What To Look For In A Catering Company
You still remember that last time you’ve been at a wedding party.
Good food, friendly waiters, frequent replacements when a certain dish or pastry was too popular to last, water and drinks served to you as soon as you approached the table.
A good catering service is like that.
I remember this family wedding party I’ve been at in 2004 with a certain pleasure. Aside from the setting — a beautiful garden in front of the restaurant! — the food was delicious, it matched everybody’s tastes and there was enough choice for the vegetarian and the allergic not to feel left out.
They didn’t cheat us — the food was great and nobody felt sick after the buffet.
So, what you should look for in a catering company?
Well, aside from reading the reviews and hearing from people who have experienced their services before, meet with the company representatives and make sure the catering service has the following 8 quality points before you make your choice.
1. Availability to furnish menu samples for tasting
A good and honest catering company will let you taste the food before you plan it all out to make sure it is what you’re looking for.
If the company doesn’t allow you to taste their menus, something’s wrong and you better get suspicious of the quality of their food and cuisine.
A good caterer has nothing to hide about their food. Make a web search for negative reviews if you’re in doubt.
2. Prompt, on-time service
The party for your special event is starting soon — why isn’t the catering here yet?
A catering company is always prompt and on-time with their delivery service, so if they’re late and they still won’t call you and give you a reason for the delay, this is a sign the company isn’t serious.
Make sure to be clear about this matter as soon as you place an order with a catering company.
3. Food quality and conservation
There’s no need to highlight how important it is for the food to be fresh and come from quality sources, preferibly organic and naturally grown.
Conservation is also a decisive factor in the quality of the food. Good food gone bad because of a bad conservation practices is not only dangerous to your guests’ health, but it can also lead the catering company’s business to immediate death, so a conscientious company will take serious care of food conservation.
You should be able to asses this 3rd quality point when you taste the sample menu. Make sure to give the caterer detailed feedback on the quality, especially if you feel something’s might be wrong.
4. Friendly yet efficient staff
When the catering company doesn’t just supply food, but even service staff (waiters, attendants), you know this is a sign of prestige. The staff should be friendly and personable while attending to your guests.
If you have a lot of kids at the party, ask for a kid-friendly menu and staff with kid entertaining skills. A good catering company has staff that knows how to entertain kils and make your event interesting for them, too.
5. Clarity on the transports
I f you agreed on certain delivery times but the catering company is late, they should provide enough reason for you to wait.
Accidents happen, there might be a roadblock or another urgent matter coming up to delay the caterer, but if they don’t pick up the phone to let you know, your trust will definitely drop right there.
Ask the company for clear procedures in case of transport delays and how long they normally take to deliver.
6. Reliability and honesty
Serious businesses are always honest and reliable, and this is even more important for catering companies, especially about the replacement of bad or corrupted food and delivery times (see previous points for details).
There’s no point in hiring a catering company if they have a history of unreliability and dishonest behavior to their clients. These two factors are perhaps the most important in the list, so make sure you look for them when you read client testimonials and reviews.
Use Yelp.com to find out.
7. Communication and transparency
Your catering company will call you if they have a shortage of a certain food, couldn’t get in touch with one of the suppliers or the delivery has to be delayed for some reason. Communication is essential. If the company doesn’t call you and the service disappoints you, that’s a catering service not to use a second time.
Also, they should be transparent about their procedures and how they handle food. This is especially important if there’s a history of allergies in your family, so don’t hire the catering company if they seem to be sleazy or if there’s a risk they will use ingredients one of your guests can’t tolerate.
8. Good quality/price ratio
Finally, the quality of the service and the food should go hand in hand with a fair price. Low quality food at a stellar price is a no-no.
Don’t buy into the “prestige” talk the company may fill your head with — the real prestige is in honesty and reliability, not in names. If the food isn’t good and the service is scarce and uncommunicative, this isn’t the company you want to hire.
What other quality factors did you observe last time you hired a catering company for an event?
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