How to Choose a Caterer

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If you have been given the job of planning a party, celebration or other event, you can use catering principles in order to define and select the catering assistance you want for your event. Most caterers are able to provide some level of planning and designing the factors in your event, but you want one who has expertise in every part of the job you are anticipating.

The choice of a caterer can mean the difference between a smoothly operating function and one that leaves you frazzled and concerned. Some caterers specialize in different types of events. Your caterer might be helping you manage a meeting of corporate leaders or a group of six-year old children attending a birthday party. Planning a five hundred guest wedding reception dinner is no small feat. An experienced caterer can help you plan all these or even a small dinner party in your home.

If you like a particular type of food serving style, your caterer should be willing to follow your lead. You may want to ask a caterer to help you by suggesting some ideas about the food presentation style, but if you hate buffets, don’t choose a caterer who specializes in this style.

If you want ethnic foods of some sort for your event, you should check with your caterer about preparing a menu based on Spanish, German, Asian or Italian dishes. It’s a good idea to check out some sample dishes so you know what you are getting. Make sure the caterer know what type of ethnic cuisine you want. You should be very specific about the foods you want to include or want to avoid.

Sometimes your guests will have allergies or other special dietary needs. If you are having a small group, you should prepare for alternative dishes. In a large group, you may not be aware of individual dietary needs. Talk with your caterer about alternatives, such as vegetarian foods, diabetic diets or low-sodium diets.

Speak with the caterer to determine the appropriate layout of tables and of the place settings on the tables. Do you want a particular style of flatware to set a mood? How about stemware or decorations on the tables. You should decide whether the tables are to be round or square. Do you have a theme color that must be considered for tablecloths and for centerpieces? Working closely with the caterer will help everything to go smoothly.