ask for clarification if needed.
Not all services are included in the base rate so be sure to ask your potential caterer what extra fees may be tacked on your tab. You need to know what’s expected so you’re not surprised when you get the bill. They will know kitchen access and facilities and may know the venue staff and site guidelines, helping to focus on preparing and executing your delicious food.
Where will the food be prepared?
Depending on your wedding venue, there may or may not be a kitchen or cooking facilities on site. Most if the food is prepared off-site, the food need to be reheated which reduces the quality and taste of food. Also the caterer will require to bring in special equipment.
Can you get reference from previous clients?
This is an important question to ask of almost every wedding vendor. Why you want to know: references can tell you what you may not find out just by talking to the caterer, including what it’s like to work with this company or individual. Get at least two references who had a similar number of wedding guests and reception menu style.You should also ask the caterer how much experience they have of events like yours.
Do you offer tasting?
Before you decide what’s on menu, taste the caterer’s cuisine sample. Ask them if they offer tasting before booking. Some caterers offer group tastings to give preview about their style and some offer specific custom tastings based on what you‘d like for your event.
Who will be working your event?
Some caterers have their day packed with more than one event. This doesn’t have to affect your decisions, just be sure to ask them how they will handle your event, how many staff and attentions your event deserves, should there be other events. Will your catering manager be your on-site point-of-contact or will someone else be filling in? Find out who’s cooking, too.
Can we customize our menu?
Your event means you have some sort of dish you want to serve your guests like your family recipe or favorite food you want to include in your feast. However you do need to trust your caterer when they deter you from some recipe as they are expert in food business and know what works and not to your event theme. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.
Can you accommodate different dietary requirements?
There bound to be some guests with dietary requirements, so ask how your caterer will be dealing with these? You should think about vegetarian and vegan options, as well as gluten-free and dairy-free selections. What about nut allergies?What level of communication can they provide about food ingredients?
Are you licensed and insured?
Make sure your caterer is licensed and insured and meets health department standards. This will protect you and your guests, should anything occur during or after your event related to food.