event caterer that you can. What’s involved in the process? Setting your budget and sticking to it! Event catering is often the first or the second biggest decision to make in terms of budget. Caterers offer varying meal types and prices, so you must also consider all the options. Let’s go through factors which you should look at when deciding if you should hire a particular event caterer or not. Responsiveness An event catering service may provide you with delicious food at affordable prices, but if they don’t return your calls or reply to your emails, would you want to work with them? There is just no guarantee if they’ll put in the effort to meet your needs or not. Your event catering company should respond to all your requests in a timely manner – for us, this is the first and foremost characteristic of a reliable catering service. Just reflect back upon the first conversation that you had with them, and you’ll get an idea of how responsive they are and how willingly they will handle your questions and needs. Ideally, a reliable event catering service should try and get as much information as possible during the initial conversations that you have with them. This shows that they are interested in knowing more about the kind of event that you want to organize. Expertise Caterers offer services for different events, and sometimes, they may be perfect for your particular event. As an example, ABC caterer might be a pro at holding corporate events, and if you hire them for that purpose, you wouldn’t be disappointed. But if they haven’t organized many weddings before, their process may not adapt as well, should you hire them for your big day. While most caterers will let you know if they don’t have the required expertise, you should also find out on your own by asking other trusted vendors. Flexibility Every caterer has its own menu which they may change according to the season or your theme. The extent to which they will make modifications varies from the caterer to caterer and is something that you must consider when evaluating and comparing them. The best caterers are always willing to offer other items that may not be on the standardized menu to cater to your needs. Should you request them, they can even add or drop items to bring the overall catering expenses within your budget. But like we said, only the best caters do this. So if you come across a company that shows resistance in adapting their menu, look elsewhere. Event Size How small or big of an event are you organizing? How many people are there on the guest list? Your chosen caterer should be able to handle all your guests. Let the catering companies know these details beforehand because the numbers will affect the rates they offer. Customer Reviews Going through customer reviews can give you a fairly good idea of what it’s like to work with a certain caterer. Previous clients often write reviews on various websites on the internet as well as social media, so do check them out. If you come across even a few negative reviews for a certain caterer, think again before hiring them. Costs Catering costs can rise quickly, derailing your budget. While you should not compromise on the quality of food, keep your desired budget in mind when making a decision. See if your caterer provides different options, even if you wind up favoring the original package you started with. Also, consider taking quotes from multiple event caterers before you select any one of them. Preparation How will the caterer prepare your food? Moreover, will they deliver the food to the venue and help to make all the arrangements? A helpful and knowledgeable caterer will have the answers to these questions, as well as terms such as delivery charges and scheduling the food to arrive on time. Available Staff Catering companies do provide staff, regardless of your event type. Personnel includes buffet staff, sit-down meal servers, and bar staff. Buffet – the number of guests you have will dictate the number of servers you need. For a very large event, such as with over 500 attendees, extra buffet staff may be required for restocking dishes, clearing away the tables and so on. Sit-Down Meals – Your catering company will arrange with your venue how many servers are needed, depending on your room layout and orientation. Feel free to ask questions about this. You’ll likely want drinks served by additional staff to keep the meal organized and running smoothly. Bar Staff – One bartending station may be sufficient for small groups, with a second or even third station for large parties. If you have any specialized items on the menu and need separate stations, then request extra staff from your caterer. Tastings The caterer you’re about to choose may be the very best and highly reputed. However, you should still see if tastings are available, even if you have worked with them in the past. There may be a charge for this, but that’s fine because at least you’ll know you’re hiring the right caterer. Be wary of caterers who are not willing to offer you tastings of your chosen dishes. Details Consider every single detail, no matter how little it is, and work out everything beforehand. This will save you from surprises closer to the event date. Also, trust the catering company you hire to make the best decisions on your behalf, so you can relax and enjoy the event itself. How helpful were our suggestions when you were evaluating different catering companies? Do let us know! Author Bio: Lauren is Sales Manager at Personal Touch Dining, an award-winning wedding catering company, supplies all levels of San Diego Catering Services. The Personal Touch Dining team has gained widespread recognition for their creative and diverse menus, with seasonal ingredients for every occasion. Lauren enjoys blogging about tips and trends in the wedding and event industry and sharing ideas and tips with those planning for an upcoming event.]]>