One of the biggest challenges to planning and hosting an event is finding a good caterer that will make you and your guests happy, both in terms of food and service. There are plenty of caterers to choose from, and not all of them are created equal. Because of this, it is important that you do your due diligence.
Here are four questions you should ask a caterer before hiring them!
- Has anyone used them before?
One of the best ways to choose or find good catering services is to ask your friends! Simply asking them if they know a good caterer will give you an idea of who you should and shouldn’t call! Because not only will they tell you about good experiences, but they’re likely to tell you some horror stories too. From these reviews, you will get a good initial idea of what you can do for your event or party.
- Can you do a food tasting? Are the flexible with special diets?
Once you start calling caterers, ask them if you can do a food tasting. It is important that you are happy with the type and quality of food at your event. Usually, the more seasoned caterers allow for food tastings because they understand how important it can be to the client.
In line with this, asking if they are flexible with special diets is also important. Some guests may be vegan, require halal, need things to be gluten free, etc. Being able to find a caterer that can fit these requirements and still create delicious food is like finding gold!
- Do they have staff? If they do, is that separate from cost?
Some start-up catering services are unable to provide staff or can only provide staff at great cost because they will outsource the staff on the day of the event itself. This is an important question because some events require more staff than others, and if the staff is a separate cost then the entire cost of the service can suddenly become less feasible.
- What are the costs?
For some, this is Question #1 due to budget constraints. Wherever it may be on the list, it is definitely an important question to ask. It is important that catering services be fair to clients with regard to what is being required and what they can properly provide. It is usually during budget discussions that adjustments need to be made
The more questions you ask a caterer, the more questions you will have. Keep asking! There is nothing more important than finding the right caterer for the occasion to keep both you and your guests happy! So ask all the questions you want and find the right catering service for you!
Catering Services Share Tips for Choosing the Right Food
for Outdoor Events
There is nothing quite as nice as an outdoor event. Whether it be a formal occasion or a casual get together, being able to host an event outdoors adds a special element that only nature can give. As most catering services know, however, outdoor events are always a challenge!
The challenges that come with hosting outdoors usually fall on the decorator and the catering company. Being able to provide excellent quality food without sacrificing flavour and keeping in mind all the possibilities of what might happen at outdoor events (rain, too much wind, etc.) is a challenge to even the most seasoned catering services, but the challenges can be reduced early on simply by knowing what type of food to choose (on the client’s side) or what type of food to offer (on the caterer’s side).
The first consideration should always be beverages. People tend to drink more than they eat so easy access to beverages is important! If it is a warm day, being able to provide icy drinks is a must! A cooler day, and having options for warmer drinks is appreciated! Depending on the number of people, having more than one drinks station or bar is usually the most ideal setting for an outdoor event. This not just frees up traffic or having people in line constantly, but it also forces them to mingle.
If the event isn’t formal, both the client and the catering company should focus on finger foods. Little canapes are usually the way to go, especially if they are bread or potato based because these will fill up the guests faster, which again allows for better people flow at the event. It also allows people to use their hands, which means they don’t need to fumble with cutlery; something that is particularly important in cocktail settings.
Cocktails and picnics are two outdoor events that can benefit from the use of small bowls and cups that can be filled with refreshing and easy to eat dishes like pasta salads or greek salads. These can be pre-filled and placed decoratively around buffet tables or passed around by waiters, and in both cases with small forks or spoons next to them. Cold salads are also one of the best things to serve on a warm day because they don’t add any heat to the body. Plus they don’t need to be heated or kept, which is a bonus to the catering company in terms of bringing equipment for heating food!
Whenever planning an outdoor event, consider the full setting. Will there be cocktail tables or picnic tables? Is there a buffet table or is it pass around? Is it formal dining, but the event just happens to be outdoors? Knowing the style of the event as well as the profile of the guests can really help both a client and catering services decide on the right kind of food.