If you’re planning a large event and looking for that perfect caterer to complement your party, it’s prudent to get multiple catering quotes to compare. However, not every proposal includes the same information. Ask the catering companies some questions before making your decision. Remember, the more details the better when comparing quotes. A catering company that includes a lot of specifics in their quote is less likely to hit you with unexpected charges after the event. Here are some key items to review when comparing quotes.
This is a big one obviously! Not all food is created equal. Some caterers offer great food but small portions, or large portions but lacking in taste. If you aren’t sure where your caterer falls, ask them for a tasting. Keep in mind though, many caterers won’t offer a tasting prior to a signed contract. Here at Catered Creations, we offer tasting events for prospective clients.
Another aspect of the menu to consider is the quality of the food. Ask your caterers where they source their food from. We believe in supporting local businesses and source our food from vendors throughout Grand Rapids, including Fulton Street Market, Brouwer Meats, West Michigan Farmlink, and Gordon Food Services. With high quality, house-made foods, caterers are able to accommodate dietary needs. Our menu items are made from scratch so adapting for any dietary concern is not a problem.
You not only need to compare the taste and quality of the food, but also the quantity and serving size accounted for in the proposals. Be upfront with the caterers and ask how much food is included in the cost and what an average serving size looks like for them.
Lastly, ask if the food will be prepared on-site or beforehand and heated up at the event. We make as much as possible at the venues for the freshest food, even bringing our own grills and fryers.
Make sure to read through the terms for payment in the proposal. How much is due upfront? Is the deposit refundable? When is the final payment due? Are there any hidden costs that aren’t in the quote, such as:
- Sales tax
- Set-up or breakdown costs
- Gratuity for serving staff
- Venue fee
On-site staffing is key to the success of large events where there can be many people wanting drinks and food all at once. Discuss with caterers how many staff members are included in the quote and what their roles are. Our on-site staff includes a banquet captain to oversee all staff, servers at a 1 per 30 guest ratio, and on-site food preparers.
Check with the caterer to see if they have catered in your venue before as it may save a lot of planning time and they will likely have suggestions on how to help your event run more smoothly. If you don’t have a venue yet, they are a great source to help you find one!
If it happens that they haven’t worked in your venue before, confirm with them the details of the venue, especially whether it is indoors or outdoors. If it is outdoors, discuss who will bring the tables, chairs, and tent.
Read through the catering proposals to see what exactly is included in the price and what is considered an additional cost. Make sure to check if the following common services are included in the cost or add-ons:
- Linens: We give you the option to choose your linen color to coordinate to your event.
- Centerpieces: We have a wide variety of decorations to make your banquet table stand out.
- Water service for tables: This is always included with our on-site staffing.
- Delivery cost: This can either be a percentage of the total cost or a flat rate. We charge a flat rate so your cost stays the same, even if your order increases.
- Basic table service: All our menu items come with a basic disposable table service at no extra cost, including plates, napkins, silverware and cups. We offer full china for an additional charge.
It can be time consuming, but the more details that can be addressed before your event, the smoother it will go.
Ready to get a quote? Connect with us here!