There are certain occasions in life when errors are more costly. Weddings, graduations and corporate events are just a few examples. A lot of planning and foresight goes into these events, specifically to make them run smoothly and meet everybody’s expectations. When something goes wrong and a big mistake is made by any of the planners or companies hired to service the event, there’s no rewind button and no chance to do it over again. You simply have to live with the results and hopefully learn your lesson for next time.
Some of the biggest mistakes involve the people hired to cater the event. We all know how important food and beverage is for large gatherings and special occasions. When the food isn’t right, when items are missing, or when the quality of the food and/or service is not up to a high professional standard, guests take notice. Faulty catering can can be very damaging to the integrity of an event. It can cast a shadow over the guest’s experience and color their entire perception of the gathering.
Obviously you want to avoid this scenario when planning an event. You want to sidestep common pitfalls and make your party a complete success. One way to do that is to learn about mistakes commonly made by catering companies.
1. Not communicating well
A huge number of catering problems occur because details were skimmed over. The communication between client and caterer just wasn’t clear enough, and the result is dashed expectations and even contractual disputes. It’s up to both parties to communicate their expectations and understandings clearly—but let’s be honest, clients are often juggling multiple aspects of party planning. A truly professional caterer should take the lead in addressing potential blind spots.
2. Using outdated equipment
When a catering company doesn’t invest properly in its own infrastructure, its clients pay the price. Discerning clients should not only make sure they understand what food and drink options a catering company will provide, but also the standard of equipment that will be brought to your event. You’ve worked hard to make everything look right. Catering companies should know, based on customer reviews, that it’s a huge mistake to bring equipment to an event that looks shabby and doesn’t function as well as it should. Their own reputation and that of the event planner can be compromised.
3. Not giving you good advice
The planning stages are even more important than the actual event. Too often, catering companies simply allow customers to decide what they want. The reality is that catering companies have vast experience with event planning, and most clients do not. Professionals need to demonstrate a balance between listening to the client’s needs and asking the right questions to help them see things in a more comprehensive light. Maybe there aren’t enough vegetarian options on the menu. Maybe the style of food being discussed doesn’t quite match the event, and slight changes are needed. Professional caterers who don’t offer guidance and options to their clients are paving the way to complaints and negative reviews—a big mistake indeed.
The best way to ensure success for your event
Most catering problems start with the hiring process. Depending on where you live, there might be dozens or even hundreds of catering companies who want you to hire them. They’ll even be willing to tell you what you want to hear in order to secure the contract. But make no mistake: Not all catering companies are created equal. Hiring a company with the most modern and updated equipment, highly trained staff, and a rock solid reputation backed by consistent reviews from past clients—this is the best way to avoid problems down the line. Pro caterers know how to plan properly, and how to deal with the unexpected. A truly professional caterer knows that the success of their company and the success of your event are essentially equal, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.