7 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Catering Company
There's no denying the importance of food and service quality when it comes to hosting an event -- no matter the occasion. If there's one thing your guests will remember and talk about, it's the amazing catering. But it works both ways. If the catering is not up to scratch, it's not easy to forget, either.
All in all, the food at your event can actually make or break its success. That's why you need to do your homework when it comes to hiring the right catering company so that your guests are left talking about the food for all the right reasons.
Here are a few of the top questions to run by the catering company you choose.
1. What Type of Food Do You Specialize In?
All catering companies have their own range of specialties. Some might offer buffet-style food as a specialty, and that's it. While others might offer plated menu options, food stations, cocktail-style service, action stations, food truck catering, and more.
You want to get a clear idea of whether your caterer has experience in providing cuisine that matches up with your type of event, as well as the theme of your event.
It's also important to ensure your catering service offers options for all dietary requirements, i.e. vegan, vegetarian, and allergy-related options.
2. As a Catering Company, What Do You Recommend?
This question might seem a little vague, but it's helpful if you're a little clueless in terms of the type of catering you want to offer at your event. An experienced caterer should be able to offer you advice on the best type of catering option to suit the occasion, as well as your budget.
They should offer advice on a catering style that suits your guest count, event theme, as well as the best staff-to-guest ratio. The more experienced and reputable a catering company is, the more detail they should offer when it comes to recommendations.
3. What Do Your Catering Packages Include?
Depending on the breadth and variety of services your caterer offers, you might have a few different price packages to choose from.
Before you choose a particular package, make sure to clearly understand what it includes. For example, if you choose a per person price package, does it include food, drink, and place settings, or just food and drink alone?
This is one of the most important considerations to keep in mind so that you can stay on track with your budget. Bear in mind that most catering services offer a per-guest rate -- but it's important to know exactly what that includes.
4. How Do You Tackle Last-Minute Dietary Requests?
In many instances, you might have a guest forget to mention their dietary preferences or needs, beforehand. This is not uncommon.
However, this puts you in a bit of a pickle as you want to ensure every single guest is well catered for. With this in mind, it's important to ask your caterer how they'd handle a situation like this.
Make sure they clearly outline this process ahead of the event so that you have a clear understanding of how they work under pressure.
5. Do You Offer Menu Sampling?
Any caterer worth their reputation should offer you a sample of the menu or catering option you choose.
This gives you the chance to get a real feel for the type of food they are capable of creating. It also gives you a clear idea of whether the menu you choose will fit the theme of your event.
Think of it as a trial run that will help you make your final decision. Don't forget to ask what their tasting/sampling menus cost, too.
6. What Does Your Event Schedule Look Like?
It's no secret that caterers are busy people. The more popular and reputable the caterer you choose, the more jam-packed their schedule.
This is why you want to ask your caterer if they have the availability beforehand. There's nothing more disappointing than finding out your caterer is double booked on the day of your event.
Some caterers may have more than one event on the same day as yours. If this is the case, ask them to outline how they handle their timings and schedule.
7. Who Is Your Event Contact Person?
The day of your event will most likely be stressful. With so many moving parts to bring together, you need to know who your point-of-contact is when it comes to your catering.
It's crucial that you enjoy working with this person. They need to be ''on the ball'' and put your mind at ease. Before you head into the day of your event, have a good idea of who's included in your catering team.
Bonus Questions Worth Asking
Aside from the above-mentioned considerations, you also want to go over a few other essential points. Some of these include:
Have they catered at your chosen event venue before?
What do they provide in terms of equipment, silverware, crockery, linens, etc.?
Do they provide a set-up and clean-down service?
Approximately how long do their set-up and clean down services take?
What type of early access to the venue do they need? I.e. how much time in advance before the event?
Are there any important delivery logistics you need to keep in mind?
Remember to ask about their cancelation and refund policy, too. You never know what might crop up in the lead-up to your event. You need to ensure you cover all your bases and protect your budget!
David Alan Caterers Has Your Event Covered
Whether you're looking for a reputable catering company for a corporate or private event, a wedding, or a birthday party, David Alan is your go-to.
We offer professional catering services throughout the New Jersey/New York City area, inclusive of culinary, event planning, and design professionals.
Get in touch with our team for unforgettable catering services.