There’s something special about putting the time and effort into making your own party food, but it can feel impossible when it’s a big party. In that case, you need the right catering company to take your party to new levels.
Finding a suitable catering company for your party isn’t as easy as it seems. If you’re not a regular party planner, then you’re probably unaware of the factors that go into finding the right caterer. In that case, here’s a checklist for hiring the perfect catering company for your party.
Express Your Needs
The first thing to do while contacting a catering company is to be open and upfront about your requirements. Detail your personal expectations from their work and the event size, ensuring they’re a right fit for those factors.
Furthermore, sometimes, you may need a full-course meal, and other times, you may only need finger food. This is also a good time to detail the arrangement you want your food to be in, such as a buffet, self-service, or waiter service.
Ask The Right Questions
Asking the right questions is the easiest way to determine whether a caterer is right for your party. Here are a few examples of questions to ask your caterer.
- Not confirming their availability in your location is an easy but costly mistake. Ask them, “do you offer catering in XYZ area?” For your ease, you can search online for caterers near you. For example, if you live in Bonita Springs, Florida, you can Google food catering near me bonita springs fl to find the perfect fit for your party.
- “What are your most popular dishes?” The caterer’s availability can narrow your options if you have trouble picking a menu.
- “Can you take care of various allergy or dietary requests?” A caterer’s flexibility is an indication of their expertise and inclusivity.
Read the Reviews
Most importantly, you must read the reviews of the catering company before hiring them. Look out for reviews about their customer service, food quality, and cooking process.
In addition, read reviews from sources other than the company’s website, as they tend to filter out the positive reviews to display on the landing page. If a catering company has few to zero reviews, it probably shows its unpopularity.
Consider the Location
Before hiring a catering company, you must consider the location and its distance from the catering company’s headquarters. Their previous work may help determine whether they have experience working in your area. They may have trouble bringing the food to the venue if they don’t.
To prevent such issues, try finding a catering company that has worked in your area or has experience with a similar venue. You must ensure that the company is willing to go the extra mile to meet your requirements for the party.
Review Past Work
Reviewing the company’s past work helps you get insights into what they can provide at your company. Firstly, it’ll help you understand previous customers’ experience with their service and quality. In addition, you can see the presentation of their work from pictures of past work.
The aesthetics of the food and the customer representative’s attitude are great representations of the company’s quality of service. So, make sure to gauge these factors before you hire them.
Hire Adequate Staff
For a party host, inadequate staff at the last moment can be the worst nightmare. Ensuring you have a sufficient and experienced staff is the key to a successful party, leaving every partygoer satisfied. The type of event you’re hosting can determine the number of staff you’ll require.
For example, if you’re hosting a sit-down dinner, you must determine the number of tables you’ll have. Then, you’ll need at least one server for every two tables and additional staff to distribute drinks before the dinner.
On the other hand, if you’re hosting a buffet party, you must assign at least two servers for every 30 guests. Since it’s a self-service party, you won’t need as many servers to tend to the guests. Finally, if your party has a bar service, you need at least one experienced bartender and one bar-back for every 50 guests.
Get a Tasting
Getting a tasting is crucial no matter how trustworthy the catering company seems or how positive its reviews are. Everyone has different preferences in food, so you must ensure their food tastes like what you envisioned for the party.
In addition, consider it a red flag if the catering company doesn’t offer tasting, specially if this is your first time working with them. The food may look great in pictures, but nothing beats the surety of getting a tasting.
Learn the Cooking Process
Unfortunately, some catering kitchens need an upgrade, considering their preparation methods and cleanliness. Before you hire a catering company, you must learn the cooking process. Transparency about the behind-the-scenes is a sign of a trustworthy caterer.
You must also learn the delivery methods for their food to ensure it’s taken care of outside their kitchen. Some caterers are willing to cook on-site, but it costs more than cooking off-site. In such cases, you have a better chance of knowing how everything gets done before you say yes.
Determine the Flexibility
Regarding sensitive aspects of the party, such as the food, it’s best to restrict yourself as little as possible. A good caterer offers flexibility in their options and service. Ask them the right questions to ensure they cater to certain allergies or dietary requirements your guests may have.
In addition, you must question them about any last-minute pieces they’ve put together in the past. The answer will give you insights into the company’s flexibility, problem-solving skills, and creativity.
Discuss the Cost
Finally, you must remember to review the costs in detail. You may consider this an obvious step, but caterers often include hidden costs in their final billings. So, discuss the costs with the caterer and ask for an itemized bill to ensure you’re not being ripped off.
Food is the most attractive aspect of any event, so choosing the catering company can significantly impact the success of your party. Asking the right questions and completing the checklist above can help you find the perfect caterer for your next party.