December 6, 2019

Six Tips for Catering Your Next Family Event

Whether you’re planning a laid-back family reunion or especially if you’re hosting a more formal affair, catering is something you should consider. Not only does it free up some of your time, but it also helps you avoid last-minute disasters, like your souffle falling or not making enough tomato pesto to fill all of the chicken breasts you’re serving for your main course. Check out these tips to learn how to have your next family event catered.

1. Take the Event Size Into Consideration

The size of your gathering should play a huge role in how you choose to have it catered. If you’re hosting a large event, like a family reunion that includes a lot of your extended family members, you may want to consider hiring an event catering company. However, if you’re just having a small family gathering or getting together with the immediate family for the holidays, you might want to consider having a local restaurant cater it.

2. Think About Your Basic Needs

Before you begin calling caterers, you need to know exactly what your needs are. In addition to having a headcount for your event, you should know things like:

  • Do you need appetizers or entrees or both?
  • Should the caterer provide dessert? What about drinks?
  • Do you want a buffet-style meal?
  • Do you need wait staff to serve your guests? If so, how many staff members?
  • Where are you hosting the event?
  • How big is your catering budget?
  • Do you want a specific type of cuisine served?
  • Will you need any vegan or vegetarian dishes?

3. Consider How Professional the Company Is During Your Initial Interactions

The way the company handles things like sending you a proposal or quote, answering your questions, and interacting with you before you’ve signed a contract says a lot about their overall professionalism. This is important when hiring caterers because they can make or break your event. You want to find people who know what they’re doing, especially if a lot of guests will be attending. 

4. Check Online Reviews and References Before Committing

Before you hire a caterer, you should check the company’s reputation. One way to do that is by checking out online reviews from Yelp or Google Reviews. Often, you’ll find reviews that give you details on both the company’s professionalism and the quality of the food it serves.

Most professional catering companies, especially smaller ones or those starting out, will also have references available. Be sure to ask for a list of references and contact them personally to get a good idea of what their experience working with the company was like.

5. Ask Family and Friends for Recommendations

There’s a good chance someone you know has used a caterer in your area before, so before you start your search, try asking family and friends for recommendations. To keep things simple, ask for recommendations via Facebook post or text message. Then, review all of the responses at once.

6. Create a Unique Experience For Guests

You can create a unique experience for your guests by hiring a company that specializes in one type of cuisine or dish. For example, you might have a catering company handle the appetizers and the main course, but instead of having that company also provide dessert, you could choose to have dessert brought in by a local bakery or ice cream shop. Or, if you’re having a casual event, you could have professional caterers provide appetizers and side dishes buffet style. Then, grill hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, and steak to serve yourself. 

Additionally, you can check out catering options from national chain restaurants. Many of them offer casual catering options. Or, you purchase deli trays, veggie trays, and drinks from a local grocer and have a caterer provide your main course. If you’re having a small family gathering, you might want to incorporate food into the entertainment by having food roulette options available.

Hiring a caterer for your events makes the planning process a lot less stressful. As long as you hire a reputable company, you should be able to enjoy the event without worrying about the food and drinks at all.

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