(Closed) Deposit before tasting?

posted 3 years ago in Food
Post # 2
8009 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

we had our wedding at a hotel.  i needed to put at deposit down to secure the date.  after the date was secured, we could arrange our tasting. 

i’ve never dealt directly with a caterer but i would assume the same thing.

Post # 3
214 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

It is pretty common (at least in my area) to do this. I find it super annoying, but I’d just ask if you can do one beforehand. Even if you have to pay and it’s just some stuff of their selection and not necessarily what you’d actually be getting.

Post # 4
2745 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

We put a deposit down on the venue (we’re using their caterer) before our tasting. I was only comfortable doing this because the business has been around for decades, and I’ve had their food on many occasions, so I knew I’d be happy with it. If you’ve never used any of the caterers you’re thinking about then I’d at least ask around or look for reviews first. 

Post # 5
9378 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

we booked before a tasting mostly because its a domestic destination wedding and we can’t fly down for every little thing.

I just surveyed my venue manager and florist for who the best caterer was and read a ton of online reviews. I got a bunch of quotes anyway but the recommended caterer’s food and alcohol menu just blew them all out of the water. They are not the cheapest but we want a phenomenal meal for all the people who have travelled to get there! 

Post # 6
7107 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

It is common on our area to put down a deposit before doing a tasting. It was one if the reasons we will with a venue that a few of our friends have attended events at and they said the food was amazing.

Maybe you could suggest giving them a tasting fee that will be applied to your deposit if you do end up booking with them? They probably just don’t want to lose out on the money that is involved with the tasting.

Post # 7
979 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

LeeBee88:  My parents came to visit, where we live and the wedding will be held, with the hope that they could be a part of our tasting. 

We only really have two choices between caterer’s that are approved by our venue. One the menu is totally personalized for you and your budget and does not offer a tasting until a deposit is paid. May parents were so not okay with this and kept saying when they got married they actually got to got a wedding at their venue to see it all together and taste the food! 

The other catering option was actually hosting a sampling of their food at our Venue’s open house. They do offer tastings but since I had now tried the food twice at the venue open houses and once at their resturant I knew the food was good. My parents raved about the food and enojyed talked with the owner. Not to mention going with option 2 comes with linens and table/glassware so our decision was pretty easy.

But as far as I know tastings for free aren’t really a thing anymore. I’d suggest finding out if your prefered caterer is going to be at any Bridal Shows as manytimes they will setup a full booth with a sampling of food! 

Post # 8
2460 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

We had to put down a $50 deposit/tasting fee for our caterer, and it went toward the overall cost when we booked them. But that was for a taco cart…

Post # 9
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Apparently, it’s a regional thing. We didn’t pay for any of our tastings.

Post # 10
1741 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

LeeBee88:  our venue have in house catering . We had taste their food at a bridal show we went putting a deposit wasn’t an issur because they have been in business for so long. I can’t wait for our food tasting. 

Post # 11
3343 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island

I was told the same thing and pushed back HARD.  I also had a wedding planner, so she could help make my case for me.  I am SOOOOO glad we did the tastings because one caterer came very highly recommended and me, my mom, and my DH all thought the food was so bland and boring and overpriced.  The second tasting (which just me and my DH attended) was amazing and blew us out of the water.  So it was a very easy decision that could have been much harder pre-tasting.  It also gave us good insight into their customer service and design aesthetic.  The company with better food also gave us much better customer service.  They gave us a menu before the tasting and allowed us to choose several things from it.  The other company didn’t (so they ended up serving us things we woudn’t have ever chosen and consequently didn’t enjoy much).  In addition, the company with better food was really honest and told us that they have received feedback over and over again that the sirloin tastes better than the filet mignon.  So they recommended a food item to us that was actually cheaper.  A lot of companies wouldn’t do that because they’d want you to spend the extra money on the more expensive plate.

So, long story short is push back.  There are companies out there that will do tastings prior to needing a deposit.  And those companies are likely to have the better customer service too.

Post # 12
298 posts
Helper bee

Thank you for bringing this up! I have not searched for a caterer yet so this comes as a huge surprise- and I will NOT put down a deposit for food I haven’t tasted yet! What sense does that make? ridiculous!!

Post # 13
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I had to book my venue before I did my menu tasting.  The menu looked really good before I booked and I took the chance with it. 

But when I did my food tasting, we got to actually chat with the chef and honestly, they are willing do almost whatever to help you be happy.  if there’s a certain spice you don’t like, let them know and they can tweak things a little.  In the end, the food was actually pretty incredible and didn’t change a thing.  I’m actually pretty excited about our food for the wedding!

But it doesn’t hurt to ask if you want to try their food before booking their venue.  You can always negotiate with them and say, well, “the deal breaker is the food.  If we are not happy with the food, we are not booking with you”.  So might as well give it a try!  Otherwise you could just be lucky and book and actually have great food!!

Post # 14
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

Most of the caterers I looked into either charged a very expensive tasting fee (80+pp) or offered to do a tasting after we booked (with a promise that if we didn’t like the food, we could get our deposit back). The caterer I ended up booking came highly recommended, so I contacted them and they invited us to a private tasting that was free. The food was so good I can’t imagine anyone not booking them so I think the free tasting actually works in their favor.

Post # 15
1737 posts
Bumble bee

LeeBee88:  I’m dealing with this issue too. My favorite venue on my list is asking that we pay $50 per person for the tasting since we haven’t officially booked. If we do decide to book, the $100 that we spent at the tasting will be out towards our bill. Hopefully that will be the case. Either way, I feel super uncomfortable booking a place without having a good idea of how our food will look or taste! Food is such an important component of the reception, and I don’t want to gamble on it. It is the ONE thing that we really care about.

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