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Getting a Caterer for any event is an extremely important decision. Corporate, or private, large or small, choosing the right Caterer is imperative. There are lots of catering companies in the market so you need to do your research and select carefully in order to guarantee the success of your event. This article gives you a step-by-step guide to deciding on the best Caterer along with a useful checklist.


Before seeking a Caterer you need to consider your catering needs and collect information that the Caterer will need to know:

What it's time and date from the event?
Do you have a budget in mind?
Where is the event being held? (Or are you needing a venue?)
Is there a kitchen at the venue?
How many guests are you currently expecting?
Do any of your guests have particular dietary requirements?
Does your event have a theme?
Do you would like a particular style of cuisine?
Do you require decorations, flowers, table settings?
Do you have to hire equipment? (Tables, chairs, linen, crockery etc)

Once you have answered these questions you will have a wise decision of the services you will require. A great Caterer will offer an entire plan to save your running around organizing things separately. Having everything organised by one company can help your event run smoothly and reduce your workload.


After you've completed your preparation it's the perfect time for some research. First you need to find some catering services. The easiest method to do this is to seek recommendations. You are able to ask friends, family and colleagues. Or use a internet search engine for any listing of professional caterers in the region your event will take place.

Now select a short-list of Caterers based on the needs you identified inside your preparation. For instance you may have identified that the venue doesn't have a kitchen, or that the guests have particular dietary concerns or that you need to hire equipment.

Once you have a summary of several Caterers refer to them as with a list of questions to make sure they are reputable and are able to handle your unique requirements.

What to look for

First of all, does the Caterer provide a range of menu options including the particular cuisine you are after? Most good Caterers will have detailed menu listings online. Failing this, you can contact the organization and have this information emailed or faxed to you.

Which kind of function are you organizing? Is it private or corporate, small or large, casual or formal, inside and out? Whatever the case, ensure that your chosen Caterer can handle the kind of function you are planning.

Ensure the Caterer is available on the day that you want. (With no weekend or public holiday loading.) Also check that the Caterer includes a 24 hour service and is contactable 7 days a week. Many events are held after hours or on weekends for it to be a great disadvantage and frustration if you cannot contact your Caterer at night or on the Sunday morning whenever you suddenly think of something you need to discuss! And also you certainly don't wish to pay more for your catering just because your event isn't in business hours.

Will the Caterer provide their own waiting staff? Are the staff familiar with the style of event you are planning? Can they be professionally attired? Will the staff look after from delivery and preparation to waiting and clearing up afterwards?

Based on the needs that you identified in your preparation, does the Caterer supply the equipment that you require? This may include tables, chairs, linen, crockery, glassware, cutlery or perhaps ovens along with a bar serving area. Get them to able to provide the thing you need so that you don't have to do additional playing around after event hire. Also ensure that their devices are new as well as in excellent condition. You don't want tatty linen and tarnished silverware to accept sparkle from your event.

Perhaps you require a venue for the event? If so, a Caterer who can source a venue for you personally will save you time and come with an established relationship with the venue. This can streamline the whole catering experience and make your lifetime a lot easier!

If you are planning a style for the event, can the catering service help you to achieve your required atmosphere, from cuisine choices to decorations and table settings?

Which side the meals be prepared? If your venue does not have a kitchen the Caterer will have to prepare and heat it in their premises and then deliver it ready to serve.

Can the Caterer organize beverages? There is lots involved in the logistics if you need to do this yourself. First you have to physically buy the drinks after which transport these to your venue. You will want somewhere to store them along with a approach to keeping them cool. On the day you'll need staff for everyone the drinks plus a bar serving area, plus glasses etc. Therefore if the catering service doesn't handle almost anything to do with the drinks there is a lot more tasks to add to your to-do-list.

May be the company a real Caterer? (Not just a bakery or cafe). There's in the end a lot more to catering than simply the meals, which means you need to select a Caterer who's familiar with all aspects of event catering.

For reassurance, check that the organization is a member of any relevant Catering Associations, or also ask for references. A great Caterer must have absolutely nothing to hide.

Ensure that the catering service you are considering comes with an actual premises and isn't just an online middleman. (In the case of the latter, you might have problems with food quality, accountability and find it difficult to contact the organization.)

What payment methods will the company accept? Make sure they accept all forms, including credit card, and that there is no additional charge for using a credit. Be very cautious about companies that will only accept cash. You've hardly any bargaining power should things fail.

Does the Caterer need a deposit? Just about all will, however the amount will vary considerably. The low the deposit the greater.

What is their cancellation policy? Are you able to get all your money-back should the event be cancelled?

Have they got a postponement policy? Hopefully the Caterer can simply change the date. Although some people might will charge a fee with this.

Here's a quick checklist to help you find the right Caterer:

Menu options - Do they have what you deserve for? (Including any special dietary requirements?)
Can they look after your particular function? (Corporate, private etc)
Are they available on your day of your planned event?
Are they contactable 24/7?
Can they offer staff? Are the staff professional and familiar with your style of event?
Can they organise equipment hire? Is the equipment in good condition?
Can they arrange a venue for you personally if required?
If required, can they advise you regarding theming and decorations?
Are they flexible regarding food preparation for those who have limited kitchen facilities?
Can the catering service organise beverages?
Are they actual Caterers, as opposed to a bakery or cafe?
Are they part of the Restaurant & Catering association?
Ask for references.
Does the Caterer have actual premises, not just a web-based reseller?
Do they accept all payment methods including credit?
Do there is a credit surcharge?
What deposit will they require?
What is their cancellation policy?
What is the postponement policy?


Get a Quote

Once you've went through above checklist and identified an established Caterer that may fulfill your requirements, it's time to get into the specifics and get a quote.

Good service Caterers generally have a properly designed online form to submit for a quick quote that make things easier and quicker for you personally. However you may prefer personal service so it's important that the Caterer you decide on is easy to make contact with.

In seeking a quote, it's helpful for the Caterer if you're able to advise a budget. That way, they can enable you to design a menu based around what you can spend, how many guests you're expecting and what other services you need (such as staff and equipment for example.) A great Caterer has a wealth of knowledge and will probably have some inspired suggestions that may not have occurred to you simply from perusing their menu selections.

When you settle on the meals, staff, equipment, drinks, venue or anything else you need, request a detailed quote.

Be sure that the quote covers everything including tax and delivery so that you're not stung with hidden extras once you've dedicated to the catering service.

Place your order!

Now you've conducted your initial preparation and research along with obtaining a detailed quote. If you are happy with the price and you've got been through everything on the above checklist, you're ready to place your order! And you may achieve this using the confidence of getting chosen the right Caterer for the job!

Posted Mar 21, 2013 at 3:50pm