Post # 1
We decided to have our informal backyard wedding buffet catered by a small, local restaurant. We had a tasting and a discussion with the owner a few days ago, and pretty much settled on the menu, the delivery details, and the final cost. A few questions for those who have had restaurants cater off-site:
1. What comes next, now that we’ve decided on them? Do we ask them for a formal quote and a contract, or is that unusual for small restaurants (and small amounts — our food budget is $1,400, which is a lot for me but not for weddings in general)?
2. What is a typical deposit percentage?
3. What if the food runs out? Should we ask them how much food they plan per person, since it is a buffet? We gave them a pretty solid estimate of the number of guests (most guests will be local) and we will give them a final head count closer to the wedding date, but we basically already fixed the total payment, so it is not a per person cost. Should I ask them how much they would charge if we go, say 10 people over our estimated guest count?
This is the only outside vendor we have, and I’m a little nervous as we don’t know much about the restaurant.It got mixed reviews online, though I liked/trusted the owner when we met her and the food was quite good. I’d love to hear about how other people dealt with restaurant catering. Thanks!
Post # 3
Yes you need a contract for any vendor you hire so that everything is in black and white and neither party is confused as to what is agreed on.
Most who do go the restaurant catering route pick a restaurant they are familiar with and love the food, regardless of others’ reviews as taste is a subjective opinion.
The deposit amount is what the restaurant chooses to charge you.
You should not run out of food since it is their responsibility to make sure there is enough for everyone. Also, restaurant servings are much larger than what you get per person with a regular catering company. Yes, be sure to ask them what you will be charged extra for extra portions. The restaurant is the professional so they should be able to answer these questions for you if you have any concerns. Every restaurant is different in what they do in terms of catering.
Post # 4
We had a restaurant do the catering, and we signed a contract and were required to only give them $100. deposit to hold both the date and price. We did it a year in advance,so any price increase they had did not apply once the contract was signed. I understand that it isn’t always the case, and some will have disclaimers telling you that you will be subject to any increase at the time of your event.
This was the first time this restaurant had done an event at our venue,so the owners went there and obtained drawings of the room layout and planned out some ideas for setup prior to meeting with us there. It was great to toss ideas around to best utilize the space.
Our caterer also took care of setting up additional vendors and getting prices, arranging deliveries,etc. They worked with both an event rental company (for chairs, linens,tableware,additional tables),etc, as well as gave suggestions for amounts of alcohol needed, and offered to arrange that as well.
The restaurant also provided servers , bartenders, and chefs and all that was in addition to the food costs. We also had a lot of additional rentals they needed (heat lamps,warming trays,serving trays). Our venue rental was for the building and use of the tables and chairs only,so we had to bring everything else in for the wedding.
They know how to figure out how much food is needed, so I doubt you’ll run out unless you opt to provide less than they think you’ll need. I’ve been to weddings where there hasn’t been much or enough for the amount of guests, and it isn’t pretty. lol
Our original estimate was given to us based on the projected heacount,but we had to give a final one 2 weeks prior to the wedding. Contract was adjusted accordingly.