Choosing a Caterer: How to Choose a Great Caterer

If you’ve ever been involved in the process of choosing a caterer for an event, you know it’s not always easy. Once you decide upon a venue and start researching caterers in the area where you’re hosting your event, you’ll probably find many caterers from which you can choose. And of course, most of them are good.

Whether you’re planning a small office luncheon or a large wedding, you’ll want to know how to choose a caterer who will make your event as perfect as possible. It’s your special occasion, so why settle for a good caterer when you can choose a great one?

What exactly is it that makes a caterer great, and makes him or her stand out from the rest? For one thing, a great caterer will not only help you with all your menu-related details, but will also go above and beyond to make your event memorable. In a nutshell, great caterers stand out from the rest in how they successfully “integrate sound business savvy with inspired culinary vision,” and their reputations speak for themselves.

English: An example of event catering, at a pa...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These are 5 things for you to consider when choosing a caterer:

1) How well does the caterer and staff prepare their food?

Great caterers are known for the top-notch quality of their food, regardless of the cuisine. Having ample experience with cooking and food handling directly contributes to how the food looks and tastes. Being experienced with cooking also helps a caterer in related areas such as:

  • Planning menus
  • Making substitutions when necessary
  • Preparing, reheating, and toting large amounts of food safely


2) Do the caterer and staff keep up and comply with current food safety laws?

For your protection – and the caterer’s too – the Food and Drug Administration outlines national regulations for food safety and proper food handling. You can also visit and search for current food safety laws and related information for your specific state. Great caterers are well aware of all these guidelines and willingly comply with them.

3) How does the caterer rank in the client satisfaction department?

Caterers who successfully combine superb culinary skills with excellent people skills are keepers! Good communication skills go a long way towards helping a caterer understand all your catering ideas and needs for your event. He or she can discuss and negotiate your ideas and plans with you throughout your entire event – starting with the earliest planning stages, and all the way through your special occasion. A great caterer is a team player, rather than someone who simply takes over.

4) Is the caterer creative?

Great caterers seemingly make magic by transforming nearly any place into an attractive venue, regardless of how drab it may initially look. The same “magic” applies to the foods they prepare and serve. Choosing a caterer who is flexible and imaginative can take your event to an entirely different level and turn it into a memorable occasion for you and your guests.

5) How efficiently (and effectively) does the caterer run his or her business?

When it comes down to it, catering is so much more than just good cooking and food preparation – it’s a true business endeavor. Great caterers pay attention to all the details of their catering businesses, regardless of how “boring” or tedious some of it may seem.

These are some of the multiple business activities caterers must take seriously:

  • Financial Planning
  • Administrative Tasks/Business Management
  • Marketing
  • Leadership/Management


Without a doubt, great caterers love what they do and are just as motivated as you when it comes to creating an event you’ll delight in. They’ll focus on every detail of your special occasion – no matter how big or small. Even better? Great caterers follow through on their promises to take care of everything, which means you can truly relax and enjoy your event along with your guests.


Are you planning an event in the Portland-Metro area? Please contact us online or give us a call if we can help you with any of your catering questions or needs.


Related Resources 10 Things that make up a good caterer

Featured image courtesy of Apolonia at

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