Questions to Ask Caterers
Keep in mind that most venues include catering in their cost, however you do get venues that offer a self-catering option or perhaps you have decided to use granddad’s farm as a venue and need to get external caterers.
We have put together a list of some key questions to ask before you hire.
Please use this list as a guide only; feel free to remove any questions or add some that relate to your particular event and make sure to get everything in writing in your final contract.
Check out our Planning Tips on caterers.
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- Is my wedding date available?
- Do you cater more than one event a day?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many weddings do you cater per year?
- Have you ever catered an event at my venue?
- Can you provide references from previous clients?
- Do you have all the required documents to work with food?
- Do you specialize in certain cuisines?
- Given my budget, guest count, and wedding style, what food choices would you recommend?
- What packages do you offer?
- Do you supply waitstaff?
- Do we have to work off a preset menu or can you create a custom menu for our event?
- If I have a special dish I'd like served, would you accommodate that?
- Where do you source your ingredients?
- Do you use all fresh produce?
- Can you source organic or sustainably farmed ingredients?
- Can you accommodate dietary restrictions, such as kosher, vegan, etc.?
- Do you offer extras such as chocolate fountains, ice sculptures, espresso machines, specialty displays, etc?
- Will the food be prepared on-site or be brought in already prepared?
- Can you do theme menus?
- Do you offer tasting? If so is there an extra cost?
- If there is leftover food from my event, can we have it wrapped up for guests to take home or have it delivered to a local shelter?
- Do you do wedding cakes?
- Is it at an extra cost?
- Can you show me pictures?
- Do you have an alcohol licence?
- Do you supply barmen?
- Can you accommodate specialty cocktails?
- What brands of alcohol do you offer?
- Can we provide the alcohol and you provide the bar labour?
- Do you charge a corkage fee if we provide our own wine or champagne/wine?
- Is the champagne toast after the ceremony included in your meal packages or is it extra?
- How long will alcohol be served?
- Is coffee and tea service included with the meal charge?
- Will we be charged for bottles ordered, or just those that are opened?
- How do you charge for drinks (per consumption or per person)?
Payment & Services
- What's the difference in cost between the different packages and which one will work best for our need?
- How is your pricing broken down (e.g. food, bar, cake-cutting, tax, gratuity)?
- What are your overtime fees?
- How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due?
- When is the final payment due?
- Do you offer a payment plan?
- What is your refund/cancellation policy?
- What is your payment policy?
- Do you have extra charges, such as a security deposit, sales tax or service fees?
- What additional services do you offer (event design, coordination, planning, etc)?
- If so, is here an additional fee?
- Do you provide the basic décor (tables, chairs, glassware, plates and flatware)?
- Do you provide extra decor (i.e. chair covers, lounge furniture, Chiavari chairs, centre pieces etc.)?
- If so, is there an additional fee?
- What are your water, electrical, and equipment needs?
- How long will it take your team to set-up and break down the event?
- What time will you and your staff arrive at the site?
- Will your team handle all table settings?
- How far in advance do I need to book you?
- What information do you need from me before the wedding day?
- When would I need to finalize the menu?
- When will you need a final guest count?
- Do you provide a banquet manager to coordinate the meal?
- What will the caterer and their staff wear?
- How will you handle last-minute requests?