If you’re putting together a big event and are worried about what to do for food, don’t panic! Call a catering service instead. If you’ve hired an event planner, he or she may even have some event catering ideas or suggestions of who to call to make your event a smashing success. A catering service can take an enormous amount of stress off your shoulders, add a professional element to your event, and make clean-up a breeze. However, before hiring professional catering services, you obviously want to conduct some research of your own to find not just good caterers, but the best ones with the services you need to make your event a success. If you have event catering ideas already in place, it’s always good to talk with the catering company about your ideas and see if they can meet your needs before hiring them.
What Can a Catering Company Help Me With? If you’re expecting a lot of people at the event, planning for food and beverages can be overwhelming. The timing of everything has to be just right, you probably need extra hands in the kitchen and for serving, and the logistics can be a nightmare. This is where a catering company comes in.
They’ll either prepare the food in the venue’s kitchen facilities or prepare off-location and bring to the venue. They’ll have a staff of servers, cleaners, dishwashers, and cooks who work for them and can get everything ship-shape, without you having to lift a finger.
In some cases, a catering service may even assist with decor, table arrangements, and presenting the food. Catering companies can be especially great if your event is in a more rural location — such as a vineyard or farm. Charming and rustic yes, but the kitchen facilities may pose a bit of problem. Catering services can help with that problem!
What Should I Look For In a Caterer? The kind of caterer you want to look for — whether it’s special event catering services or a more general event catering service — is one who is up to date with up-to-date food safety laws for their state, is conscientious, has good management skills in terms of timing and managing their staff, and who can communicate well and act as a liaison between you and the catering staff. The caterer is responsible for managing the staff and making sure everyone is knowledgeable about serving customs, place settings, food safety regulations, and aware of the schedule for the event.
Ideally, he or she should be experienced — or have some previous experience in the food service industry — and be able to ask some questions of his or her own. For example, if you don’t mention food allergies, an experienced caterer might inquire as to whether recipes or cooking methods need to be adjusted to account for food allergies or religious or personal dietary requirements or preferences.
What Should I Be Prepared For? One thing to keep in mind is that off-site catering does tend to be less expensive per plated, pre-ordered meals, as opposed to a buffet or food stations at the actual event. Do keep in mind as well that in almost every instance, you’re not going to be able to keep the leftovers. You keep what you paid for and what you and your guests ate. Different arrangements can be made, but it should be explicitly mentioned in the contract.
Don’t be afraid to interview multiple caterers, especially if you have specific event catering ideas already lined up. The ideal caterer will be able to take your event catering ideas, work with them, and maybe even improve on them in a way that’s compatible with the event. Explore all your options before making a final decision to ensure that you’re getting the services you need for the right price.
Take some pressure off of yourself when you hire an event caterer to help manage part of the event. You’re guaranteed to be glad you did and your guests will surely be impressed by the efficiency, sophistication, and ease that caterers bring to an event.
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