Hiring a Caterer
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.
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.
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.