We frequently get catering quote requests for a party or gathering and are asked how much it will cost. With that requests comes no details, leaving the caterer no information to prepare the quote so, here’s how to get the best catering quote you can.
If you’re planning a business meeting, party or reception and want to know how much it will really cost you to hire a caterer that will depend on the scope of your event. Before you contact a caterer, gather some basic details about the event and be prepared to share all of that information with them. The more details you provide the more accurate and realistic your quote will be.
How Many Guests are you expecting?
There is a huge difference between a meeting for 10 executives and a wedding reception for 300 people. Typically, caterers will have volume discounts for larger groups which is why the caterer needs to know approximately how many people are attending? Depending on the policies of that caterer, there can be some adjustments to the head count but you should ask what happens to the price if only 200 guests are confirmed when the quote was for 300 people.
What style of catering do you want?
Do you want a buffet, action stations, passed appetizers, or a plated and served meal? You can mix and match these styles of service, however for the quote, you need to tell the caterer what you want or, have them offer suggestions to you based on your menu and the purpose of the special event. Because different catering styles require different staffing levels and culinary skills, there is more than likely a price difference between a wait-staff managed buffet and a culinary trained chef executing an action station.
What venue are you planning to use?
Will your event be held in your current office space, residence, rented venue or outdoors? This matters because of the amenities that may or may not be available for your food and beverage. Many “behind the scenes” details can be provided by a rented venue which is why the caterer needs to know where you’re planning on hosting your event. Are there tables and chairs, do they provide linens? Do you even need linens? Do they have ice? Is there a sink, running water, staging area, and or a caterer’s kitchen?
Venues can also dictate other specifics like does the caterer have to complete the room set-up and clean-up or does the venue’s staff? Some require no disposable place settings, meaning only china, glassware and flatware can be used, some require eco-friendly place settings only. Some have strict delivery rules and times. Some have strict schedules regarding what time a can the caterer get in, what time the event have to be cleaned up and what time must guests depart? Is there reasonable parking, ample access time for event set-up? All of these requirements affect how the caterer will produce your event and why your caterer needs to know where you’re hosting your event.
Will beverage service be needed?
Some offices may have their own coffee, water and soft drinks, but can’t provide it in the meeting room. Some venues won’t have anything. Some venues will allow caterers to provide non-alcoholic beverages, but no alcohol. Some venues will allow full bar service, some will limit alcohol to beer and wine only. Your caterer will more than likely know what venue allows what, so tell them exactly what you want to provide and they’ll know what they can include on your quote.
What is your budget?
So many people are fearful of providing any kind of budget information with a caterer yet, this is one of the most important pieces of information you need to share with your caterer to get an accurate quote. The budget will indicate what level of service will be most suitable for your event. Knowing your budget, no matter how modest or lavish it is, is vital for any caterer so they can provide suggestions, alternatives, or creative ideas to produce your ideal end result – the meeting, party or reception you imagined.
So, now you’re ready to contact a caterer about your next event.
Happy planning and have a successful event!