I know I told you that I love doing and organizing events and parties. However, if you really think you’ll be in better hands if you hire professional caterers, then so be it. Remember, when it comes to planning any event or family gathering, the food and venue will usually take up the largest part of your budget. This is why you should invest time looking for a good catering service so you can also get the most out of your event planning. Here are some tips you can use when you go look for caterers.

Photo credit: darwin Bell via Flickr
Photo credit: darwin Bell via Flickr

The first thing that needs to be done is to set a budget for the whole event. From that budget itself, allocate an ideal expenses range you can afford to spend on the catering. It’s also necessary to think about your preferences. What type of reception ambiance are you vying for, for instance? Determine the number of people who will be invited to your gathering. Apart from giving a headcount of the number of guests to the caterer, you would also need this number in planning the total budget for the  catering.

If you already have a desired venue in mind, make it a point to ask about their availability for the time and date you chose for the event. Also be mindful of their catering rules, if any. Some restaurants and hotels, for instance, already have their preferred event caterers – most likely companies or individuals they have worked with before. You can ask suggestions from them, or you can also opt to hire your own caterer depending on their protocols.

When it comes to choosing a caterer, the best way to go is through referrals. Of course, how would you know if a company is trustworthy and really delivers quality services if you don’t have enough proof from your own social circles? If you don’t want yourself to be limited to the recommendations you get from your family and friends, there are always review sites and online directories of catering companies that operate in your locale. Check them out online so you can get started on your search.

Be sure to make a shortlist of candidates for the position of event caterers. Consider those companies and individuals that have good recommendations and reviews, first and foremost. The second thing to look into is the services and catering packages that they offer. Ask for proposals from candidates that seem promising to you so you can also better assess which one can give you the best benefits for your budget.

Make sure to sample the food you’re planning to have for the event. Also make it a point to check out the company’s portfolio so you can also see real samples of functions and gatherings they’ve handled before. Apart from the food, it’s also recommended to check out their table/dining ware and other catering equipment to ensure that they are up to your liking. Ensure that you see the utensils they will specifically use right from the start, especially if they will be renting from a catering equipment rentals company.

Photo credit: Jennifer Choi via Flickr
Photo credit: Jennifer Choi via Flickr

As for the costs, many ignore the idea of giving an exact budget to the caterers. You can simply tell them about your preferred budget range, so you can also ask about discounts in the process. At least give them an idea how much budget they are going to work on so they can better plan and suggest catering ideas that will be suitable to the budget you have in mind. To avoid surprises in the end, be upfront with the caterers. Ask what you will specifically get with your preferred budget – what will be in the menu, the tableware that will be used, as well as other particulars that are included in their packages. Do they provide the venue decorations, for instance? You can always search for party supplies at partiesonline.com.au and get themed party inspirations online. Last but not the least, insist on a contract or written agreement with the catering company so you can have the specifics of catering services be laid out clearly.

Further Reading:

Party Essentials – How to Pull Off a Great Party