Do you have an important event on the way? Hiring a caterer will be the most important decision you make. After all, a good portion of your budget should be allotted for the food and beverage segment of your event.
Before the considerations for caterers begin, you must know a few things about your event. For instance:
- Will the event be casual, semi-formal, formal, or black-tie?
- Will you be serving heavy hors d’oeuvres, or having a seated dinner? What about a buffet or brunch?
- Where will the event be held?
- What is your estimated budget?
The caterers you approach for your event will ask the questions above before they will be able to give you a sample menu to preview, so it is best to be prepared.
Now that the initial questions have been answered it’s time to move on with your search for the perfect caterer. If you don’t have one already in mind there are a few ways to narrow your search. Start by looking in the Yellow Pages and writing down any companies that strike your interest. You could also ask friends who they’ve used in the past. Once you are armed with a few names and numbers, start making phone calls. Make a list of questions that you would like to ask the caterer. Some of the questions you might want to ask are:
- Are you available on the date I have chosen?
- Can you work with my budget?
- Can I sample the foods before I choose?
- Can I attend a function you have coming up?
- Do you have a list of references?
Every caterer should be able to give you a list of references. If they do not, find someone else! Take advantage of the list of references. You will be able to get some useful information out of the references. For instance, they can tell you what the most popular thing on their menu was and you can be sure to request it.
During your search for a caterer never rule out country club restaurants. Many country clubs have top of the line chefs that would be perfect for your event. There are also “catering companies” that specialize in parties and events. And, of course, last but not least, most restaurants can cater your event as well.
Finally, never be afraid to ask your caterer questions. You have every right to know exactly what will be going on at your event. After all, the caterer is there to ensure a successful event.
Erin Sharplin Love