5 things to know when picking a restaurant to cater your party
If you’re not much of a chef, it makes sense to hire a restaurant to cater a party instead of slaving away in the kitchen. But when it comes to picking the right one, you shouldn’t necessarily just go with your favorite local spot. While the chef may be adept at crafting food in-house, catering is a totally different ballgame. In order to make the right choice, keep these five pro tips in mind.
- Customer service is the #1 concern.
It doesn’t matter if the restaurant’s head chef crafts the most delicious, opulent dishes if the rest of the catering team can’t meet your needs. Your caterer should respond to your requests in a timely manner and always present a professional, polished front. If you feel like the restaurant’s point person drops the ball on a regular basis, then doing business with them probably isn’t worth the hassle.
- …but experience is a close second.
Restaurants who have only entered the catering game recently probably still have a few kinks to work out in their process. So even with a friendly and responsive team in place, you may end up with less-than-stellar service in the form of late delivery, cold food, or, even worse, no food at all. Eateries with a long list of references and many years of experience are probably better equipped to handle your event with ease, so prioritize these restaurants over others.
- Of course, consider the food, too.
Even though the quality of the food may not be the most important factor, it’s obviously of some import. If you’re able to, sample some of the restaurant’s food before the evening of your bash. The catering arm of the restaurant may offer complimentary tastings for prospective clients, but even if they don’t, you can always just go grab dinner there to see what the chef can do. Keep in mind the options that are on the catering menu if they differ from the standard dinner offerings.
- Discuss service options.
Depending on how you envision your party, different businesses will provide different perks. For example, if you’re thinking of a buffet, you may want to choose a place with simple dishes that will hold up well in serving trays. If you’re looking for a more formal sit-down option, you’ll have to make sure the restaurant is capable of providing serving staff. Do you expect to have a bar? This might require hiring additional help.
- Make note of organization and flexibility.
You want your chosen caterer to be organized and precise, but also willing to roll with the punches that inevitably come along with party-planning. You should be able to gauge how organized your caterer is based on your first few interactions with them, but if you’re seeing some red flags, after for references or look for customer reviews online. Previous patrons should be able to tell you how the eatery handled their own event, in terms of organization and flexibility, and help you to make your decision.
How to Hire the Perfect Private Caterer for Your Event [The Balance]
10 Insider Tips for Choosing the Right Caterer [Planning Pod]
7 Essential Tips for Hiring the Best Caterer [Belvedere Events & Banquets]