When hiring a caterer, you’re establishing an important relationship. As such, it’s important to know what to look for in a caterer! Before deciding on a team to cater your event – whether large or small – the first step is for you to have a solid idea of what your needs are. For example, the number of guests, generally what type of food you would like to serve, any dietary restrictions, etc. Let those needs guide your “interview” when you sit down to meet a potential caterer. In that meeting, here is what to look for in a caterer:
- Certifications. It might seem obvious, but there are certain certifications you’ll want to make sure your caterer has. First, you want to hire a caterer who is insured. This is a given for most, but is still a question you should ask. Second, double check that your caterer is certified by your local health department. Third, if your caterer will be serving alcohol, verify they have a liquor license and liquor liability insurance.
- The team. Some caterers are more of a solo act, which is perfectly acceptable, but you’ll want to know ahead of time what kind of services are provided or are available. If the catering company you’re interested in does have a team, ask them exactly what that means for your event.
- Flexibility. This one is huge, especially if your event is bigger. No matter how well-planned your event is, things have a tendency to not always go exactly according to plan. Working with a caterer who can roll with the punches with you rather than get frazzled by them will make your life significantly easier.
- Menu variety. Not only do you want to hire a caterer wth stellar customer service, but you want to hire someone who can help you create the menu of your dreams. Sometimes, that may mean helping you achieve a specific vision. Other times, it might mean planning the menu for you so you don’t have to worry about it. Either way, be sure the caterer you choose to work with will serve food you’ll like and be proud to have at your event!
- Accommodativeness. It’s likely some people attending your event will have dietary restrictions. Guests always appreciate attending an event where their needs are already taken into consideration in the menu. You know your guest list best, but offering vegetarian and/or gluten free items is a big deal! Choosing a caterer with an understanding of allergies and other restrictions – and a willingness to work with you to meet your guests’ needs – is vital.
- A solid track record. No company is perfect and people are more apt to share negative reviews online than they are positive ones. However, it is a good idea to do a little research online to get a feel for a catering company. If anything, it may reveal consistent issues you will want to specifically ask about. But hopefully, you’ll see a company’s strengths which will help you make a good decision.
If event planning is part of your life, learning what to look for in a caterer will make your life much easier in the long run. As one of Portland’s best caterers, we’re proud to offer unparalleled service you won’t be disappointed in. We’d love to sit down and talk more about how we can cater your next event!