3 Red Flags When Hiring a Caterer

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The spring and summer months are prime time for outdoor parties, gatherings and celebrations. This is especially true in areas of the country where the winter is long and cold. People have all the more reason to get outside, organize events for friends and guests, and enjoy the beautiful weather to the fullest.

What this means, essentially, is that spring, summer and autumn months are full of professionally catered events. We’re not talking about a backyard barbecue with 5 or 10 friends (although some people do seek professional caterers for very small gatherings). We’re talking about those larger events where dozens, hundreds or even a thousand people might show up. We are talking about events that would be very difficult to handle without experienced and properly equipped professionals on the case.

If you find yourself in charge of organizing or planning an outdoor event this spring or summer, you might be somewhat confused or nervous about all of the different options out there. How do you make sure that the caterer you choose is going to deliver across the board and make your event a complete success?

You can always start by eliminating those catering companies that are more likely to make serious mistakes or drop the ball in any way. As you research caterers for your upcoming event, steer clear of the following red flags. The odds of success and a positive experience will increase exponentially.

1. Poor communication

If you want your event to come off without a hitch, communication is crucial from day one. Did you reach out to a catering company days ago, and are still waiting to hear back? Was the person you talked to curt? Did they fail to answer your questions thoroughly, or not have time to discuss the details of your event? Chances are, if you experience these communication problems up front, you’ll have more of the same as the event draws near.

2. Disorganized web sites

If your caterer’s web site is total chaos, what do you imagine their catering setups to be like? The best professional caterers are extremely detail oriented and will usually have their ducks in a row in cyberspace — with clear information, photos, menu options, and easy ways to make contact.

3. Murky fee structures

Have you ever hired a company, agreed on a rate, and later received a bill for more than was agreed? This is a frustrating experience, to say the least. If a caterer can’t give you a clear answer about fee structures, or cannot really explain how they arrived at an estimate, your efforts (and money) are best spent elsewhere.

Knowing who to trust

Professional catering is really about trust. You’re trusting a catering company to handle the food and beverage logistics for an event that is going to leave an impression on every guest who shows up. In many cases, it’s not an exaggeration to say that reputations are on the line. The most reputable catering companies know, above all else, that their own reputations are at stake in every event they cater. This is the kind of company you want for your outdoor event this summer. It might take a little research to find one, but it will definitely be worth it in the end.