- Catering service is so much more than just great food. I’ve worked with many amazing caterers whose food could meet top notch standards anywhere in the world BUT their service was absolute garbage. Yup, I said it. Their wait staff were unprofessional, slow, messy, unaware of etiquette… just a never-ending train wreck that was extremely painful to watch. Guests got the wrong food, party favours were stolen….and yet the food was delicious.
- Do your due diligence on your caterers. Some caterers are better suited for small groups rather than larger numbers. The tasting goes so well when it’s a handful of the bride and her family members, but on game day, they crumble under the numbers and the food from the tasting is a distant memory.
- Not every caterer can make any and every meal. Some caterers are suited for different styles of cuisine. A caterer that says they can cook anything really should be taken with a pinch of salt. I love when a caterer says “I can’t, but I know someone who can”. Here is what that says to me:
It’s not about the money for them, it’s about the quality. You know that the other vendor must be good because a chef recommending another chef …. I mean, who better to know right! Still…. refer to paragraph 1 just to be sure.
The tricky part to all this is when the bride chooses her own caterer and they are someone that you have never worked with. The plus side is that it takes the pressure of food quality off your shoulders, but alas, no free rides my love, you still need to be thorough in your dialogue:
Do they provide plates and cutlery?
Do they set up or do they just drop off the food?
Do they provide the wait staff as well as the clean-up service?
Will they be cooking on site; do they need a tent for that?
Do they need a wash area? Will they be providing that or do you need to source it?
You may be taken aback to know how many caterers DO NOT provide many of the services I just listed.
More to the point, YOU my friend, become responsible for these things!
Personally, I prefer a full-service caterer, that way I am not responsible for damages to rentals like table cloths, serving tables, plates etc. However, if there is no getting around it, then ensure that you discuss a refundable cash security deposit - that will be refunded once its assured that nothing was damaged. If not, you stand to lose.
Finally, I urge you to consider staff meals! You would think this would be a given, since no one can run to KFC in the middle of working someone’s wedding. However, this detail is very often overlooked. Some caterers make special meals for the staff (DJ, photographer, planner, etc) while others serve whatever the guests are eating. This little service is NOT free or included, it must be discussed so that it is clear that no one is left out.
Hungry people are angry people…not ideal for wedding day splendour!