Saturday, January 25, 2014

Questions to ask the caterer

1. What types of food options are available?
2. What is the average price range?
a. Are customized menus, available?
b. What is included with that price (linen, tax, gratuity, china, flatware, glasses, etc.)?
c. Ask for a copy of the menus, with prices.
d. Are children discounted? 
3. What is the largest amount of people they can prepare food for? Are there any other events taking place the same day as mine?
4. Is there a certain amount of time the caterer will have the food out? Example: if a group eats at 6:00 p.m.; how long after that time will the buffet remain open?
5. Are samples or tastings available? Is there an additional fee for tastings?
6. Do they offer special menus for dietary restrictions (vegetarian, vegan, kosher, gluten, etc.)?
7. Can they provide references from previous customers?
8. Can they provide photos from previous events?
9. Are there any additional fees (bartenders, travel fees, plating fees, etc.)?
10. When is the final head count needed?
a. Do you prepare anything over the guaranteed head count?
b. What happens if you have less than your head count? Over?
c. Is there a minimum number?
11. When are the final menu selections needed?
12. What happens to the leftover food? Are we allowed to take it? Can it be donated to a local shelter?
13. Do you cut cakes (wedding cakes)? If so, is there a cake-cutting fee? How much?
14. Are cake plates and forks provided or is there an additional fee?
15. Do you provide any centerpieces or decorations for the tables?
16. Do you provide bartenders? Mixers?
17. When is the final payment due?
a. What types of payments are accepted?
18. How much of a deposit is required to book services?
19. How many servers will be working my event, based on my tentative head count?
20. What will the servers be wearing?

Other General Caterer Questions

1. How long have you been in business?
2. On average, how many events do you cater each year?
3. If catering at an off-site location, ask if they have ever catered at that event location?
4. It's great to get a good idea of what is included in clean-up (who is responsible for setting-up tables and chairs, who is responsible for breaking them down, what happens to the trash, etc.).