What to Know Before You Call a Caterer

So you’re in charge of a private party or corporate event, and you need a professional caterer to provide a service – whether it’s a full meal with waitstaff, a buffet-style gathering with a DJ, or a corporate function where making a good impression is critical. There are all kinds of scenarios in which the services of a professional caterer may be called for. Whatever your situation happens to be, it’s tempting to simply pick up the phone and start calling caterers in your area. But you can save time, and make the whole profess more effective if you gather a few key pieces of information first.

When is your event?

If you’re not yet sure exactly when your event will take place (people often have a range of possible dates early in the planning process), your potential caterer won’t really be able to commit to a bid. Of course, caterers can give you information on their availability for the various dates you’re considering, but having this detail decided ahead of time will make your conversation much more productive. Keep in mind that if your event falls on a weekend, it’s best to plan and book further in advance.

How big is your event?

It might be difficult to know exactly how many people will be at your event, but a realistic “range” of people will be enough for experienced caterers to work on. If you really aren’t sure how many people will be at your event, your efforts in contacting catering companies probably won’t amount to much.

Where is your event taking place?

Experienced caterers usually have working relationships with many different venues, and can actually help you find an ideal venue if you haven’t already decided. If you do already have a venue selected, this is a very helpful detail for the caterer, as it allows them to visualize the event and offer a more timely and accurate bid.

How much can you spend?

You might choose not to volunteer this information – or perhaps you don’t know it yet. But if you have an idea of your catering budget for the event, this can expedite the process of finding out who is the best caterer to serve you.

Knowing your options

When you have basic information about your event before dialing or email those catering companies, you put yourself in a position to plan more effectively. It’s certainly not as if you should know everything about your event at this stage – it’s perfectly normal to have a lot of missing pieces. Part of working with a reputable catering company involves filling in those blanks and finding solutions to problems that may arise. Caterers who have built noteworthy reputations in their communities are able to rely on years of experience and hundreds of successfully catered events in order to give you the best advice. Working with a caterer is definitely a two-way street, and success is mutual – but if you have as much information as possible before you make contact, any professional you contact will be able to provide clearer and more timely guidance – whether or not you end up hiring them.