The catering business is more than an $8 billion-a-year industry. Caterers provide food service at remote sites, such as hotels, homes, meeting spaces, businesses, etc. When you need to feed a large group, catering may be the solution. Your Better Business Bureau can help you find a professional, reliable catering company for your next event.
Before you begin your search for a catering company, determine how many guests you’ll need to serve and set a budget. Also, be sure to determine if you want an onsite or offsite location for your catering needs. Lastly, be sure to schedule a taste test with the caterer.
Your BBB suggests these additional tips when hiring a caterer:
• Shop around and get several written quotes.
• Check with family and friends. If they’re happy with a company they used, most likely you’ll be too. Also, check online reviews of catering companies and check a company’s Business Review at bbb.org.
• Consider reputation and years of service.
• Visit the catering company. Check for a clean kitchen, as well as clean and professional staff.
• Ask the catering company about recent events it’s done.
• Get references and be sure to call them.
• Ask if the caterer belongs to any professional organizations like the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE).
• Determine the staff-to-guest ratio the caterer will use for your event.
• Ask about the caterer’s specialties. For instance, some caterers may like to handle large events while others handle much smaller ones.
• Decide on full or partial service. While some caterers provide everything, others do not. Make sure you understand what your caterer will provide.
• Ask if the caterer needs a kitchen or if it has its own fully-equipped kitchen. Also, make sure the caterer has proper refrigeration.
• Check with the local health department to see if the caterer has any recent violations.
• Make sure the caterer has the proper license, insurance and permits needed.
• Don’t be afraid to inquire about something you don’t understand.
• Get a written contract, detailing everything included. Don’t sign anything until all blanks are completed.
Remember, the success of your event depends heavily on the quality, flavor and appearance of the food, as well as the caterer you choose. So, take your time and choose a reliable one carefully. If you have any questions regarding catering companies, get help from your BBB, visit www.bbb.org or call 800-776-5301.
The writer is the president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Dayton.