How Do I Maximize My Catering Budget?

When it comes to saving money on car insurance or groceries, the situation is relatively straightforward. You find the lowest price, make sure you’re still getting a product or service that does the job, and go about your business.

But when it comes to something like catering, it’s a different story altogether. Sure, you could simply choose the lowest bidder or the lowest per-plate cost of any caterer — but what’s going to happen on the actual day of the event? How will that “rock bottom pricing” be reflected in the food, beverages and service delivered by your caterer?

Maximizing your catering budget is obviously a more nuanced challenge. Depending on the size of your event, things can definitely get expensive. But when you think about it, this is all the more reason to protect your investment and make sure your money gets you the best result possible. If you’re looking to maximize your catering budget, here are some things you ought to know.

1. Not all caterers are the same

It may be tempting to hire the first catering company you come across, as long as they seem halfway decent. After all, you’ve got a long list of things to do. But this approach often causes problems later on, when that caterer’s limitations and/or unprofessionalism comes to the surface. Doing extra research to find a highly rated caterer, with excellent levels of customer satisfaction, is probably the most productive thing you can do in the early stages of planning a catered event.

2. The more you know about your crowd, the better off you’ll be

Money is often wasted by not really having a clear understanding of how many people will attend your event, or what they’re going to want to eat and drink. The more you can “drill down” into questions of who will be there and what kinds of food and drink will be popular, the higher your chances of spending the right amount of money on the right amount of food and services — thus maximizing your budget.

3. Maximizing your budget might mean paying a little more

It’s not all about going for the lowest bid. After all, you want quality in terms of food and service. Signing with the lowest bidder in exchange for a noticeable drop in quality is not really maximizing your budget. In many cases, it’s just maximizing your headache! Research your options carefully and choose a catering company who will deliver a true value for the money — not just the lowest possible price.

The best version of your event

When you set out to find a caterer for your event — whether it’s a big corporate gathering or a small picnic with family and friends — you want to create the best possible version of that event. Obviously you’ll want to keep costs down, but not at the expense of your event’s success. Finding a catering partner who knows their stuff inside and out, and who will help you make productive decision, is the key.