Monday, April 8, 2013

Hiring a Caterer? Seven Facts You Need To Know!

Congrats! You are planning a Wedding/Bar Mitzvah/Bat Mitzvah/Bris/Birthday Party! 
This time in your life can be very exciting, but VERY stressful.  You want it to be personal and show your flair, but are dealing with difficulty planning and keeping within your budget.  One of the ways to make your event truly special is by picking a unique venue with an outside caterer. 

At Celebrations Kosher Catering, we take the stress out of your party and make it about you and what you want and the best for what you can afford!  We stand behind all of our parties with pride and guarantee a successful event for both you and us!

Below, we compiled a list of seven facts you need to know before you hire a caterer!

1.  Fresh does not always mean fresh
FRESH food, CREATIVE menu and plate PRESENTATION are important to our clients.  Few caterers will admit to using frozen products.  If there is a discrepancy in price between two seemingly similar menus, it is much more likely that it represents the difference between paying trained chefs to actually prepare your meal from scratch with fresh ingredients rather then having a body tearing open boxes.

2. Service is a matter of math/ratio
How many staff will your caterer provide to serve the menu you have selected? The answer to this can vary widely but our rule of thumb is one waitstaff for every 10-12 guests.  Lack of adequate staff is obvious to the guests and will undo all your careful planning.  It is also important that staff is well trained.  We have several separate training sessions for our floor staff, bartenders, floor captains and event managers throughout the year.  Having PLEASANT, ATTENTIVE and SERVICE oriented staff ensures your guests feel special.

3. Style is significant
Your event, whether a plated dinner, buffet or cocktail stations format, should have EYE APPEAL.  Striking garnishes, unusual serving pieces, china, and food that add color and zing are just a few elements of the style that a caterer can bring to your menu.  The visual impact of your menu directly correlates to the success of your event.  The best thing any caterer can bring to your table is the sheer enthusiasm.  The right caterer should display the intended style of the event through menu and its' presentation as well as in the surrounding and decor.

4. Menu design DOES NOT involve picking food from columns
Your Caterer's event planners should be well versed in menu design but should also be asking the right questions.  What kind of crowd is it?  Are they expecting to taste the LATEST TRENDS or are they more of a "meat and potatoes" crowd?  What time of year is the reception? Through we have access to everything year round, a fresh, in season product is always best.  What does the guest of honor like to eat and wouldn't it be nice to include some items to reflect this?  Just a few of the many questions your caterer should be asking to ensure the menu is perfectly suited for your event.

5. Customer service counts
How long did you wait for your information after you made your initial phone call and was it the information you asked for?  Are your calls and emails answered in a timely manner?  Have they taken the time to LISTEN and CUSTOM tailored your menu to fit your needs?  Does your planner make you feel as if they have an experience support system behind them?  The bottom line is that you need to feel important to the caterer you are working with without any effort on your part!

6. Your caterer should be a know-it-all
Being a KNOW-IT-ALL involves ongoing EDUCATION.   There are numerous organizations and topics a caterer is continuously growing and learning about, NACE (National Association Catering Executives), ICA (International Catereres Association), ISES (International Special Events Society), Catersource, new food trends, menu preparation, event planning and vendor relationships.

7. Word of mouth is the best advertising
What is your CATERER'S REPUTATION?  Look at the list of caterers for the facilities you are considering.  Do not hesitate to question the facility directors.  Ask around the office and other departments to see what experience others have had with a particular caterer or if they have even heard of them before.  Look for a caterer who gets HIGH MARKS time after time, year after year.  In the end, this consistent commitment to quality will give you a great catering experience.