20 Questions to Ask Your Venue Catering Company

When you're organising a special event, apart from the entertainment, one of the main drawcards for guests is the quality of the food and drinks catering.

And as we all know, food can take up the biggest proportion of your event budget!

Here's some questions you may want to ask when you're looking for your venue caterer:

  • What do they serve? Are they known for their food? We've all been to functions where half the table receives say, the chicken, and the other half, the beef, with guests furiously swapping their plates with what they really want.
  • Is it a la carte only or can they provide a buffet if that suits your event better?
  • Do they specialise in certain food? A city hotel may have a greater range of dishes than a beachside venue which could be heavy on seafood
  • Can they cater for children's menus?
  • Can they colour-coordinate food to go with your decor theme?
  • Are catering costs a set price per guest or per type of dish?
  • Are you restricted to working with the venue's preferred caterer or can you use your own?
  • Does your caterer provide tables, Tiffany chairs, linen, glasses, plates, charger plates, candles and centrepieces?
  • Can you bring in certain items if you want to match your theme?
  • Is yours the caterer's only event for the day? 
  • Who are their waiting staff?
  • Is there a dress code or uniform? 
  • Can your caterer cater for vegetarian, kosher, halal, low-fat, low-salt, or other special dietary dishes for certain guests?
  • Is your caterer preparing food fresh on-site, or is it pre-prepared, or frozen?
  • If you're hiring a function room such as at a surf club, farm or school hall, what cooking facilities if any will you need to bring?
  • How do they arrange the food on the plate? Ask for photos of past clients' events or visit for a meal.
  • How will they serve canapes? Do they give you a plate or just a napkin? Those big white Chinese-style porcelain spoons smear women's lipstick and are very hard to eat from, gracefully!
  • Do they include bar services?
  • What sort of desserts do they provide? You might want to bring in your own expertly made chocolate strawberry tower for dessert for example, if they specialise in spit roasts
  • Is giving your guests plenty of choice important to you? A restaurant venue is more likely to give your guests at least three dishes per course to choose from for a sit-down dinner than a hotel function room catering company.

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