Post # 1
This past weekend my FI & I went to see a caterer we have been talking with for quite some time for a tasting. The food was great but she cooks out of her own home and is just starting her business.
Of course every experience is dependant on the individual caterer, but I was curious as an overall view, what were your experiences with hiring an unlicensed caterer? Is there any advice on what I should demand be included in the contract?
Post # 3
UH OH! Looks like I’m the only crazy person who is thinking about doing this 🙁
Post # 4
I hired a husband and wife team that does catering "on the side". I’m pretty sure they arent lisenced either, but the husband is an accredited chef. We probably wont be tasting their food prior to the wedding either since its a "destination wedding". I may just be crazier than you 🙂
We didnt sign a "contract" per se, we just have a written agreement on what the menu is for how many guests and what price, and I made a copy of that and the check I wrote for a deposit. They are friends of a family member, so I’m not worried about them screwing us over.
Post # 5
One question I do have is whether or not you are required to rent all the catering equipment? Our caterers already have all the chafing dishes, sternos, outdoor kitchen, etc. Is your caterer cooking on site or just delivering the food and setting up a hot buffet? I would make sure you have word for word what you expect of your caterer and then agreed upon time, place, date, price, etc. That way there will be no guessing on eithers part on the big day.
Post # 6
To anyone who might now, what guarantees does licensing give? What can you get through licensing that you can’t get through a normal contract?
Post # 7
Depending on where you live, (the local/ state laws) a catering license might be required for health code reasons. Besides that, I think a lot of this would depend on your venue — do they have any guidelines on who can cater? How many guests will you have? The smaller the wedding, the more likely the unlicensed caterer would be an okay option for you.
I got this from http://www.dallascityhall.net because I saw Dallas by your name:
Home preparation of food for public consumption is prohibited. All food that is to be consumed by the public, whether free or for sale, must be prepared at a commercial establishment that is inspected by a federal, state or local health authority.
Post # 8
@ Miss Camera: the caterer does have the sternos, chafing dishes, etc…I think its mainly her lack of multiple references is whats a little uneasy for us…
@ Mary Allice: thanks for the link! I really had no idea! We are getting married in Austin and when I get home I’m going to look at our venue contract, I wonder what it says about the caterer having a licence. Thanks SO much!! I might of booked her w/o looking at my contract, so we’ll see!
Post # 9
I think everyone is giving very good advice. I just wanted to add that by hiring a non-licensed caterer, you are pretty yourself at risk to be liable if anyone gets extremely ill from the food. By hiring a licensed caterer, you are also protecting yourself from any liability, should someone get ill and file suit. I know it’s a far stretch, but it may be something else you want to consider. Good luck! 🙂