Hiring a caterer for the first time can be a little overwhelming. Sure, they say their food is great, their servers are impeccable, and that everything will go smoothly. But how do you know that you’re really getting the best deal? Here are some questions that everyone should ask their caterer, before the day of the event.
1. When can you schedule a taste sampling of the food? This is a critical question for determining whether you want this caterer to work for you.
2. Which items will the caterer provide, and which items do you need to provide? Be sure to ask about linens, table runners, tables, chairs, decorations, and table settings.
3. How many servers are on the wait staff, and how many does your event need? The wait staff needs to be highly professional, and your caterer should be able to provide details on the number needed for your event.
4. How accommodating will they be on special food needs, allergies, and vegetarian options? They should be willing to offer a variety of options for all your guests.
5. Can they show or provide you with sample photos of events similar to yours? Seeing professional photos taken of other similarly sized and themed events will help you gauge how your event will turn out.
6. Does the caterer provide a bar, or do you need to hire a separate bartender? Some catering services will not allow the client to provide his or her own beverages–so be sure to ask if this is a possibility.
7. Who are some of your previous clients? If you are planning a corporate event, seeing prestigious past clients will boost your confidence.
8. Who will be responsible for cleaning up and to what degree will the event be cleaned up? You don’t want to be left with a big mess on your hands.
9. What are the various pricing options and how can I save money? This is obvious! Make sure you’re aware of any extra set-up or take down fees. Your caterer should be able to provide you a clear idea of pricing.
10. Last but not least–Can you feel their passion? What separates the good from the great in any business–and especially in catering–are those that are the most jazzed about what they do. This will come through in their food and service. Inspired caterers will go the extra mile in making sure your needs are served. If you get the sense the passion isn’t there–move on!