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7 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing the Best Caterer

One of the keys to a successful event is having a good caterer. They will not only take care of the delicious food but will also ensure food safety for you and your guests.  Here are some steps to help you find one:

Narrow Down Your Choices

Before compiling a list of catering companies for your special event, be sure that you already have a list of what you want and what you don’t want (e.g., menu, ambiance, and presentation). You will be able to discuss these matters with several prospective caterers and narrow your search.

Visit their Kitchen

Caterers are often judged by their kitchen and, by extension, by their chefs and staff members. But there’s a good reason for it. You’ll know if they’re clean and if they are experts at what they do simply by doing an ocular inspection of their “work area.” Ask for a one-time short visit to check the cleanliness of the facilities, determine the professional qualities of the staff members, and gauge the quality of the food, among others. 

Ask for Menu Options

Keep in mind that not all caterers are suitable for the special event you have in mind because they may have their own specialization. Ask the caterer about their specialties and facilities (e.g., off-site refrigeration), type of service delivered (e.g., sit-down or buffet), and menu options (e.g., Italian, Japanese, or fusion). 

Find Out Their Staff Availability

Ask the caterer about his/her staffing capacity in relation to your catering needs. For example, the caterer may not be able to deliver on a sit-down dinner since the waiters available are for buffet events.  (Note: In buffets, 2 servers can serve 30 guests while in sit-down dinners, 1 waiter can serve a table of 8 guests)

Ask for Client Referrals

Most successful caterers build their clientele through word-of-mouth. Ask prospective caterers for client referrals, call their customers and ask them about their experiences with the caterers. 

Do Menu Tastings

Don’t just take the word of the caterers about the quality of their food. Ask for at least one menu tasting of their specialties. This task can be made easier when the caterer already has a restaurant where the dishes and desserts are on the menu. 

Agree on the Cost

Be clear about your budget. Discuss which aspects you are willing to compromise on, such as presentation in favor of more food, so that realistic expectations can be set.  Ask for a breakdown of the costs so that you can make better decisions, and ask if there are any hidden charges

Keep in mind that you have to take a hands-on approach toward hiring the best caterer. Food, after all, is the center point of social gatherings e.  You want your guests to enjoy the food so they will compliment you about how great your party is. 

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