5 Tips for Choosing an Event Caterer

The Perfect Food for You and Your Guests

No matter the event style, location or purpose, everyone wants their special day to go smoothly. Whether it’s an intimate wedding or a business expo, the food choices and experience can make or break the event. While most of us are not professional event planners, finding the best caterer can often be confusing and challenging.

To help, our experts at J&J Tent have compiled the Top 5 Tips for Choosing the Best Event Caterer! So much goes into planning and hiring a catering company; we wanted to make sure you were prepared and considered all the options.

Tip #1: Consider the Needs of the Event

The first step to finding a caterer is defining the event’s needs. To do this, answer the following questions:

  • What is the event budget?
  • How many individuals will be invited to the event?
  • What is the style of the event? How will you match the menu to the style?
  • What type of meal will you plan to serve? Appetizers, entrees, a 4-course meal?
  • What additional food items would you like at the event outside of the main meal?
  • What are your expectations for the catering company?

Tip #2: Event Location

It is ideal to find someone familiar with your event location and venue — a caterer who has navigated the event space and is already aware of the potential issues. While this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, it is important to make sure that the caterer is aware of the event location and can accommodate the space. For example:

  • What is available for the caterer when they arrive?
  • Do they have the ability to adjust if items are lacking?
  • What must the caterer bring to be successful on the day of the event?

Tip #3: Read Reviews

Any good caterer should have reviews and references. Seek out reviews online to get a better feel for the company and food choices. Yes, reviews can be biased and skewed, but they are often riddled with truths. Always make sure to take the time to double-check your sources and do the research to make an informed decision.

Tip #4: Get the Details

When researching caterers, consider the event budget and parameters of the event. Be sure to ask questions like:

  • What’s included with each meal option? Are there any additional fees that may not be listed?
  • What are the food preparation methods? More importantly, where will the food be prepared? Is there anything needed at the event space to accommodate the menu choices?
  • What is the timeline of events to ensure quality and taste for the guests? What allows for continuity for each plate or meal option?
  • Can they accommodate food allergies? Are there any extra costs with a specialized menu?
  • Can the caterer provide certifications from the health department or possible insurance to cover staff on-site?
  • How many people will you need to serve and provide for the event? Does the catering company provide those people, or will that be something that needs to be handled by the event planner?

Tip #5: Take a Bite and Go with Your Gut!

“The proof is in the pudding” comes to mind when dealing with Tip #5. While the quote is actually “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” the message remains. The only way to understand if the food is quality is to take a minute to schedule a taste test and go with…well…your gut!

Bonus Tip

If you are planning an event in the Raleigh area and need some expert advice, give J&J Tent and Party Rentals a call. While we aren’t caterers, we have been immersed in the wedding scene for years and have a wealth of knowledge and recommendations. We know the North Carolina event industry well, so we can answer any questions you may have about throwing your wedding, engagement party or business event.

With J&J Tent and Party Rentals by your side through every step in this process, we take the guesswork out of planning the best event ever. For more information about events and tent rentals, Contact Us at (919) 977-3691.

Also, take a look at a few more event planning blogs

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