Finding an excellent caterer is not that much different from finding an excellent restaurant. You look for one that has affordable prices, rave reviews about the food and service, and availability when you need it. Consider the following when conducting your search:
Ask your friends, family and co-workers for a recommendation. Once you have at least 3 recommendations, read online reviews about the caterers to confirm or reject your choices. Will the caterer let you talk to someone who used them recently? If you want even more convincing, you can further validate a caterer’s reputation by checking out what the Better Business Bureau, Health Department and catering organizations have to say about your potential candidate.
Does the caterer offer tastings? Tasting can be very persuasive. However, some caterers may charge for tasting if you haven’t already put down a deposit. See #3 to get around the extra expense of paying for a tasting.
These are very beneficial to attend when you have just begun your search for a caterer if there are lots of caterers present. Although these tastings may not be a “complete” tasting that you would get one on one with a caterer, you can get a lot of information in a short amount of time by collecting cards, interviewing the caterer reps and sampling the food.
The price is always a factor, but lowest cost is not always the best choice. Make sure the price quote includes everything you need and want from the caterer, e.g., wait staff, linens, dishes, décor, etc. Ask if there are any additional fees not covered by the price quote like set up and break down. If any of the guests have special dietary needs, can that be provided, and if so, will there be any additional costs associated with that?
Most good caterers know you will want to see pictures of their previous work. Some will have a lot on their websites. If they don’t have a website, you may be able to see photographs at the caterer’s main office. You will want to how they transform a venue with their centerpieces, tablecloths, candles, dishware and anything else they use.
The staff at Historic Oakland want to help you plan your event. We are here to assist you with everything you need, from lists of caterers to choosing how to decorate the rooms, deciding on how to use our beautiful grounds or finding the best photographer. Our historic venue in downtown Columbia, Maryland will make your event one that all your guests will remember for years to come. Call us to set up a tour or see if we have availability, 410-730-4801 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Wendy Trilling,
Guest Relations, Historic Oakland Manor