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Calling The Caterer: Part 2

Learn what is important to ask the caterer when you call them. You want to ensure they are the right company for the job, and can take care of all your event needs.

What You Need to Ask the Caterer

Of course, you should expect to receive your ultimate proposal in black and white but there are some questions you should ask before you even get that far:

  1. Does the caterer have a health permit? By law, every caterer must have a health permit which means they work out of a government inspected kitchen. Ask for a copy. If they can’t furnish you with one, call someone else.
  2. Does the caterer have a certificate of insurance they can furnish you?  This is as important as a health permit as this covers general liability, liquor liability, auto, and worker’s compensation.
  3. How long has the caterer been in business?  Unfortunately, if you were to pick up a phone book from five years ago, you will see a plethora of catering services that were listed then but have since “disappeared”.  Catering is a tough business and one that depends greatly on consistent and reliable quality.  With an experienced caterer, you are left to relax.
  4. What is their policy on tastings?  If you have not had the opportunity to taste their food, you should inquire about doing so.  Many caterers offer tastings for those planning full service events.  For private tastings, some caterers charge a fee, some do so but it’s refundable if you book their services, and some do not charge at all if you are already booked.
  5. What are their terms and conditions regarding count guarantees, deposits, and cancellation policies?  These should be incorporated directly into the terms of your contract for your event but these are important questions to ask up front.

And, of course, there are several things you should Tell the Caterer.