It’s a bit weird when you think about it, but when you reach out to a catering company you basically are interviewing them for a job.Even though you reached out to them. It’s almost backward from the typical interview situation that we normally think about.
However, this, combined with an eagerness to find the right catering company for your event, lead to people finding the wrong kind of catering for their event.
That’s why we want to share the 10 best questions you can ask a caterer so that your event has the best possible food!
10 Must Ask Catering Questions For Your Interview
Make no mistake, it is an interview.
All of the people that reach out to us receive a free taste test of the menu items they’re interested in serving.
During that time we have been asked questions that either helped guide our service, let us know we were perfect for them, or let us know we weren’t what they were looking for.
With that being said, let’s get to the questions!
1. Will your catering service require permits?
Sometimes caterers will serve items like alcohol. Or, sometimes they are a food truck or other presentation type.
Maybe your event is at a location that requires permissions for their service.
Ask if you need to get a permit for their service, and if so, ask if they can handle obtaining it for the event.
2. Will you have a coordinator on-site?
You don’t want to be stuck with a catering company that doesn’t even provide a coordinator for the event.
If they don’t at least provide someone in charge of actually serving the food you should go ahead and cross them off the list.
Make sure they have someone in charge, monitoring the service, ensuring food quality, and ensuring food is ready to serve.
3. Do you offer plated dinner catering, buffet style catering, or any others I should know?
Sometimes the catering company specializes in plated catering.
They prefer the grandeur of 3-course meals and servers delivering and clearing plates.
Sometimes they operate best by presenting batch cooked foods that your event attendees can simply pick and choose at will.
There are pros and cons to each style, but verify what method they typically serve in.
4. Do you have a couple options to accommodate dietary restrictions?
The last thing you want is for someone to be hospitalized for anything other than trying the splits on the dance floor.
You don’t want allergic reactions.
Gauge whether they offer options for different dietary preferences just in case your RSVP list has a couple requests for allergies.
5. Do you offer options for children’s meals?
A lot of people will ask this.
Obviously, catering companies can’t just serve free food for kids simply because they’re children.
However, sometimes they offer children's plates that they can serve at a cheaper rate than adults.
It all depends on the caterer and the meal being served.
6. Do you offer food tastings?
You need to make sure that the food is good.
Your caterer needs to let you know what to expect.
Therefore, ask if they do food tastings.
We offer free tastings to make sure every guest that comes to us both knows what to expect and has the best experience with our service.
The catering company you hire should offer that kind of service, so ask them to do so.
7. How much equipment do you provide?
This is a much better question to ask than “What do we need to provide for you?” simply because it’s much easier to gauge the needs based on what the catering company already provides.
Some catering companies will provide tables, tablecloths, various serving components, and other needed items.
Others might not need you or your venue to provide anything.
Simply ask what they provide and see if it accommodates your catering needs.
8. Do you provide set up and tear down?
One of the best parts of hiring a catering company is that they provide set up and tear down...usually.
It’s a good idea to verify that they set up tables, chairs, serving equipment, etc…
Otherwise, you might be pressed for time when you realize you have to set it all up yourself.
Verify they take care of everything prior to needing
9. Do you serve drinks or alcohol?
This may tie into your request for special permits a bit, but it’s wise to ask the caterers if they serve food only or if they offer drink as well.
Do they serve any sodas or water or tea to your guests?
More-so, do they offer to serve alcohol or are they strictly non-alcoholic drinks?
If they serve alcohol, ask if they offer bartending services (or if the venue you're using will provide them).
It’s wise to see if they can handle the drinks at your event as well as the food.
10. Are there any fees that aren’t listed we might have to pay?
Sometimes, various fees can come into play.
Not all companies have unexpected fees like overtime menu adjustment fees, but some do.
It’s wise to clarify whether or not some charges can occur that aren’t readily apparent at signing.
Keep these questions in mind when you go to interview and hire a caterer.
If you’re looking to learn more about catering an event or if you’re interested in seeing what Catering Tyler can do for you contact us below!