Delectable dishes, outstanding service, and an awesome cancellation plan are only a few components of an ideal caterer. But there’s more than that when it comes to choosing the perfect company! Take a look at what you should know before signing the dotted line.

Event Experience and Specialities: Different companies are built to serve different markets. Some caterers specialize in large events, while others are “boutique” and designed to only handle small parties. Make sure you’ve chosen a caterer who can work with your event’s size.

Menu Flexibility: If you will be serving a group with a particular dietary need, such as a gluten allergy or lactose intolerance — or even if the majority of your guests are vegan or vegetarian — make sure the caterer is equipped to meet those needs while still serving delicious food. It’s also important to verify that they have menu options that fit into the theme of your event.

Compare and Contrast: Talk to the caterer about your event’s specific needs, and compare proposals from multiple companies before selecting one.

Ask For References: Online reviews are not always reliable, so ask the caterer to provide references, reviews, and testimonials. Feel free to contact previous clients to ask them about their experience.

Verify License: Check with your local health department to verify your caterer’s license. Ask to confirm that the company has no bad records, violations, or complaints.

Taste Test: It’s not a hassle to ask for a taste test! Attend at least three testings with separate caterers, and make sure that you can taste what you ask for, not a generic sampling — and be prepared to pay for the testing is necessary.

Venue Familiarity: While this isn’t make-or-break, there are benefits to working with a caterer who is familiar with your venue; they know the rules and the available equipment and space. If you’re leaning toward a caterer who hasn’t worked at the venue before, ask them to come for a walk-through. 

Review the Contract: Every detail should be included in the contract, even small no-brainers, to ensure that there are no misunderstandings about what will be provided. Consider having an attorney look it over before you sign.

More Than Food: While a caterer is obviously supplying food and beverage, it’s important to remember that they’re supplying service as well. Inquire as to the number of servers, their experience, and the number of staff in supervisory roles.

If you’re looking for a caterer for your next event, make sure you check out services here at Fun Planners. For more Orlando event planning tips and information on how we can make your next event great, call us at 407-955-4949.