10 Tips To Avoid A Disastrous Catering Experience
Whether you are having a catered party at home or at a reception venue, you will need to be sure of the quality and professionalism of the catering staff you hire. Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking for a caterer:
1. Ask for references. Discuss the training and experience of the catering staff. Is it sufficient for your event?
2. Check that they have all the necessary paperwork such as insurance, health permits and correct licenses for their work.
3. If you are hiring them for a venue, check they are familiar with the working procedures at this venue.
4. How formal will your event be? Is it a sit-down affair where guests are served their meal or will it be a buffet-style reception? The caterer needs to know this information to plan accordingly.
5. Inform your caterer of your budget for their services. You may be surprised to learn just how much has to come out of the catering budget. Apart from food costs it can also include crockery and cutlery hire, drinks, corkage, cake-cutting and service fee, table decorations, bartender, set-up and clear away services. Not all caterers do everything, but some will provide the lot. You need to make sure what you are getting for your money.
6. Ask what the ratio of guests to wait staff will be. Will there be a head staff member you can go to on the night should a problem occur? Discuss how the staff will dress and if you have any special requirements for their attire (such as with a theme party).
7. If guests have special dietary needs, can they be accommodated? Make sure you get this information to the caterer well in advance.
8. Ask the caterer for a schedule of events for the reception. What courses will be served and how long between each course?
9. When you are presented with the contract for their services, ensure there is a complete breakdown of all costs, with an amount per head indicated. The contract should also include any equipment rentals that the caterer will supply, such as table decor, crockery, tables and chairs. Ensure overtime rates for staff is included should your party run overtime, as well as the cancellation policy. You don’t want any nasty surprises.
10. Lastly, ensure that the caterer is happy with all arrangements. Don’t leave any areas of service or cost unclear. Both caterer and host need to be clear on all facets to have a successful party.