Post # 1
My fiance and I are completely smitten with a catering company we’ve been talking to. Their menus are unique, and they’re a small-ish company that is just starting to make it big. When I spoke with one of the ladies, she told me they don’t do individual tastings; they hold tasting events. She sent me an invite to their next tasting event, and it costs $15 per person at the door. They are not the only vendor in attendance, and the venue for this event is a posh club downtown that hosts elaborate weddings. I feel like I might be paying for the other vendors and really I’m only interested in my catering company. Am I wrong for feeling like that is a little much to pay for a tasting? Should I even have to pay for a tasting? Shouldn’t the company offer me an alternative?
Post # 3
Hmm…I don’t know what typical for this sort of thing, but just try to think of it as a dinner date with the fiance. If you were go out to dinner you would probably spend at least $15 each, so I dont think the price is ridiculous. But again, I have no experience with this sort of thing, so I am unsure what is typical.
Post # 4
I would think they would offer you a tasting free of cost.
Post # 5
I think it makes sense for a small company like you described to charge you for a tasting. If they’re trying to get their feet off the ground, participating in a tasting event is really the only way they’re going to attract more business, and individual tastings aren’t really financially gainful to them. Doesn’t make it any less of a stinker, though!
Post # 6
For me it seemed to be the norm that they charge you for a tasting, and if you ultimately book with them they take the cost of the tasting off the balance. I think this is totally understandable, otherwise you’d have people bouncing around taking advantage of caterers.
Maybe you can ask if that $30 could be comped if you book with them?
Post # 7
We’ve talked to a few caterers and have run into a couple of them that charage for tasting. Unfortunately for us, one of the caterers that charge for tasting is actually one that we were really interested in booking with them. They charge $25 a person for a private tasting (which means it’d be just for me and my fiance) and their tastings are held during lunch hours. We were told that they can let us try a lot of options $25, but there is a limit to how far $25 go. If we want more than they offer for $25, they can prefer more options for us to try but we’d have to pay extra (but it seems like for $25 there will be plenty to try.)
Knowing some other caterers don’t charge for tasting kind of make us feel like this is an extra charge that they are trying to get from us, but then, it sounds like there would be a lot of food for us to try. I like pp’s idea though. I am going to ask if they’ll comp our $50 if we book with them.
Post # 8
Our tasting cost us per person–I think it was $25/person, but can’t remember exactly (Mrs. Taffy might have mentioned it in her blog post, we had the same venue). I was also frustrated that they only did two tastings a year, so we had to pick our choices out very close to our invitations being printed.
If your caterer is a smaller company, it might be too expensive for them to host their own individual tastings per couple. It’s probably more cost effective for them to combine tastings AND charge for them.
Post # 9
Our tasting was free, and the catering company is pretty small. I know of a couple catering companies here in DC that do tasting events once a month or so, but I’m not sure if they charge or not.
Post # 10
We’re using a small restuarant for our catering and they offer no tastings. We ended up having to make reservations for dinner to try the menu. Ended up spending $150 for that dinner. A $30 tasting sounds like a pretty good deal – plus you can try out the competition and see what others have to offer – if anything it’s good food.
Post # 11
I don’t think it’s all that abnormal and $30 for the two of you is cheap! I don’t think it’s worth skipping a vendor you really seem to like.
Post # 12
From a business perspective, you “pay” for the tasting one way or the other… either they charge separately for the tasting, or they build that cost (along with the other costs of running their business… their phone service, office expenses, licenses, etc.) into what they charge for catering each client’s event.
(Since my “free” tasting, my caterer has turned evil and now sees the “free” tasting as a personal favor she did me for which I’m not grateful. I really wish we’d paid for it! I’m sure that they cover their costs somehow… it’s not a charity, so the cost of tastings must be built into what I’m paying for my guests… now I really wish it had been just another line item rather than an included service.)
Post # 13
Alot of companies do not do tastings for free. Or you pay for it and if you end up booking, it goes toward your event cost. The caterer has to pay for the labor to prepare, make and serve the food and the food itself so if people just did free tastings all the time, the company could lose alot of money.
That being said, they are offering some sort of tasting to you and I dont think $15 is unreasonable. We already booked our venue before the tasting so ours was free but if you havent booked, $15 is not alot. Its probably less than you would pay going out to dinner. I would go if you really like the vendor. If you like their food, the $15 will have been worth it!
Post # 15
Thanks for all the input. I guess it surprised me b/c all of our tastings so far have been free. Hearing all these responses, though, makes me feel like we’ve just been lucky so far. Great idea asking for the $30 to be considered paid toward our balance if we book them.