If you're hosting an event, you know that you can't do it all on your own. You're going to need lots of help preparing enough food to keep your guests happy, so a caterer is just what you need. Follow these steps to learn how to find and use caterers.
Ask family and friends. Your family and friends will probably know of a caterer or two to recommend to you. They can save you a lot of time in your search to find and use caterers. Plus, since your family and friends have experience with this caterer, you can ask important questions about how the caterer works, the quality of the food, and the general satisfaction of the guests. You will also want to know about pricing.
Check out your yellow pages. Your phonebook probably has an entire section devoted to finding and using caterers. Call a few of the caterers to inquire about pricing, availability on your specific date, and the type of foods or services they specialize in. Ask to come in for a tasting if possible, so you can try the food before you even consider serving it to your guests.
Talk to your venue. If you are hosting your event away from home, there may be a caterer on site. Most hotels or conference centers have on-site catering staff. Since they are familiar with the building and the equipment, it's an ideal choice. Again, ask about pricing, availability and what food can be offered.
Make an arrangement with the caterer. After doing your research and deciding on one caterer, it's time to get down to business. Schedule a meeting with the caterer where you can finalize all of the details, including menu, pricing, number of guests and any table decorations that the caterer will be responsible for. You will likely have to give the caterer a deposit, so be prepared for this.
Keep in touch with your caterer. Although one meeting may be enough for most caterers, you can never be too sure. It's a great idea to check in with your caterer in the weeks and days leading up to your event. Check to ensure that the menu will still work, that all decorations are available and that there will be ample wait staff.
Oversee your caterer before your event starts. On the day of your event, try to check in to see that your caterer has everything he needs. Stop into the venue to ensure that decorations are as you expected, and go over any final details. If you are unable to do this, have a trusted friend or colleague do this for you. It's imperative that the caterer is in place, and someone will need to confirm this.
Pay the caterer. Once the event is over, your caterer will take care of the food clean-up. All that you are responsible for is paying him! Have a check available for him at the end of your event. If you were exceptionally impressed, you may want to give your caterer a tip. If he made your day run smoothly by keeping your guests well-fed, then it's the least you could do. A great caterer is sometimes hard to find, so if you are happy with your caterer, make sure you keep his information so that you'll have it the next time you decide to find and use caterers.