Catering can make or break your wedding day and is something your guests will talk about when they remember your wedding day for years to come. The last thing you want is bad food, or worse, for your guests getting sick, so it is important to make sure you’re hiring a catering company that knows what they are doing. Asking the right questions can do wonders when searching for your potential caterer regarding your special day!
Here are some questions you should be asking your potential caterer:
1. Are your staff trained properly?
Seems obvious but the last thing you want is for untrained servers to ruin your guests’ experience by not paying attention to their dietary needs, not having water, or worse, rude staff.
2. Have you catered an event at our venue before, or, will you perform a site visit before the event?
Making sure that your potential caterer is aware of your venue is important so they can determine their timing and equipment needed on the day. For instance, if you are getting married in a barn, the caterers may need to bring a generator to keep food refrigerated or operate their equipment.
3. Which catering styles do you offer, and what would you recommend for our venue/ budget?
There are a few different catering styles that will determine how many staff are needed and what you pay per person. Ask your caterer whether they recommend a plated dinner; a buffet-style set up; family-style; or passed hors d’oeuvres.
4. Are menus fixed? Or can we choose our own?
Depending on the size of your event, caterers will often use their set menus as jumping-off points. However, if you are looking to build a menu from scratch or have the chef develop a custom menu, you may have to pay extra.
5. Can you accommodate our guests with dietary restrictions? What precautions do you take to make sure they are safe?
Accommodating the dietary restrictions of your guests goes way beyond simply vegetarian/vegan options. For guests with food intolerance, it can make the difference between dancing all night, or spending the night sick in pain or worse. Make sure that your caterer is not only able to provide gluten-, dairy-, nut-free options, but that they are well versed in cross-contamination and food safety.
6. Do you supply flatware, glassware, and dinnerware?
Rather than renting these items separately, ask if they are included in your per person price, or for an additional cost.
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7. Can guests choose their entrees on the day, or do we need to provide numbers before?
Depending on your venue and the caterer’s setup, they will need to know how much of each option is needed beforehand. Typically, if you want guests to be able to choose their entrée on the day, it will cost you extra because the caterer will need to bring extra for each option.
8. Do you provide bar service?
Does your caterer have a liquor license and Smart-Serve certified staff? Do they provide the wine, beer, and liquor? Rather than hiring a separate company for your bar service, it makes sense for the same company to handle the food and the booze!
9. What additional fees are there?
Your potential caterer will likely present you with a per-person cost for food, but be sure to ask about their set up and take down fees; additional servers; additional time, and rental fees. Be sure to factor this in when budgeting for your caterer.