It’s a good thing that people have a lot of choices these days, and that goes double when it comes to choosing a caterer for a special event. The various occasions that people typically reserve for professional caterers — such as weddings, graduations and corporate parties — have a great deal of personal importance. These are special occasions where you want things to be perfect, or at least as close to perfect as possible. Having a lot of choices means that you have a better chance of getting a great result.
Or does it? Because when you have a lot of choices, that could also mean there are some “not-so-reputable” caterers out there. We’re talking about companies who don’t really have the skills, training, experience, personnel, or equipment to make your event magical. Whenever you have a competitive marketplace in any industry, you’re going to end up with a few companies like this.
The question is, how do you steer clear of them? How do you make sure that you don’t make the wrong choice? How can you be certain that the caterer who shows up to do your event is a caterer who “shows up” in every sense of the word, and delivers a fantastic result?
Being thorough in your research, before you start considering various candidates, is one definite step you should take. When you actually have a few good candidates in mind, and you start making calls or taking meetings, there are some questions you’ll definitely want to ask.
1. How long have you been in business?
The question of experience is truly important in catering. Experienced professionals have done hundreds of events, and faced any number of situations in which events may not have gone exactly as planned. From inclement weather to unplanned extra guests, experienced caterers know how to think on their feet to ensure success. They also have a knack for great food, which is (of course) also important.
2. Who would actually be catering my event?
It’s one thing to say that the owner or president of a catering company has years of experience and a solid reputation in the community. But will this person actually be catering your event? Or will less-experienced staff members be sent out to take care of you? This is your special event, and you deserve to know about the experience-level and training of the people who will actually be on site.
3. What makes you stand out from other catering companies?
This question give your prospective caterer a chance to tell you what makes them great, and why you should choose them before all the other caterers in your area. The answer should be clear and confident, and should not just be about the lowest price. Saving a buck is important, but not as important has having a great result, excellent service, and fantastic food at your event.
Putting the pieces together
The answers you receive when you ask these questions should go a long way in teasing out who the best catering companies in your area actually are. Once you’ve got a clear sense of that, you’ll be well on your way to a higher standard of catering results for your event.