Catering – What to Look For

When you’re planning a major event – a wedding, an office party, a bar/bat mitzvah, an awards ceremony, etc. – one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing a catering service. You can’t cut corners here – no matter how big the venue, no matter how glamorous the décor, if the food is substandard, that is what your guests will remember. You don’t want to leave them with a bad taste in their mouths – literally.

The time to consider catering is right after you decide the date of your event. You will need to make sure that your chosen caterer will be able to work your event – some caterers have their schedules booked months in advance.

Here are some other things to look for when choosing a caterer:

  1. Know approximately how many guests will be showing up. Not everyone you invite, of course, will actually attend. Keep up to date on RSVPs, and have a firm cut-off date.
  2. Decide your maximum budget, and don’t stray too far from it. In catering, think of the cost as per guest.
  3. What kind of food will you be serving? Will it fit the theme of the event? You wouldn’t want to serve barbecue at a tea party, for example, or sushi at a Western-themed event.
  4. Are any of your guests vegetarian or vegan? Do some have food allergies? Ask if the caterer can accommodate.
  5. Do you want alcoholic beverages served? That comes with extra costs.
  6. Will you want waitstaff, prep cooks (such as people who cook omelets or carve beef), and post-event cleaners? Or do you just want your caterer to bring food so your guests can serve themselves?
  7. Some caterers work for specific venues. Would you want to hold your event at that venue? Or will your event be at a private home, office, hotel, or other separate place?
  8. Some caterers offer pre-event tastings. Take advantage of this service if available.
  9. Check your local health department and find out if there have been complaints about the catering service. Also take a look at its Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating.
  10. Take a look at the company’s website, which will have pictures of both prior events and the food served. Is this what you are looking for at your event?
  11. Remember the last time you were at a catered event, and you were most impressed? Find out who did that. Ask your friends and acquaintances for referrals as well.

Where else can you find great caterers?! JobQuotes lists professionals of every kind, complete with location, contact information, and customer ratings.

Great food and drink is at the heart of every memorable party – and it can start with a search at

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