When it comes to event planning - whether it’s your wedding or your company’s holiday party - one of the most important elements of the event is food. Does this mean you need to spend your entire budget on F&B? Not at all!
We've put together our top five tips for selecting the right caterer for your event!
1. Determine your budget
Before you even start looking for a caterer, take time to review your budget and determine how much you want to spend. There isn’t a right or wrong amount, but be realistic: whether you have $20 or $200 to spend per person, this number will be instrumental when you begin researching caterers.
Every company you speak with will offer their service at different price points, so if you know how much you are willing to spend, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy when proposals are requested. One of the first questions each caterer will ask is “What is your budget?” - if you can provide this information at the very beginning, then the caterer will be able to customize their proposal based on the budget you provided.
2. Work with your venue
Many venues have an exclusive list of vendors they allow onsite - these vendors typically have worked there in the past and understand the venue’s rules (how to load-in, what needs to be done to protect the property, etc). With that said, your venue can be a wonderful resource because they have seen the vendors in action, and frequently receive feedback from clients.
Often times, if your venue knows your budget, then they can recommend a caterer that fits your needs. If your venue has a preferred vendor list, make sure you speak with them to get their honest feedback and suggestions.
3. Ask questions
Catering can be one of the largest expenses of an event, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your vendors are here to educate you on the planning process, and as experts in their field, they can provide you with a wealth of information.
Catering involves so much more than just food, and when it is time to compare proposals from other caterers, it is important that you understand what is promised in each contract. Some questions to keep in mind include:
How many servers are included?
Are china, glassware, and other servingware included?
How many hours of service are included?
What happens to leftover food?
4. Speak to other caterers
It is always a smart idea to speak with other caterers to understand how each company differs in their service style, menu offering, and cost. The bottom line is always a key factor to consider, but sometimes, what may seem like a less expensive option might not include the same items (such as rentals or wait staff) as another company. Again, don’t be afraid to ask questions - this is the only way you’ll have a full understanding of what is included in your contract.
Although you might be in the early stages of the planning process, how your caterer communicates with you at this point will give you a sneak peek into how your entire planning journey will go. Does the caterer take weeks to respond? Do they leave out important details from your proposal? If your caterer goes MIA or consistently sends you the wrong information, then you can expect to receive the same type of communication leading up to your special event. This can create challenges, especially as you get closer to your event date.
Once you find a caterer that meets all of your criteria, you’ll be one step closer to creating a memorable event!
P.S. The Pink Salt Cuisine team is always available to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us here for more information!