Events · Work Experience

31 Questions to ask Your Caterer

Besides location, food and drink will probably consume the majority of your event budget. So your caterer needs to do far more than just prepare a menu. Not only will they help coordinate the meals flow but, they may also be supplying the tableware, bar or kitchen. So how can you narrow down your list of potential hires? Well, here are the questions you should be asking before lifting a pen to sign that contract.

  1. Where do you source your ingredients?
  2. Where will the food be prepared?
  3. Can you cater for dietary requirements?
  4. Is there a fixed menu or can a custom menu be created?
  5. What are you making that you are excited about?
  6. How long does a typical service take?
  7. Would it be possible to have a taster of the menu beforehand to see portion sizes and presentation?
  8. Do you handle the table setting and rental equipment? How long will it take to set up and break down?
  9. What time will you arrive to begin set up?
  10. What décor will be used?
  11. What will staff wear?
  12. How do you handle tips for your staff?
  13. What is the service to guest ratio?
  14. Can changes be made to the head count?
  15. What services are/are not included?
  16. Have you catered an event at my venue before? And is it possible to see pictures of previous events they’ve catered for?
  17. Will you be catering at another event on the same day?
  18. Will you provide a banquet manager/co-ordinator to run the meal service?
  19. Given the budget, guest count and size, what food choices would you recommend?
  20. How will you handle last minute, unpredictable requests?
  21. Do you provide alcoholic beverages and bartenders? Can you accommodate specialty cocktails? What kind of alcohol will be served?
  22. How do you charge for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages? Which is more cost-effective, per person or per consumption?
  23. Do you have a license and liquor liability insurance?
  24. Is tea/coffee included with the meal charge? What brands do you offer? Do these include decaf and herbal options?
  25. What types of cutlery, glassware, plates and linens do you provide? Can you provide presentation upgrades?
  26. What is your policy on clean-up?
  27. If there is leftover food from the event, can it be packaged for guests to take home or have it delivered to a local shelter?
  28. If the event runs longer than anticipated, what are your overtime fees?
  29. How much of a deposit is required to hold my date? When is the final payment due?
  30. What it your refund/cancellation policy?
  31. How quickly can we expect a contract? And if we make changes to menu choices or such, will you update us with a revised contract and estimated cost?
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