What You Should Look For When Choosing a Caterer

By Meghan Butcher, The Dirty Blonde Stylist

Food is a big part of almost any style of event. From weddings to conferences, choosing the right caterer can bring your event to the next level and create a memorable experience for your guests. After the date and venue are selected, the catering team should be one of your next vendors to book. When interviewing different caterers, here are 5 things you should keep in mind.

Always request a taste test

You wouldn't recommend a restaurant to your friends without having tasted the food, right? It is so important to have a taste of what your catering team can cook up. When setting up your tasting, request options that you may want your guests to have at the wedding. Maybe take an opportunity to try something new or a specialty from that caterer. You will walk away feeling more in tune with who you are booking.

Know the ins and outs of what they offer.

The first key pieces of information you will need from your caterer are their menu, pricing, and add-on options. Finding vendors who match your style will help the planning of your event. For example, if you want to have stations and passed appetizers, it is important to know that this caterer has the staff to support your vision. The same goes for price per person—looking at vendors outside of your budget is not smart. However, asking if your catering team has any additional services like rentals, bartenders, or bakery services could save you money in the long run. Never be afraid to ask questions!

Ask for details of the planning process

Before booking it is important to know the planning process for this caterer. When is the final headcount due? When are the final menu selections due? What does your payment schedule typically look like? Do you provide the ABC license, if needed? What happens to any leftover food? What kind of setup do you require? This is especially important if you are looking at an outdoor venue that may not have unlimited power capabilities. (Did you know Groovin’ Gourmets is the only Central Virginia catering company with a complete backup generator?)

Ask for references

If you want to get real-world accounts from past clients. Feel free to ask for a reference list of people whom you could reach out to for a reference.

See what creative displays or service styles they offer

If you are looking for out-of-the-box food service for your wedding, ask about different options they have done in the past. Most catering teams should have photos or sample menus that they can share with you. Many vendors love to opportunity to try something new and flex their creative muscles to come up with unique options for clients.