Top 8 Catering Mistakes: Don’t Let These Happen to You

Catering is about more than just the food you serve at your event – it affects the overall atmosphere of the event. Rude servers, bad timing, or undercooked dishes can make your life a lot more stressful. We’ve rounded up some the top catering mistakes and tell you how to avoid them.

1. Miscommunication: Create a contract so that miscommunication will not be a problem for your event. Make sure the caterer has added detailed information on their proposal including the arrival time of staff as well as any special requests you may have asked for (ie–a gluten free entree option for your Uncle Mike).

2. Attempting “do-it-yourself” catering: Though it may seem like a great way to save money, doing your own catering for a large event or wedding will likely cause more stress than it’s worth. Sure, you could ask your cousin to bartend, but a good caterer will have well-trained staff who work together on a consistent basis. If you are concerned about cost, opt for passed hors d’oeuvres rather than a served dinner.

3. Not booking enough time: Make sure that you work closely with the caterer to ensure that you know exactly how many hours they will show up before the event and stay after the event. Most caterers will allow one hour for their staff to breakdown and clean up–so if you’re renting a venue by the hour or shift you’ll need to allow enough time for this to happen.

4. Not checking for guests’ allergies: The worse thing that could happen at your event would be an allergic reaction, so have everyone list allergies on their RSVP. Ask that the caterer include this note on their seating chart and menus used by their kitchen and waitstaff.

5. Booking a catering venue that is too small: Always err on the side of caution when booking a venue and always overestimate the number of guests who will arrive, especially to account for those who might bring an extra guest.

6. Not getting references: Ask your caterer for one or two references and be sure to contact them with specific questions that are of concern to you.

7. Dishes are too unfamiliar: Not all of your guests may be foodies, so keep the menu a mix of the familiar and the exotic.

8. Catering Menu isn’t seasonal: Be wary of caterer with menus items that are out-of-season ie–strawberries in January. Chances are this caterer doesn’t change the menu often and is using sub-par ingredients.