Post # 1
The venue that we booked has a caters kitchen and twelve ‘prefered venders’, but we can use whoever we want as long as they are liscensed and have insurance. I’ve never dealt with a wedding that wasn’t some place that didn’t have an exclusive cater. This is one of the things I love about the venue, we can choose whatever we want and shop around for quality/prices. My question is we haven’t had food from any of these places. Should we be able to do the tasting prior to actually signing a contact with a company? It seems like we should, but I don’t know what the general rule would be? I don’t want to sign with a company and find out the food is horrible or something!
Post # 3
We are doing what you are thinking of – our venue has a “prep area” and we can choose from either a preferred list or one of our own as long as they meet a few requirements (our space is certified green and requires that no caterer use paper or disposable products.)
I found in my interviewing and selecting our caterer that we did NOT get to do full tastings with any of them before booking. (One caterer that we ruled out because they were too far away did do tastings.) The caterer we wound up going with provided us with a sampling of desserts (brownie bite, raspberry and lemon bars, a nut thing) and a sample of one of the proposed passed appetizers and sauces which we LOVED. So enough to get an idea of the quality of their work, but not, definitely not a full tasting.
We interviewed another and not only was their office messy, but they just had canned sodas and water for us – we felt like they weren’t really interested in our business whereas the other caterer had printed out recipes, had pictures of similar past events, knew our venue well, had a few samples for us to try, and really seemed interested and invested in what we had in mind. I think that even if you don’t get a full tasting, you will KNOW when you find people that are truly interested in your event!
Post # 4
Thanks that helps! There are a lot of companies on their ‘prefered’ list so I might just contact them all and compare prices, reviews ect. and go from there. I agree, I like the idea of at least getting to try something:)
Post # 5
We did a full tasting before booking our caterer.
Post # 6
@kl1987: That sounds like a good plan! Some will give you more than others, but I don’t think you can choose your caterer based on just those that give you food. Cooking for 100 is VERY different from cooking for two! We were more focused on the person/people we’d be dealing with, the value we got, how interested and responsive they were to us, and the ideas they had for the menu.
Oh, and some of them did tastings only after you book them a few months prior to your event. It really depends!
Post # 7
We wouldn’t book unless we had a full tasting and had seen a complete list of menu options. We tried three places and picked the place with the best variety of food and service reviews.
Post # 8
It depends — we got a full tasting of our entire selected menu at both the caterers we considered, but my coworkers did not get to do a tasting until after they signed a contract at a different area caterer.
The caterer we went with technically didn’t offer tastings until after you had signed a contract, and we negotiated with them. I didn’t feel comfortable booking with no tasting, and they could either give me a tasting and run the chance that I didn’t book with them, or they could lose the five-figure bill they proposed to me without ever getting a shot. They threw in the tasting for free, and we booked with them two days later.
Post # 9
@kl1987: We picked 2 caterers to meet with based on a reviews, both had restaurants in town. One had a full tasting with cocktails, the catering menu was really different from the restaurant, just sort of blah, nothing special. The other didn’t offer a tasting but invited us to dine at their restaurant. The manager talked over our ideas with us for the wedding menu as we ate and the kitchen sent out some additional complimentary dishes to taste. We went with the 2nd caterer and were really pleased. The quality of the food was exactly to the standards of the restaurant. So if you can, I’d look into caterers that run restaurants too!