FIRST DECISIONS & ACTIONS
– Time and date of event
– Type of meal to be served
– Number of attendees
– The site for the event
– Overall or per-person budget
– Which caterer to use
– Immediately call the caterer and make a reservation.
WHAT TO ASK THE CATERER
– Do you have a health certificate, professional training, liability insurance and liquor liability insurance?
– Are you catering any other major events on this date?
– What services does this price include (set-up, serving, clean-up, etc.)?
– (for outdoor events) Can you provide a backup indoor location in case of rain, and at what cost?
– What kind of deposit do you require?
– How long will you remain at the function without an extra charge?
– How late before the event may I make changes in the menu or guest count?
– Do you release the leftover food to me or the guests, if requested? If so, do you provide disposable containers?
– How far in advance must I notify you of any cancellation?
– Communicate any keynote colors or themes to the caterer.
– Communicate general food preferences to the caterer.
– Ask for specific menu suggestions.
– Bring photos and other details if you have specific suggestions for menu or decor.
– Ask about the cost for incidentals (condiments, sauces, coffee, etc.).
– Ask the cost for handling other requests (tables and chairs, toasting goblets, candelabras, fresh flowers, band music, tents, etc.).
– Ask for money-saving suggestions.
– Decide on a specific menu, decor and services.
– Get a written contract. Your cost estimate should include details of all service arrangements, decor and menu selections provided by the caterer. It also should specify that it includes the sales tax and any applicable gratuity charges.