Whether you're planning a small dinner with friends or an enormous banquet for a fundraiser, the importance of good catering cannot be overstated. Not only does depending on an outside company to prepare the meal free you to concentrate on the other aspects of event planning, but if you choose wisely you can serve your guests a meal that would have been nearly impossible to pull together on your own. When it comes to choosing a company, there are many similarities to the factors you would weigh when choosing a restaurant. But there are other considerations as well. Here are three of the most important factors to think about when hiring one.
Obviously, it begins-if it doesn't necessarily end-with the food itself. Your first goal should be to find catering that will "cater" to your guests. In other words, you might not choose a four star gourmet company for a kids birthday party. Likewise, you might not choose a place that specializes in greasy BBQ if you're planning a white tie affair. But beyond making sure the food is appropriate, you also need to make sure it's actually good. Many places will allow you to taste test their wares before committing. It is a good idea to take them up on that offer.
Many local markets have news stations that provide behind-the-scenes looks at area restaurants, expose them for dirty practices, and warn consumers when an eatery is slipping underneath regulations. These stations rarely go after catering companies, however, which leaves the research to you. And, if anything, it's even more important to make sure the caterer you're thinking of hiring adheres to proper food safety techniques. This isn't coming straight from the kitchen to your table, after all. Make sure the company you hire has the means and capabilities to keep your food safe and warm (or cold) before it arrives in front of your guests.
It is as important in the catering business as it is in the restaurant field and it is something you should look into carefully before hiring a company. This is something you can usually form an opinion about well before the event itself. Most companies will work with you to create the perfect menu for the dinner. Before even that begins, you should be watching how their personnel interacts with you and what level of service you're getting. If you feel as though you aren't being treated like an important client, you may want to take your business to someone else.