Understanding Professionals

How to Pick a Good Caterer

Regardless of the event you are preparing for, choosing a good caterer is important. But what do you look for in a catering service, and how do you compare different caterers?


If you have little experience with caterers, you should start from scratch. Ask people around you for referrals, and read online reviews about local caterers (just make sure to stick to reputable consumer websites where reviews are generally authentic). The management at your event venue may also give some names of caterers that are worth recommending.


Before you choose a caterer, make sure you visit their kitchen. Certainly, the environment must be clean, fresh-smelling, and overall professional. Anything short of that and you have a catering staff that has no genuine pride or interest in what they do – and one that you’re better off avoiding.


Because there is a whole variety of catering services out there, you need to pick the one that best fits your needs and requirements. Talk to your prospective caterer about menu ideas, and be sure to mention any dietary restrictions to be observed (for example, a guest or guests having food allergies). You should enjoy the event instead of worrying about your guests.


If you’re unsure about the number of people you will need for the event, check out the cheat sheet below:

Buffet – two servers/thirty guests For a bigger party, there should be two or three additional runners to restock chafing stations and clear dishes.

Sit-Down Meal – one server for every eight guests, plus extra servers to handle drinks

Bar Staff – one bartender/one bar-back per fifty guests You’ll need more bartenders if you plan to set up specialty drink stations.

Take note that you should have a captain of service for every six staff members to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Client Input

You may just want to provide a menu outline and give the caterer the free rein to deliver good results. Still, you should be working closely with your caterer at every stage of the event.

Menu Tasting

This is another crucial part of selecting a good caterer. You have to approve the menu and actually taste what’s on it before the actual event.


Make sure you are specific about your budget, and that the quote you receive is good for the caterer’s full service, from setting up to packing up to all staffing considerations. Lastly, before you sign the contract, quiz the caterer about any hidden and additional costs.

The Beginners Guide To Food (From Step 1)

Getting To The Point – Services