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What Does Professional Catering Cost on Average?

What kind of party would you throw if money were no object? Would you rent (or perhaps buy) one of those mega-yachts that only the super rich can afford, and take your closest friends out on a week-long cruise, with all the food professionally catered? This may be a reality for only few, but the truth is, a family reunion or friendly get-together in a beautiful park, or at the beach, is just as good – if not better. You probably don’t have to think too far back to the last fun outdoor event or party you attended. Maybe it was a beautiful warm spring or summer evening. The atmosphere was great, the people were fun, and the catering was excellent. Who needs a mega-yacht when you have a party like this?

Fortunately, these events are going on all the time in towns and cities across America – especially now, when spring is finally rolling around after a long and cold winter.

If you look at catering companies across the country, you’ll find that customers tend to pay between $15 and $20 per guest (or “per plate”). This is how the cost works out after everything from transportation to cleanup has been figured in.

However, as you might imagine, this estimate isn’t entirely dependable in all cases. That’s because catering involves such a wide spectrum of options and extra services. One event might have expensive items on the menu, and wait service to take care of guests while they sit and their tables and enjoy themselves. These things drive the cost up significantly. Other factors like bartending and DJ services may also be available from your caterer, and will further drive the costs up.

When you see those estimates of $15 per plate, you’re generally talking about a catered BBQ or picnic served buffet style, which is the most economical and sensible way to do a catered event in many cases.

It’s also worth mentioning that an experienced caterer will be able to work with your budget to deliver a menu and service plan that exceeds your expectations. They’ll be skilled in maximizing your budget without cutting corners.

The most important factor in making your catered event a success

But it’s important to be vigilant about the catering company you choose, because this is the single detail that will have the most effect on the quality of the catering service at your event. It sounds obvious, but people often choose the first caterer they come across, or they assume that all professional caterers are basically the same. The truth is, each company has a reputation that is made up of individual customer experiences. If you can find out some of those experience, plus add in the company’s own web site and skill in communicating, you’ll be on the road to finding the better catering companies in your area. Most people don’t have a catered event every week – so when you set up a special event like this, you want to make sure your budget is well spent!

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