You choose to hire a caterer for your events so you can fully enjoy your time with your guests. But poor food quality or bad service can ruin a party. So how do you decide which caterer is the best? Below are things to do and look out for:
Draw up an initial list of caterers from recommendations
When doing your initial list of potential caterers, ask for recommendations from family, friends and business associates. Ask about not just the food but also their experience with the caterer. You can also call party venues in your area and ask for their lists of approved caterers. This initial search is to create a shortlist of potential caterers you wish to interview for your event. Choose a few that looks like a good fit to your needs.
From the initial list, choose caterers who specialise in your type of event
Make sure that the caterers are experienced in catering for your specific type of event. Some specialise in small, intimate social events while others specialise in large, corporate settings.
From this smaller group, ask for proposal submissions using Delegate
Let these prospective caterers know the following information:
- the type of event you are planning and your goals for the party
- approximate budget
- details of your event (number of attendees, venue, food / menu preferences, party theme, other relevant details)
Give the exact same information to all potential caterers so that you can have a fair comparison. Most caterers will provide a detailed estimate, with a breakdown of services and costs.
The next step is to meet with the caterers to discuss their services and get a sense of how they deal with clients.
- From the proposals, ask detailed questions about the food and food presentation. Discuss menu variety, quality, flavour and appearance.
- Find out what their specialties are. Let them know your expectations. Tell them exactly what and how you want to be served. You should also discuss drinks and alcohol if applicable. The ideal caterer should be willing to consider special requests, showing a bit of flexibility in their menu options.
- Enquire about the staff. Are the chef and kitchen staff experienced? How many staff will be on duty at your event?
- Has the caterer worked at the venue before and is familiar with the venue’s facilities and rules?
- Don’t forget to request for client references and photos.
- During your meetings and phone calls, take note of how responsive and interested a caterer is during your conversations. You would want to deal with service providers who show genuine concern to clients.
Schedule the tasting session
From your meetings with the caterers, decide which companies have captured the ideas for your event within your specified budget. You then proceed to the tasting session. Of course you need to know what the food on your menu will taste like.
Clarify the contract
The contract given by the caterer should spell out exactly what food, beverages and services will be provided on the specified date. Every detail should be in the contract, including selected menus, number of servings, number of people to be served, beverage or bar service details and all pricing and additional and optional services. The contract will also detail how many staff will be provided and what their roles will be. The payment schedule and cancellation terms should also be detailed.
When looking for a caterer for your next house party or corporate event, choose a professional catering company that delivers delicious food and excellent service. Book early as the best caterers are always in demand. Find, compare and hire them here at Delegate!