You’re in charge of hiring a caterer for a corporate event. The pressure is on. It can be stressful trying to find the right caterer for the event. Thankfully, here’s an overview of what you should you know when searching for “the right” caterer for a corporate event.
First, it’s a good idea to look for online reviews of area caterers. This is where you’ll get to read comments from people who’ve employed them in the past. You’ll read how well they did– or how bad they were, complete with little details like whether or not the waiters smiled and were in a good mood… or not. Of course you’ll want to read about the taste of the food– was it delicious or disgusting?
A Phone Call Goes a Long Way
Next, you should actually call a couple caterers and talk with them on the phone. You can tell a lot about a business by how they handle phone calls. If you call several times only to get an answering service, and your call never gets returned, then you’re probably not going to work with that caterer, right? If you call and someone answers promptly, talks with you in a friendly and informative manner, and sounds like they know what they’re talking about, that bodes well for that caterer! Besides phone calls, it’s also a good idea to use email– and see how quickly they respond.
Clear Expectations for the Corporate Event
When trying to choose the right corporate event caterer, you should be specific with your needs and expectations. Tell them everything you can think of, and then some! The caterer should show interest in what you’re talking about, with decent answers to your questions. When fleshing out the details, you’re able to see whether or not the caterer can meet your needs and expectations. For instance, you might want to have a very lavish event with people in tuxedos and ball gowns, but the caterer admits they’re more of a “beer and jeans” kind of business– fair enough, because it’s better to know sooner than later. You might also want to specify the kind of food you’d want. If it’s an ethnic dish that they don’t know how to prepare, then they’re not the best choice for your event.
Experience Matters in the Catering Profession
How about experience? Experience counts! Some caterers have been in business for many years, and they know the ins-and-outs of events, so they can “handle anything!” Others are new to the scene, and might not be ready to handle your event. So ask caterers how long they’ve been in business, and how many corporate events they’ve catered.
And what about flexibility? Some caterers have set menus and they don’t change them for anyone. Others are more flexible and can provide you with the food and drinks you ask for– flexibility is a factor when choosing a caterer.
Staffing Numbers and Protocols
Besides food and drinks, a caterer is all about service. So you, being the corporate event planner, should ask about their servers and supervisors. If you were to hire a certain caterer, how many servers could they provide? What would they wear? How would they act? Would they have supervisors to report to, and have they worked corporate events before? You want to ensure that the servers won’t embarrass you and your guests!
When seeking a caterer, it’s best to get three business proposals from three different caterers. That way you can choose the one which you think is best, rather than just having one to choose from. All too often, people go with the first caterer they call, without doing any research… and then they’re disappointed. So, it makes sense to investigate at least three corporate event caterers and choose the one that you feel would work best for your specific event and fit your budget.
Anytime you can get references, do so! Most caterers have a list of references you can talk to, and that way you’ll ask some questions and get a feel for how they handled other events in the past. Perhaps you could even ask to attend another event where the caterer is preparing and serving food in order to see them in action. It’s not unusual to ask a caterer to offer you a “taste test” of their food. That way you can truly know what your clients would be getting if you hired them for your event.
When you do decide to hire a caterer, there should be a written contract detailing what food, drinks and services they will provide, along with details regarding the time, date and location. Consider having an attorney review the contract. A contract should include cancellation procedures (and penalties) should your caterer not be able to perform their duties.
A caterer helps set the tone and atmosphere of an event. Choose one who fits your company’s style and culture. In Bensalem, Pennsylvania, which is located between Trenton and Philadelphia, call R&R Caterers to talk about your corporate event– we’d love to cater it. Our number is 215-638-7376.