Tips to Find a Local Caterer
When searching for a local catering company for the very first time, many customers may not know where to start. Certain types of events may require special services or accommodations, so it is important to plan carefully and take time to compare your options. Some local caterers are simply more experienced and professional than others, so let’s dive into some tips and tricks for identifying a choosing the right local caterer for you.
- Conduct Initial Research – There are many ways to identify good caterers in your local area. Personal recommendations are always useful, so start by asking everyone around you to tell you who their favorite caterers are. There are also many online resources that rank catering businesses in your local area. Look around for positive reviews from your acquaintances and from online research.
- Identify Which Services You Need – Many caterers are versatile and offer different types of catering services in addition to catered meals. Think about whether you will need to hire servers, rent out equipment, put up decorations, offer bar service, create a custom menu, serve a specialty cake, or coordinate music or entertainment. A good catering company will usually be able to assist with most, if not all, of these aspects.
- Set a Budget – To save time, it is important to set a catering budget right off the bat so you do not get overly excited and plan a huge menu that you need to downsize later on. Be realistic when looking at other expenses outside of the catering services, so you can plan your event accordingly. It’s also a good idea to communicate your budget to prospective caterers so they can make appropriate menu recommendations for you.
- Plan the Menu – After setting a budget, it’s time to plan a menu. Even if you do not know exactly what type of food you want, it is good to some brainstorming on your own before meeting your caterer to plan the menu. That way, you can start off with a general idea of what you want and your caterer can help you create a menu that you will be happy with.
- Meet Caterers in Person – It is a lot easier to be productive with in-person meetings during the vetting process. This gives you the chance to interact with the caterer and get a sense of what it will feel like to work with them to execute your event. Take note of how organized they are, and ask to see photos or videos of their past events. This will give you an idea of their style, as well as their tastes in food and decor when planning a typical event.
- Request a Food Sampling – Most caterers are happy to let customers sample their food free of charge. This is a good chance for you to narrow down your list of caterers, especially since everyone has different tastes and requirements for their food.
- Ask For References – You can learn a lot by speaking with a caterer’s past and current customers. Caterers who have a long list of long-term clients are most likely more experienced, flexible and provide the best service. Each catering company has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to make sure you find a caterer that is the best fit for your event and your personality.
Following these tips and tricks should bring your one step closer to choosing the best local caterer for your next event. Happy hunting!