(Closed) Question about catering

posted 10 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
2030 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Here’s what I have learned after sitting with 8 different catering companies in 3 months of wedding planning:

The caterer will coordinate the rental of equipment and serving pieces. Then they will be responsible for accepting deliveries, returning everything properly, etc. You don’t want that responsibility.

Many caterers and venues won’t allow you to provide your own alcohol, but if they do, go for it! You’ll save money and be able to serve the brands you like best.

Catering costs per person vary by location. I’ve heard of some suburban and rural weddings done for $30 pp, but here in the city of Chicago, our quotes ranged from $85 to $150 pp. 

You can serve Jamacain food, but if you think that some guests may not like it, be sure to provide other options. For example, serve Jamacain appetizers, but a familiar entree. Or a Jamacain meat with a familiar side dish. Or a salad with Jamacain fruit served on the side so you could eat around it if you didn’t like it. Just make sure that nobody goes hungry or gets sloppy drunk from not eating.

Good luck!

Post # 4
Member
73 posts
Worker bee

Not all the caterers I spoke with coordinated with the rental company.  One of our favorite caterer require that we work with the rental companies ourselves.  As others have stated before if your caterer handles it, just let them, it will be much less of a headache.  If not make sure you have a clear list from your caterer of what they need and special instructions for the rental company. 

Go with the Jamacain food if it makes you happy but as mentioned before make sure there are alternatives the company can provide for those that have milder taste. Also make sure your caterers have done weddings before.  Catering for a wedding is different than catering for a large party.  We eliminated serveral caterers and restaurants because they have never catered a wedding and we didn’t feel like walking them through the steps. 

 The following is the list I have been using to meet with caterers.

<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Location: Garden     Wedding Date: 2008<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Ceremony Start Time: 7:00 p.m.  Hors D’oeuvres/Bar Start Time: 7:30 p.m. <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Dinner Start Time: 8:00 p.m.<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”> <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Food: Pacific Rim meets Northwest Cuisine  <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Requirements: No poultry due to allergies  <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Hors d’oeuvres – 1 hot, 2 cold<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Dinner – Plated, Buffet or Family Style, under consideration<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Bar – White wine, beer, and Champagne for toasting.  Non-alcoholic punch.<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>  <p style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt” class=”MsoNormal”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Caterer: <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Contact:    <p style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt” class=”MsoNormal”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Phone number:  <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”> <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>Questions

    <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>What is the estimated cost per person for a

<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Plated dinner? <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Buffet? <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Family Style?<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Children Menu/Pricing?<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Vegetarian Plate?<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Open bar (Champagne, White wine, beer, Sake)? <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Corkage fee if we want to supply the alcohol?<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”> <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>What does the cost include? <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”> <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Tables<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Bar<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Bartender<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Wine Glasses/Champagne Flutes<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Corkage Fee<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Champagne corkage fee<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Servers<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Linens (table cloths, napkins)<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Plates<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Glassware<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Flatware<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Serving platters and utensils<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Water/Beverage service<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Ice<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Coffee/ Tea/ Soda/ Milk<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Décor/Floral arrangements<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Table setup<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Linen setup<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Plates/Silverware/Glasses setup<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Décor/Favor setup<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Menu card at each table or station<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Cake<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Cake cutting     <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Cleanup<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Delivery <span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>       Coordinator<span style=”font-size: 10pt; color: black; font-family: Arial”>      

    <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Deposit amount?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>What is the staff-to-guest ratio<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>What is the dress code for your staff members?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>How do you plan to keep the food warm/cold?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Are your ingredients all fresh (or are some can/frozen)?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Do you try to use local ingredients when possible?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Do you have liability coverage – including liquor liability? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Can you supply a list of references from pass events at the PCCG? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>How much advance time is needed to confirm a reservation? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Can we arrange to view the catering of another wedding reception (preferably for PCCG) to check food display, service style, flow, organization? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Can we arrange to taste foods on the menu you suggest? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Is there a tasting fee?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Assist with coordinating with PCCG event manager, Musicians, etc…. <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>What additional charges might be incurred other than the food, beverages, and rental of requested extras? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>What is the policy for payment (credit card, check?), gratuity % if not included? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>How much advance time will you need to set up? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Will you be able to send us a confirmation letter including the wedding date and time, names of service help, tipping policy, decorating time, color schemes, menu, cost per person once we have put down a deposit?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Is there a contract or guarantee?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>How will the Hors d’oeuvres and dinner be served?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>How much are your overtime and cancellation costs? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Is the price locked in once the contract is signed or will the cost increase for next year?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>Will you feed the photographers, the musicians? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>When will you begin setup?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>What is the guarantee requirement for number of guests? <li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>When must we provide a final guest count?<li class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 0pt; color: black; tab-stops: list .5in”><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial”>What is your policy for left over food?  Containers for guest?  Food bank donation?

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