Critical questions for your caterer

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  1. What’s your specialty? There are many options when it comes to menu selection. You can have the traditional sit down dinner, buffet stations or snacks.
  2. How many dishes are offered in your spread? Do they offer food for certain dietary restrictions — vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free etc.? Do they charge separately for desserts and cold drinks?
  3. Can we sample the menu beforehand? Most caterers would agree to this but you have to request it and there may be a small charge.
  4. Are you catering another wedding or event on my wedding day? When hiring a small catering business with limited resources, be sure that yours would be the only event they’re working on that day. Otherwise, your wedding may not receive the attention it deserves.
  5. Do you handle all table settings? Will they put out place cards and favors?
  6. Can you itemize all charges relating to the event? Does the cost cover just the food, or does it include linens, utensils, dishes and glassware rental, too?
  7. Is there a minimum charge? Many caterers will quote prices based on a minimum number of guests e.g. 200 guests. If you actual guest count is below that, you will still have to pay for 200 people.
  8. What is the ratio of waiters to guests? One good rule of thumb is to have one server for every 15-20 guests.
  9. What do your servers wear? Discuss the uniform of all staffers in advance to avoid embarrassing glitches.
  10. Can I see a photograph of your table display? Some caterers will include floral arrangements and other decoration on their buffet tables.
  11. Can you provide alcohol or service a separate bar area? If yes, find out the corkage fee, and how and when the alcohol would and should get to the caterer?