Secrets of a Planner: Finding the Perfect Caterer

Food. It is the centerpiece of our lives... the one element that pulls us all together. Cocktails and appetizers... filet mignon and seafood crochets... tiny pastries and decorated cakes…it is what party-goers seek out…and why guests always end up in the kitchen at your private get-together. Food. It is the most significant detail of all events. Serve bad food at your soiree, and your guests will leave at the end of the night disappointed.

Taking this knowledge on the hunt for a caterer can create serious anxiety, especially when it comes to pricing. Before you lock up your wallet, you need to remember quality is of most importance. You truly get what you pay for. In most instances, paying $45 per plate will be a greatly different quality of cuisine than paying the extra dollars for a $100 per plate meal.

Here are some simple tips to find a great caterer:

1. The internet. Of course all of us run here first to find what we are looking for. Search for catering companies in your area though, and you will find TONS of options…too many, in fact. Try to attend events in the area to see the faces of the business and sample food. (ex: bridal shows, expos, venue open- houses, etc).

2. Ask around for referrals. The best way to find a great caterer is by asking the people around you. Hearing from happy customers who have experienced the food and service is a great way to get started on the search.

3. Look for companies using local produce. Not only does using local ingredients help with the local economy and our farmers, it also provides you with fresh ingredients…not canned green beans and frozen biscuits. This food is higher quality and lacks nasty preservatives found in items shipped from across the world.

4. Compare THREE companies. I do this with everything. I encourage my own potential clients to do the same. No matter if you are looking for a plumber, veterinarian, wedding planner, or caterer, you should always research 3 businesses. Talk to them, observe their customer service, sample their product, look at reviews, and notice their response time. A caterer is a HUGE portion of your budget and the TOP priority for an event. If your caterer doesn't show up, is late, or brings poor quality food you will have a big problem.

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Happy eating!



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