We’ve all turned to catering companies at one time or another for a special occasion happening in our life or the lives of our family. We’ve hesitantly (or eagerly) abandoned the idea of preparing all the food for our event in favour of turning the job over to the professionals and just sitting back and watching. For many, it’s hard to hand over the pots, pans, spatulas, and favourite recipes to others, while some of us see it as a huge relief that there’s someone else actually willing to do all the preparation and cooking!
Where do I begin?
So, you’ve thought long and hard about your options and you’ve made the decision to pass the reins to the pros for that anniversary dinner, wedding reception, retirement party, family reunion, or corporate event. That’s step number one.
But how do you proceed from there and how do you determine if a specific catering company amongst dozens of catering companies in your city or town is the right one for your event…and for you? What should you be looking for as you begin to whittle down the list of catering companies in your region? What characteristics are essential in a good caterer?
A catering company is more than just the owner. Or the chef. Or the servers. A good catering company is represented by a cohesive group of individuals that WORK TOGETHER to make events run seamlessly. That team works in tandem from day one to craft the event of your dreams.
How will you know whether there’s a good dynamic amongst the team members at a particular catering company? Often, you can see it from the moment you enter their location or when you talk to various individuals on the phone. You’ll sense the ease of communication from one team member to the other.
But if you’re worried that you’re not that astute, check with references who’ve used the company in the past. Ask them if one hand knows what the other hand is doing, so to speak. Check with former clients and find out how the event transitioned from an idea on paper to a real-life event? Did the owner/manager properly convey your wishes to the chef and other staff members? Were the staff members pleasant towards each other? Did they anticipate each other’s needs?
Sounds like relationship questions, right? Well, they are! You’re looking for a team with a good working relationship and, when you find it, you can be assured that working with that team will be easy for you, too.
When an individual has a passion for their work, you can usually bet on the chance that their job is well done. And, often, you can simply observe how that person exudes passion for their profession with just one meeting.
So, do you want a caterer who likes his job (or does it for the money), or do you want a caterer with a passion for food?
The answer is simple, of course, but it isn’t always easy to find catering companies that aren’t just going through the motions of catering your special event. You want one that truly knows and loves food and what they can do with it.
That likely means finding a catering company that’s creative with their menu. Creative not only means that they’ve shown you plenty of interesting options for your party, but it also means that they’re willing to step out of the box to come up with ideas that fit your wants and needs. Of course, limits will apply depending on the size of your affair, but the sure sign of a passion for food is the desire to manipulate it to create something wonderful.
Anyone can cater a party or other event. Perhaps you’ve had offers from your close friend who loves to cook, your aunt who’s been hosting family events for the last 40 years, or your neighbor who wants to “get their foot in the door” by cooking for your next special event.
You may be tempted. But – remember – certain special events only happen once in a lifetime, so don’t you deserve the best? What you need for your party is a team of individuals who are specialists in the field of catering. Why? Because they’ll leave no stone unturned and won’t drop the proverbial ball.
They won’t run out of appetizers. They know how many are required for a party the size of yours.
They won’t forget the cream and sugar for the coffee or the mustard for the hot dogs.
They’ll provide beautiful linens and elegant tableware, not plastic tablecloths and cutlery.
Specialists of any kind boast a wealth of experience in their field, and catering companies who are specialists have developed a reputation for being good at what they do. They’ll see that everything is done well from start to finish, from preparation to clean-up, and you’ll walk away happy that you chose them.
But how will you know if someone is a specialist? Ask! Dig around on their website. Look for information about how long they’ve been in business. Search for client testimonials. Request references. That’s all an essential part of making the right choice and being happy with that choice.
Remember, the lowest priced caterer isn’t necessarily the right caterer, even if you’re worried about your budget. Consider the characteristics above COMBINED with the prices offered to choose a caterer that makes you, your guests, and your wallet happy.