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How to Hire the Right Catering Company

I’m throwing a party and I’d like to hire a catering service but how do I know if I’m picking the right one? What should I be expecting from my catering service provider? I see that some catering companies are way more expensive than others but what makes it so much more!?

From small gatherings with your closest friends to huge corporate functions, there is a huge range of functions that you can hire a caterer for and therefore the title “caterer” really leaves a TON to be defined! Hopefully in this article we can help you understand the different types of caterers and what you can expect when you hire a caterer for your next event!

First and foremost, there are 2 primary classifications of caterers- on-site, and off-site. On-site meaning the service is performed at the caterer’s establishment. Many times, restaurants will have a banquet room where you can rent the space and the restaurant will cater your event in the private room at their establishment. Off-site catering being the opposite- is performed everywhere else. For the purpose of this article, we are going to strictly focus on off-site catering.

I like to break down the off-site catering world into 4 groups- Wedding, Corporate, Social, and Event Concessions/ Food Truck. Each one of these types of catering has its own unique requirements and you will want to be sure that the caterer you are considering is prepared and able to handle the type of catering you are looking for. Not all caterers are created equal, and most caterers cannot perform in all 4 groups! Most caterers will have a specialty and can perform really well in 1 or 2 categories.


1.) Wedding- The crème dela crèmeof caterers! If you are a bride or an event planner and you are planning a wedding, the expectations are high. You can expect a company that specialized in wedding catering is going to deliver a lot more than just the food. If you looking at wedding caterers you can expect that there is going to be everything from an extravagant tasting, event management, custom menu building, full service staff, linens plus all food-related equipment- such as flatware, cutleries, tables, chairs, etc., etc. A professional, high-end wedding caterer can even pan and execute an entire event including the decor, and music! Wedding catering is also typically the most expensive because of all that is involved in this type of event management and catering. You’re not working with just a food provider, but an entire event manager.

*Things to look for:

  • what is the caterer’s first impression? (rarely does a great event come from a company with a horrible first impression)

  • how responsive is the catering company?

  • am I able to try to food prior to booking?

  • how much deposit do they require

  • how long have they been in business (the last thing you want is for a young company do dissolve between the time you booked a party with them and the date of your wedding!) 

  • are they licensed and insured

2.) Corporate- Corporate functions can have a huge range of requirements, and can really be

split into sub-categories. If you are a corporate event planner and looking to hire a caterer, the biggest factors you should consider first are:

Who are my guests?

What is the purpose of this function/ what type of function is it?

What is my budget?

Once you have the answers to those questions, it becomes much easier to select your caterer. Some corporate functions will require a full bar and passed apps, while others may just need a box lunch. If you are showing an end of the year awards ceremony for a large corporation, you are going to