Many people who are in charge of arranging parties and events often forget the most important part of their event— the food. The right catering service can light up your party like nothing else. Regardless of whether you are responsible for hosting a family gathering or a corporate event, you need to pay special attention to the catering service that you choose. That said, the difficult part is that there is no particular standardized grading which will enable you to look up quickly —for instance: a five star caterer—and know you’re getting great quality.
Always listen to recommendations
Many catering services spend thousands of dollars on advertising but its word of mouth that really gets them ahead in this business. The same goes if you’re looking for a catering service. If you’re looking for a caterer, you need to consider recommendations from your friends and family members whom you trust to have good taste. You should also heed bad feedback from them, as well. So, if you have a friend who recommends a caterer because he had a great experience hiring him for his wedding, then, you should speak to this caterer for sure.
Always schedule a tasting
Caterers that specialize in providing food for large events need to offer a tasting session. There is no better way to know if the food is going to be good than tasting a sample. You should taste not one but several types of food from the caterer. This is mainly because there is often a huge difference between preparing two distinct meals.
Consider what the caterer specializes in
There are some caterers that specialize in catering to large events—they have the expertise and equipment to handle over a hundred guests professionally. However, there are others that just specialize in small, intimate events such as cocktail parties. You need to be very careful of catering services who claim to do it all because there are chances that they are not very good at either.
Make a list of the services you need
There are some catering services that will just deliver and prepare the food that you have ordered while others will even set it up for you. Some catering businesses will even provide you with support personnel and waiting staff—this is especially important for formal events that require plated services. Make a list of the services you require and then shortlist the catering services that provide what you need. You can, then, further shortlist them based on the quality of their food and what your friends or colleagues recommend.
Always ask for references
When you are entrusting just one company to handle all the food for the event it is imperative that you make sure that they are good on their word. You shouldn’t just trust them blindly but rather ask for references.
Find out how fresh the food is
This should be of prime concern before you hire a service. There are many services that simply cut corners in order to reduce costs. They may use cheaper frozen products, as opposed to fresh vegetables. So, always insist on using a catering service that uses fresh food.
Check with the local health department
The vast majority of catering service companies are often subject to regulation and licensing by the US health department. There will be records of complaints, inspections and other issues. This is mostly public information but will require you to call up the health department and ask them.
Get a quotation
Just looking at the bottom line as the first step to hiring a service is just wrong. Think about the fact that the food for an event like a wedding is around 50% the cost of the wedding. So, you, in fact, get what you’re paying for. If a caterer drops their prices drastically, you can expect low quality.
Always read the contract
You should never hire a service without reading the contract first. This should help protect your interests in the event that the caterer does not deliver. Only sign once you agree on the price and terms.