How To Pick A Good Caterer, Its Not Just About The Food!

When planning a party, the menu is very important. That’s why you hire a caterer. A caterer will provide the food and handle food-related tasks, leaving you to focus on your guests. However, not all caterer services are created equal. It takes more than going through an online search list and picking someone who advertises catering services to find the right caterer for your particular event. When picking a good caterer there are several things to do and to check out.

What are your needs?

Assess what you need and what you want. Will your event be formal or informal? What time of the day will you hold the event and what time of year? Will this be a smaller, more intimate affair or an event for hundreds. Decide what you want a caterer to do, such as supply the food, serve the food or completely take over all aspects of set up, serving and clean up. List your preferences before approaching a caterer.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Alan Cleaver


Know your budget constraints. Put together an expense list to give you an idea of what the event will cost overall. Adjust according to the money you have to spend. From this, you will have a more firm grasp of what you can spend for a caterer.


Check online for area catering services. Look for caterers who provide the type of services you’ll require for your event. Make a list of the three to five best possible choices. With this list in hand, ask friends and family for recommendations. There is nothing better than first-hand experience. This may well eliminate one or more caterers from the list or even add some you hadn’t considered.

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by pamhule

Interview Your Options

Contact the top three on the list. Ask about their services and references. Check out the references given. How caterers are regulated depends partly on city and state regulations and laws. Make sure the caterer has all the credentials and licenses required. If serving alcohol, this include a license to do so. Call the local health department to see if there has been any complaints or violations.

Explain what you need and your budget constraints. See if the caterer is willing to work with you. In some cases, you may have to adjust your expectations if what you want costs way more than you can afford.

Don’t Forget to Read the Contract!

Read the contract. Ask questions until everything is clear. There may be things within the contract you wish to negotiate, such as how and when clean up is done or what happens if the event is cancelled.

This article was written by Since 2008, ezCater had been providing Pittsburgh catering as well as Charlotte, Boston, Atlanta, and hundreds of other cities around the US.