First Time Catering Tips


If you’re using a catering company for the first time, then there’s a lot to think about, and you don’t want to mess anything up.  There’s a lot of money involved when catering a large meal, and you still want to make sure that everyone is fed and happy at the end. Last time I was in Texas and needed some advice on catering, Houston caterers had some great advice for me, and I’m passing that advice on to you.

Decide on Your Dishes

This may seem like a no-brainer, but deciding on the cuisine style and a general idea of what kind of dishes you want will save a lot of headache in the end. If you’re hosting an active event where people are going to be dancing or playing sports afterwards, you’re probably not going to want dishes that are heavy on the stomach right before you go out and play.  Tailor the food to the event by looking at what people will be wearing (wedding dresses and tomato sauce do not mix well), what people will be doing before and afterwards, and what will fit the theme of your venue and event. Don’t worry too much about people who have dietary restrictions on an individual basis unless you think there will be a large number of those people at the event. For example, don’t provide a vegetarian option if the only person that you know is a vegetarian will be Aunt Margaret, but you might want to consider a vegetarian option if you’re hosting a local yoga studio. A polite guest to your event with a dietary restriction should contact you directly to see if something they can eat will be at the event, and if there isn’t, they should be prepared to bring their own meal.

Crunch the Numbers

Nothing will make a party fall flat faster than running out of food before everyone is served. The general rule of thumb for catering is that you order the amount of food that you need for your guests plus 10%. If you’re hosting 100 people, make sure that there’s enough food for 110, or 220 for a crowd of 200. Leftovers can always be taken care of, but having to buy pizza to feed the rest of your guests looks tacky. It’s also really important to ask the caterer that you’re dealing with what kind of units they use to measure out food. Some dishes may come by the dozen (like desserts and appetizers), while some dishes may come by the gallon. As long as you find a trustworthy and reputable caterer, they should be able to help you make sure that you get enough food to feed your guests. Also, on your invitations to the event, make sure that you specify if people can bring a guest, and if they are allowed, make sure that you assume that every single person is going to bring a ‘plus one’.

Find a Reputable Caterer

I tend to lean towards finding local caterers instead of buying from large, corporate chains. You’ll typically get better quality food, since a lot of these caterers purchase their produce and supplies locally, and they will also have typically worked with venues in the immediate area before. Experience in these areas can make the difference between a good caterer and a stellar caterer. Also, you can check out the Better Business Bureau website or rating sites like Yelp or Google to see what other customers have to say about the business before you book your event.

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