4 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Caterer

Posted on: Wednesday, May 5th, 2018

Are you looking for a caterer for your event, or helping out a friend in need? Are you curious about what common mistakes people make so you can avoid them?

If so, this article will help you avoid the 4 most common mistakes people make when choosing a caterer.

You only have one chance to get your event right and you don’t want to miss the opportunity due to a common mistake.

Here at Chef’s Expressions we’ve been catering & designing events for more than 35 years and we know that your events are important to you. In light of that, we would like to share our expertise to help you avoid the 4 most common pitfalls when choosing a caterer.

To do this, we had our event design consultants put together a list of the most common issues they have helped their clients avoid and/or seen others fall prey to.

If you are planning an event and would like to skip the hassle and stress of choosing a caterer just click here and will pair you up with one of our event design specialists. Or call us today at 410-564-2433.

If you want to discover what 4 mistakes to avoid when choosing a caterer, here is the list below:

  1. Dietary Restrictions

    As a host, this can be a very easy thing to miss. You get so wrapped up in all the details of life and sometimes forget that you or some of your guests may not be able to enjoy certain foods due to dietary restrictions.

    No matter if this is a corporate catered event, a wedding catered event or a bar mitzvah, you want to make sure you and your guests can enjoy the food.

    Event caterers are often booked in advance with set menus.

    Event design consultant Bonney Opper says:

    “Make sure that your caterer is able to provide any special dietary restrictions for your guests such as gluten-free, lactose-free, vegetarian/vegan and halal requests.  This would need to be requested prior to your event so all your guests are taken care of and can enjoy their food without any worries.”

    You want to make sure that your caterer can adapt to changing dietary restrictions so you don’t have to stress about the meal.”

    Not all caterers are created equal, some have more flexibility than others.

    With things always changing, you want to make sure your caterer is able to customize to your needs up to a week in advance.

    If you have any further questions or concerns about catering for dietary restrictions you can contact Bonny today.

  2. Event Specialization & Customization

    Let’s face it, all caterers are not created equal, that being said you’re going to have some that offer services and specialize in things that others don’t.

    You want to make sure you choose a caterer that can customize the presentation and food to your needs.

    Depending on your needs you may want to hire a full-service caterer that can customize to your needs or a standardized caterer that is not as flexible but may be more affordable.

    If you have a theme, an atmosphere or ambiance you would like to create to make the feel of your catered event just right, you should talk with one of our event design consultants or a full-service caterer.

    They will help you transform your idea into a beautiful reality.

    Megan Cloman, event design consultant says this: “Some caterers have specialties or only offer food and service. Make sure if you have full-service/custom needs that you hire a full-service caterer capable of customizing.”

    If you’re looking for something less spectacular and templated you could look into a standardized caterer or a drop-off service.

    The choice is yours, although we always recommend you choose a caterer that can do everything you want and more rather than dealing with the pain of being told “no” later down the road.

    If you think your event may need some specialization and/or customization, feel free to reach out to our expert, Megan anytime.

  3. Licensing

    This is often one of the most overlooked pitfalls of planning your event catering. Jerry Edwards, owner and corporate catering chef of Chefs Expressions has this to say:“Make sure you choose a caterer that is licensed and insured.”Is it really surprising that in the midst of a tornado of details this one is missed? Well, not really although it is a big one and a pain point that is often discovered too late.

    Imagine your event getting shut down by the liquor board or your venue rejecting you because they didn’t know you were serving alcohol.

    Or, what if there wasn’t any manager on staff to ask questions to lull your concerns and make sure everything runs smoothly?

    It would be a nightmare and one that unfortunately happens to too many first time organizers.

    If you are the bride, groom, event planner or best friend that is in charge of making sure things go off without a hitch, don’t let this happen to you.

    To ensure it doesn’t, always make sure you are aware of what licenses your caterer has and make sure they have communicated with the venue to legally be doing what you’re hiring them to do.

    If your unsure about what licenses you may need for your catered event, feel free to reach out to one of our event design consultants. Or call us today at 410-564-2433.

  4. Silverware despair and other miscellaneous costs

    This is another great example of something that is often overlooked in event design when finding the right caterer. Micah Greenberg, event design consultant recommends this:“Choose a caterer that owns their own silverware and glassware. Those costs can add up without you knowing it.”

    When catering companies need to buy or rent silverware and glassware it becomes a cost to them, which can get passed down as a cost to you.

    When you come to a caterer, you want to know you’re investing in a great experience, not the silverware.

    You want to make sure that the caterer already owns the equipment and silverware which makes the event set-up easier, less prone for disaster and adds no extra cost.

    If they don’t, you should ask how much they’re charging you for these miscellaneous costs so you don’t get surprised by the final invoice and/or the higher final quote after you spent your time and energy designing the event of your dreams.

    Unfortunately, catering and event companies are not like doctors that pass on records when the costs are too high or out of their expertise.

    With that said, you will want to make sure you don’t waste your time by asking these questions up-front.

    If you’re looking to book a caterer in the near future and avoid any of the pitfalls and stress that comes with planning, feel free to contact Micah Greenberg today.

A brief recap

Choosing a caterer can be a big task. If you’re the bride, groom, family member, friend or event designer it’s often a stressful responsibility with complicated details.

These details can be simplified and processes smoothed over by and event design consultant. Although if you choose, you can still successfully plan and pick your own caterer and event design.

When you are choosing a caterer always remember to ask about dietary restrictions, event specialization, licensing and miscellaneous costs like silverware. If you do this, you will have a higher chance of making the best choice for your event. Chef’s Expressions is a full-service catering and event design company.  If you would like help with planning your next event, feel free to email us. Or call us today at 410-564-2433.