When you tell friends you’re on the hunt for event catering options, how many of them immediately frown or burst forth with catering horror stories? Wedding planning discussion boards are often filled with stories about caterers who over-promised and under-delivered or who showed up after the celebration with a sizeable—and unexpected—bill. Any caterer worth the title will find those behaviors abhorrent, but how do you know they’re trustworthy before you’ve eaten and seen the final bill? One big sign about how your event catering will turn out is the catering contract itself.
The Devil in the Details
A catering contract, like any other contract, is a legally binding document. Which means that, before you put ink to paper (or digital signatures in boxes), you should read over the catering contract carefully. And, even more importantly, ask questions of your catering contact if you don’t understand the verbiage. First and foremost, if a caterer doesn’t get back to you or never answers your questions, that could be a sign that something is up. Communication is key when planning event catering, and a non-communicative catering company could lead to an unpleasant experience. Often, catering companies will have a designated point of contact who will walk you through the contract and answer all your questions.
As we mentioned in our previous blog, food allergies can be a big concern. Clarify how a caterer will handle allergies and special food requirements and what additional charges there may or may not be to do so. In addition, flexibility about menu items shouldn’t be a problem in general; if a caterer isn’t willing to alter items based on your event’s theme or needs, that suggests a potential problem. If you want a special dish or you’d like one ingredient taken out of a dish already on the catering menu, just ask your contact, but do so before you’ve signed so there aren’t any surprises.
Equipment and Serving
The other big item on many catering contracts, especially if you’re planning event catering at a non-restaurant venue, is who will be responsible for the equipment, dishware, seating, and how the serving will be handled. Some catering companies will provide all the equipment (think tables, chairs, dishware, etc.) needed at the venue, some will do so for an additional fee, and others will not be responsible for those things at all. Not providing dishware isn’t automatically a sign of an unsavory caterer, but it may make things more complicated for you depending on your venue. If you’re looking for event catering in a restaurant’s party room, you will likely not need to provide tables and chairs, whereas holding an event at a local park pavilion usually means you’ll need to take care of everything except the roof over your guests. Ask your catering company how familiar they are with the venue you’ve chosen and get the details about what they do and do not cover.
If you’re looking for caterer in Kennesaw, contact the Elevation catering team! We can travel to your venue or host your next soiree in our party room. Get more details about our menu options, flexibility, and booking; call today!