From corporate entertainment to family weddings, one of the most important elements of your event will be your choice of catering services. As well as checking that you have access to a menu that will suit you and your guests, you will want to ensure that your caterers have the whole event covered from welcome drinks all the way through to goodbyes from caring and experienced staff.
Choosing the right catering services can be tricky, particularly if this is your first event. You want to get it right, you want to impress and most of all you want to be able to relax and enjoy the day yourself. We give you 10 tips to help you find the best catering services for your event.
You will undoubtedly want the very best in catering services for your event but the catering won’t be your only cost and it is important to remember that if you overspend on one element of your budget you will be forced to skimp on another. There are caterers out there for all budgets so make sure that you shop around. It does no harm to explain your budget to prospective caterers, if they are experienced they will be able to offer you options at different price levels and work creatively to design a menu that meets your expectations whilst remaining within your budget.
Although you might be tempted to give an opportunity to an up and coming caterer you should be aware that choosing catering services with limited experience carries with it risks. If your event is a large and important one, take recommendations from contacts or follow up references and testimonials from prospective caterers by phone or email. Many catering services specialise in a particular type and size of event. Take the time to interview at least 3 caterers to help you to ascertain which has the most relevant experience for your event.
Although they are important, these days it is not just taste and cost requirements that a catering service should be willing to take into account. With more awareness of food allergies and intolerances it is particularly important that your chosen caterer can offer an element of menu flexibility. Check with each catering service that you interview that they will be willing to make menu adjustments as you gather your guest shortlist.
It stands to reason that you should expect your caterer to be able to work competently and safely within your chosen venue. If your event is in a marquee for example it might be a good idea to go with a caterer who has a proven track record with the peculiarities of conditions that tent catering can sometimes produce. If your event is at a static location your caterer should be willing to visit it with you and discuss the practicalities of your requirements.
Clear Written Quotes
Although the majority of catering service providers are hardworking and aim to please their clients, there are unfortunately some out there who will attempt to renege on aspects of service, provide shoddy food or add additional costs to an agreed budget.
Single Point of Contact
Decisions and discussions can get lost if you find yourself dealing with too many different people. Although your catering service will have staff members with different responsibilities they should allocate a specific manager to your event who will help you to make decisions, keep you informed about plans and be your support should anything go wrong. This manager should definitely be on hand for the whole of your event.
Pre Planning Time
A good catering service will be willing to work closely with you on your event planning. Reject any catering company that does not give you the opportunity to have a say in menu decisions and expect to be invited to tasting sessions well before your event.
Quality food and an interesting menu are only half the story of your event’s catering success. The attitude and presentation of the catering service’s staff can make the day if it is good and spoil everybody’s enjoyment if it is bad. Be wary of catering companies who bring in unknown staff at the last minute and ask to be introduced to the staff manager for your event.
Your catering service should be able to demonstrate their awareness of food hygiene and safety regulations and discuss any fire or building regulations that they need to know about before and during your event. Don’t be afraid to ask some difficult questions and request to see copies of relevant training certificates if you are in any doubt.
Photos of Previous Events
By looking at photos of your shortlisted catering service provider’s previous events you can get an idea of how they usually set up events and how good their table layout and food presentation is. Things like finishing touches may not seem important when you are the beginning stages of planning but you will notice if they are not acceptable when it comes to the day of your event.
Whatever your catering event you will want to ensure that the basic ingredients that make up your menu are the very best that can be bought within your budget.
At IMS of Smithfield we supply meats to some of the best restaurants, hotels and catering companies in London. We provide the highest quality meats for high value prices. If you run a business in the hospitality industry, we offer competitive prices on a full range of meats. For more information please get in touch here or call 020 7833080 today.