Hiring a Caterer

Backyard Barbecue

Hiring a caterer is a great alternative to doing all of the work yourself.


If you're hosting the party in your own home you can make or buy some of the food and/or beverages yourself and leave the labor intensive and time sensitive items to the caterer.


There is a wide variety of caterers to choose from. Working with a good caterer is great fun and should make the party much easier for you.


For caterers in your area, go to our Caterers & Supplies webpage and search for your state. We may have some local businesses listed.


Graduation Party Tip

Tip:  Call caterers early enough to get on their calendars. Their weekends fill up fast so let them know if you're flexible on dates & times. If you have your party on a week night, you will have a bigger selection of caterers and possibly be able to negotiate lower service rates.


We've taken the time to interview several caterers and offer the following checklist for your interviews.

Caterer Checklist

q What are their specialties? (Food and beverage). Do they have a printed menu you can review?

q If you have a theme for your party, ask the caterer for recommendations to fit the theme.

q What serving equipment do they supply? (platters, chaffing dishes, serving spoons, tongs, plates, silverware, glasses, coffee urns, pitchers for beverages)

q Do they rent tables, chairs, linens, table skirts, dishes, silverware? If they donít, they may recommend a service.

q Do they provide or rent any extras? (e.g.: centerpieces, candles, decorations, props).

q How do they bill? Insist on a written estimate and breakdown of all costs. Ask to see a sample invoice so you know what to expect.

q What is their policy for quantities, can you return anything?

q How much space do they need to set up and what do you need to provide for them?

q Can they provide you with references?

q How do they figure portion sizes?

q How many people will staff your event?

q Does their staff serve beverages?

q Is there a separate delivery charge?

q Does their staff clean up during and after the party? What is included in this clean-up service?


Many local restaurants provide catering as part of their services. Some options include picking up the food yourself, delivery (hot or cold), delivery with set-up, and delivery with full service staffing.