Quick Recipes and Easy

Finding the Right Type of Catering for Your Event

Full Service Catering:

This can be heavy hors d’ oeuvres, sit-down meals, gorgeous buffets and stations, beverages, cappuccino bars and other event plotting. This can involve on-site cooking of some of the food using your kitchen space and oven, to setting up a temporary kitchen on site to prepare your meals. You have a full wait staff to set up the entire event and to tend to you and your guests needs during this special occasion. The staff will take down and clean up, and they should even take away the trash. They will work closely with your hired professional vendors to ensure that your event is perfect.

Private Catering Events at a Restaurant:

Many restaurants can offer you private use of their facility – often called a “buy-out”. They will close their restaurant during their regular hour for a price. Remember that they will turn away all business that would come their way, and there for patrons will go elsewhere for the evening. The price is usually expensive, but if it is your favorite place, what a better way to celebrate. You can bring in your own entertainment, floral and décor or let them take care of it all. You can do as much or as small as you would like. Show up, have a wonderful time, and go home with no extra work on your part.

Pick-up and Drop Offs:

Food that is mostly self-service. Many places will offer their well loved items, hors d’ oeuvres or entrees, that can be picked up by you or delivered to the party site. You may consider hiring an outside service staff to help you, or question family and friends to help serve and clean up. The food can come ready to serve on platters or may require chafing dishes to keep them hot. Some caterers offer appetizers that are best when cooked right before serving and they can even supply you with the simple cooking instructions. This is a very cost effective way to cater, and the size of your event can dictate if this is really a practical way to go.

Meet with A Caterer!

Plot at least six months to one year before your wedding to start plotting. Look for caterers who are members of catering associations. By being a member they surround themselves with professionals and industry leaders. You need a professional who is constantly educating themselves to provide you the client, with the most up to date menu, trends and thoughts to make the best event possible.

View their portfolio and see the style of their work. Many will make a proposal for you, based on your menu selection and style of catering service. There should be no charge for this service, and you should be able to change, add or delete items up until at least one month before your event. Of course this can affect the price. If this is an off-premise event, meet with the caterer at the site and discuss your vision for the location. Call a rental company to come out as well, to make sure your proposal is as accurate as possible. If you are comparing catering companies, please make sure you are comparing the style of service and menu selection. One caterer is not offering you drop off food in foil pans and the other is offering you a full service catering event with a 5-course meal and full staffing!

Once you receive the proposal make sure everything you questioned for is included and you know what is presented. Upon agreeing to the terms and conditions of the catering service a deposit is due to confirm their services with you for that day. The number of events a caterer does in one day varies with each event, guest count, style of service and the menu. You want to find someone who is not looking to be the busiest – only the best!

Valerie Vollmer has been an off premise caterer for over 20 years. Is one of only 175 CPCE (Certified Professional Catering Executives) in the US. National Association of Catering Executives – 2nd National Vice President

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