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Questions to ask your caterer

Questions to Ask Your Caterer
Know exactly what you're getting from your food provider, with no unplanned or unpleasant surprises.

Yes, it’s the caterer’s job to provide tasty and well-presented food at an event. But a caterer has many other behind-the-scenes tasks to take care of, too. Here are some questions to ask before an event to make sure you’re communicating exactly what you need.

What is your signature fare?

Every catering company has its own specialty, so it’s important to ask about each caterer’s expertise and defining style. By doing so, you’ll know which company meets your specific needs—and you won’t miss out on a caterer’s signature, crowd-pleasing menu items. Ask, “How do you describe your food? What distinguishes you from other caterers?

What can you do for guests with allergies and dietary restrictions?

Special diets—like vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free—are a major concern for some guests, so make sure your caterer is prepared to handle food requests. It’s always smart to ask how exactly the company approaches the issue, especially when it comes to last-minute requests.

Where does the food come from?

Planners need to know where the food being served comes from—because guests are going to be interested, as well. Ask your caterer if local farms, vendors, and purveyors factor into the equation. If they do, consider noting it on the menus.

Are you licensed, with health permits and liability insurance?

Don’t get sidetracked by the look and taste of the food your caterer presents, and remember to verify that the company has all its necessary health and safety bona fides.

What are your water and electrical needs?

No, it’s not a glamorous or creative question, but knowing these details is critical to event catering success. Since a caterer can’t prepare food without adequate water and electrical provisions. It’s an especially pertinent question if the venue is an outdoor or a raw space.

What Equipment does your proposal include?

Hire inclusions or exclusions can represent a huge difference in the budget’s bottom line.

How will your staff dress?

While checking every decor detail to create your event’s aesthetic, don’t forget to ask how the catering staff will dress, as that too affects the event’s overall look and feel.

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