How Do I Choose a Caterer for My Corporate Event?

Have you ever been in charge of organizing a catered corporate event? If so, you know it’s not easy. This holds true for many private events too — especially formal events, like weddings. But when there’s a corporate element involved, you may feel an extra pressure to get things right. After all, these are your colleagues. These are people you’re trying to impress over the long term. If the catering is awful, it will definitely fall on your shoulders in some respects — and obviously you don’t want that.

The next obvious question becomes how do you choose a caterer for that event? Because if there are major catering problems at the event, the caterer is almost certainly going to be responsible. The only situation in which this wouldn’t be the case is if the client did not give the caterer accurate information on menu choices, crowd numbers, or service preferences.

But these misunderstandings all boil down to communication, and a pro caterer should know how to take the lead in terms of making sure everyone is on the same page.

Getting back to the question at hand, how do you make this important choice? What should the selection process be like? After all, it’s a direct professional reflection on you. Here are some things to look for when selecting a caterer for your corporate event.

1. Reputation

Since your reputation is (at least somewhat) on the line when planning a corporate party, it’s important to focus on the reputation of your caterer. The best caterers want to protect and uphold their own reputations as much as they want to protect and uphold yours. So how do you spot a reputable caterer? Good average review scores are definitely a good place to start. If you can’t find meaningful reviews, try making contact with a few colleagues. Ask if they’ve used any catering services lately, and what their experience was like.

2. Experience

Becoming a quality caterer is not something that happens overnight. It takes training, skill, investment, and persistence. It takes years of first-hand experience to really know catering inside and out, and be able to meet the diverse needs of different gatherings and events. Find someone who has years of experience doing corporate events and you’ll be on the right track.

3. Menu options & communication

Some catering companies only do a few things, but do them very well. Others offer a wide selection of menu options and have total command over the choices they offer. When in doubt about specific menu items, ask your caterer for more specifics. Where is the food coming from? Is it prepared in-house? Do some of the dishes come from food service companies? How can you be sure you’re getting the finest quality across your entire menu? Being able to ask all the questions you need to ask — and being able to count on the answers you’re given — is the key to a better overall result from your caterer.

Getting it right the first time

You don’t want to ‘learn’ the importance of hiring the right caterer after the fact. You want to know that your corporate event was a success because you put in the effort to secure a quality caterer up front. But it doesn’t end with the selection process. Make sure you communicate with your caterer regularly to discuss any changes. Reiterate the details and reinforce your plans. This will help you avoid costly mistakes — and make sure your important corporate event is a success.