Tips for Choosing an Event Catering Company
One of the things people remember most about any event is the food — whether it was knock-your-socks-off delicious or (to go to extremes) gave someone food poisoning. Food goes a long way at big events, and the catering company you choose will help set the tone for your party, event, or wedding. Of course, we aim for a smashing success in all aspects at any party (and that includes the food!), so here are a few useful tips you will need in choosing a catering company for your happy day.
- Do your research. Which companies offer catering services in your city? More importantly, how are their reviews and references? Would they be able to provide catering service at the venue you’ve chosen? What are their rates and what exactly do they cover? This will help you avoid a nasty shock after the event when you get the bill and see that you’ve been charged for several services you didn’t need.
- Interview your caterers. This is part of the research process but deserves its own bullet because it tends to get overlooked. Having a sit-down conversation with your potential caterers gives you a feel of whether you will be able to work with them, and a chance to ask questions and discuss important issues, such as budget and meal plans, firsthand. Most event planners recommend (and we agree) sitting down with at least three caterers to explore your options. You can also talk about payment processes, cancellation plans (what the contract covers in case the caterer cancels), and other administrative matters.
- Ask if they are able to cater to your specific event. It’s good to ask around for references as well. Not all catering companies will have experience catering for a garden Bohemian wedding at sunset, but they may have had more experience running lakeside BBQ corporate events just outside the city. This involves menu sampling, transport considerations, and any special equipment that might also need to be brought to the venue. Look for catering companies with a wide range of events experience – from small to large scale, and can handle what you are specifically looking for in your event. Check if they specialize in types of events too! If you find a good reputable caterer that offers tried and tested kick-butt wedding services, then consider giving them a try.
- Ask for a sampling session. Whether the catering company requires a fee for this or not is something you’ll need to find out. This, however, is a must-service, and any company that is dodgy on providing a sampling session should get crossed off your list. A sampling session allows you to see firsthand what their food is like, and to evaluate more than just the taste. A good catering company also gives special attention to the style and presentation of its dishes, which are important to any event and should fit the overall mood and theme. It also lets you experiment with wine pairings and other necessary combinations in the meal. Go to sampling sessions for at least three different caterers before you make a decision.
- Look for catering companies that allow special considerations in their dishes. Caterers generally have a standard menu selection for you to go through, and most will provide a level of flexibility for specific dishes, or for meals to be done a certain way, by exchanging or replacing ingredients. But look for catering companies that pay special attention to what your needs are and are willing to customize their dishes that suit your preferences, But, make sure everything will still taste absolutely scrumptious!
- Check whether your caterer is available. If you’ve chosen a date for your wedding, your catering company should be able to send over people on that date. Try not to push if the caterer isn’t available. Believe us, it’s not worth the additional stress. This is another reason it helps to have a list of caterers to consider, so you have two or three other good options in case your number one isn’t free. Another helpful tip is to keep your specific event date flexible, at least in the initial planning stages, so you have a better chance of getting the caterer you want.
- Look for references. When you consider a catering company, it’s good to make contact with clients who have previously used their services. The company should be able to provide these for you; if not, there are reputable sources on the Internet that can provide the necessary reviews. Ask about the quality of food and service, but also the way the payment process was handled. A good catering company must show professionalism and efficiency on these fronts.
Remember, when choosing a Las Vegas event catering company, your vision for the event is important. The company will need to provide a service that upholds and enhances that vision. With a good event caterer, your guests might be talking about the food and the corresponding service for years to come.