Most event catering companies will market their services for weddings and a wide variety of events. Yet, it’s critical to find a caterer whose experience, knowledge, and infrastructure matches your catering needs. Often, wedding catering is a more expensive service than other catering services. Some companies may simply charge more for a wedding because they know people and families are more willing to expand their budgets for this occasion. That said, more tangible factors may very well be behind these cost discrepancies.
Take, for example, a wedding cake. Anybody who pays attention to the pricing practices of bakeries knows that two cakes of comparable size and complexity may have different price tags, if one of them is for a wedding and the other is for a 75th birthday. This could be an example of surcharging, but it could also involve some degree of service add-ons. Unlike other occasions, the wedding cake usually requires a decorative cake stand and a more intensive delivery and set-up protocol. If you’re hiring this service for a wedding, you may want to look for a bakery that provides “complimentary” set-up service. If you’re looking for a large, elaborate cake for a different event, you should look for a bakery that offers a discount for parties that don’t require this level of service. With this in mind, you should ask probing questions of your event catering service company to get the best value for your money.
How to Find High-Quality Event Catering Services
The golden rule: Look early and long. You can find local caterers in the phone book, through online directories, or through an Internet referral service, like Event Source. Local caterers are usually easy to find; the trick is knowing how to eliminate unreliable caterers and how to choose the best one for your event. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, so you need to do your homework and actively seek out customer referrals. Don’t just ask, Were they good? Get details about how the caterer handled each part of the event planning and catering service. Look for ways in which this previous customer’s event was similar to or different from your upcoming event.
This “looking long” at past behavior should ensure you find a high-quality local caterer, but “looking early” is just as important for people working within a strict budget. You’re not the only one throwing a party that weekend, and if you wait too long the best catering services are going to be fully booked. This can create a certain amount of tension and stress: You need to book early enough to get a good price on a quality caterer, but you also need to wait long enough to create a reliable accounting of what you can expect from your caterer before you sign a contract. And you should insist on signing a contract: If things fall apart, a contract may become the deciding factor in allowing you to seek redress. This contract should also put your caterer’s mind at ease that you will pay for the catering service in a reliable and timely manner.