39 Questions to Ask Catering Companies

39 Questions to Ask Catering Companies
One of the most important elements for the perfect wedding is the food you choose to put on the table. A perfect wedding would be incomplete without good food! No matter how beautiful the venue may be or how gorgeous the stage you’ve set, if you don’t put good food on your menu, your guests will probably only have a mediocre experience. Since it is basically the only thing that the majority of guests seem to care about, you must find the perfect food catering service if you want present a fantastic menu and finger-licking meals to satisfy their taste buds. If you succeed in doing so, your guests will walk out with a delightful taste in their mouth, and they’re probably going to remember your wedding for years to come! Finding an ideal wedding catering company can be quite an overwhelming task since there are tons of things you must know about this process but limited resources as to what to keep an eye out for. A huge chunk of your wedding budget will go into the catering, so you must make sure to find the perfect caterer for your special day. We've put together the best, detailed guide with all of the questions that a couple would possibly need to ask when looking for their ideal wedding catering service.

39 Questions to Ask Wedding Catering Companies

Questions are a great place to start when hunting for the best catering company for your wedding. Make sure to ask as many questions as possible when interviewing different wedding catering companies. This is an important step that will help you gain valuable insights into the company’s performance, and their responses will also help you determine whether or not you’re going to have a great experience with them in the future.

Start with the Basic Questions

Though these questions might seem too basic, they really help you identify the best wedding caterer that will fit your needs. You must, however, ask these questions smartly to get as much information as you possibly can to prevent any last-minute disasters! Making the wrong choice in this aspect could end up ruining your entire day, thus you need to be clever in doing your research – so let’s start with the basics!

1. Do you have [insert your event date] available?

This is the first and the most important question that you must ask your caterer, as this will allow you to ensure if they are available during your specified dates. Those that are not available can be immediately ticked off the list!

2. What determines the price per plate?

This will allow you to determine their pricing strategy and how they calculate the per-plate costs. This is super important because you don't want to find out down the road that a catering company you've fallen in love with is outside of your price range, especially if you want a meal that includes what the catering company considers "extras."

3. What is your average per-plate cost?

Although this questions may seem a little redundant, it's important to know what the catering company charges on average per-plate, even if you know your per-plate cost will be higher because you'll want those extra elements in there. This price gives you a base cost to every plate you'll be buying. The per-plate cost usually only goes up from there, so be sure the average cost is something within your price range to begin with.

4. How many guests can you serve?

Finding out how many guests they can serve is a great way to know if they will be able to accommodate a large number of guests at one time.

5. What are your specialties?

This will help you identify their special items and delicacies that could turn into the main highlight of your evening!

6. How much are your food tastings?

Tasting the food is a surefire way to find out if the catering company can live up to its claims – however, before committing to anything, you must make sure whether you’ll be paying for it or not!

7. Do you have food packages, or do you only do a la carte?

This will allow you to decide what items you can incorporate into your menu. If you prefer flexibility or versatility in your food options, you can go for an a la carte menu to surprise your guests!

8. What are your package upgrades?

Whether it is the silver, gold, or platinum upgrade, this question will allow you to choose the perfect food package according to your budget, since most wedding catering companies offer a variety of packages for varying budgets. If you are looking to have an extravagant menu and are willing to go all out on your budget, don’t hesitate in inquiring about their top-rated packages.

9. How much does it cost for children's meals?

Various catering companies offer reduced per-plate costs for under-age guests so make sure to ask your caterer regarding children’s meals. Your guests will probably be bringing their munchkins along with them (unless you ask them not to!), so make sure you have made the necessary food preparations!

10. What is you payment policy?

You may have to make payments in advance, so make sure to ask your caterer regarding the payment policies to understand the payment schedule.

11. Is tip included in the price?

The tip is often deducted at the end and adds to the overall payments; therefore it is better to discuss each and every thing beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings later on.

12. What is your refund/cancellation policy?

This is essential to figure out beforehand in case the catering company does not deliver according to its claims.

13. How long does it take your staff to set-up and break down?

This will allow you to estimate the total time required for the team to set up and pack up, so you can plan things in advance. It's also good to know this information so if the catering company does charge for overtime, you'll be a bit more prepared so you can avoid those fees!

14. What are your overtime fees?

This is a crucial question that you must ask your catering company, in case things get delayed at the event. Waiters are usually paid double when staying overtime.

15. When do you need the final guest count?

The caterer will need to know the final guest count close to the event so that they can manage everything beforehand and create an accurate number of servings. This also helps in avoiding wastage.

Questions that You Probably Didn't Know You Need to Ask

To make sure your wedding day ends on a happy note, you must delight your guests by satisfying their appetite with delectable and scrumptious food! Here is a list of some uncommon questions that you might think are unimportant, but these can help you distinguish the best catering companies from the average ones, allowing you to save yourself from potential disasters!

1. How many weddings do you cater per year?

This will allow you to assess how experienced the company actually is. If they're experienced, they'll know what to do when disaster strikes!

2. How long have you been in business?

The more the experience a catering company possesses, the better they will be able to deliver!

3. Can you cater to any venue?

You must inform the caterer of your venue beforehand to make sure that they can cater to that particular place. Some venues only allow certain caterers, while other venues will charge you extra for choosing caterers that aren't on their list of favorite caterers. Make sure you speak with both your venue and your caterer about this to avoid extra expenses!

4. Do you have a license to serve alcohol?

If you plan on serving alcohol, make sure that your catering company carries the license to serve alcohol, as most venues require a liquor license.

5. Will I need permits for the event?

You may need various permits to avoid restrictions and successfully run your event, so make sure to discuss this with your caterer. If they don't know the answer to this question, run!

6. What are your recommendations based on my budget?

Your caterer can provide you with valuable feedback and suggestions on how to improve your menu whilst staying on the budget. Give the catering company an idea of your wedding aesthetic and approximate guest count. Any good catering companies will be able to guide you in the best direction.

7. Can we create our own menu for the event?

This will help you understand how flexible your caterer is, and whether they are open to new options or not. If you’re willing to be a little creative and experiment with different food ideas, here is a guide that you can check out!

8. Do you have options for dietary restrictions?

If you are willing to arrange special food for a few of your family or friends due to allergies or lifestyle choices, discuss this with your caterer in advance to find out if they can accommodate and prepare these customized dishes.

9. What upgrades do you offer?

Find out about the different packages your caterer offers to find the one that best suits your needs.

10. Do you offer a buffet-style package? Sit down? What is the price difference?

Find out which of the two options are more budget friendly – a la carte or buffet style? While you’re at it, make sure to see the pictures of the food they’ve prepared for other events.

11. Do you have dessert options?

To make your special day even more sweet and memorable, you must add some mouth-watering desserts to the menu. Make sure to ask your caterer if they offer dessert options.

12. Can you cut our wedding cake?

Find out if your caterer provides some extra services such as this one. You may need to hire other vendors if they do not offer these services - here is a guide that can help you out with the other important vendors you may need to hire!

13. Do you make wedding cakes?

Certain wedding caterers have extraordinary baking skills and specialize in making wedding cakes, so make sure to see if your caterer can do that.

14. What options of linens, glassware, plates, and flatware do you have?

In case your wedding venue doesn’t offer these items, make sure that your caterer can provide these for you.

15. Do you have other supplies for rent?

Make wedding planning a lot less hectic by renting most of your supplies such as tables, chairs, napkins, etc., from one place.

16. What does your crew clean up after the event?

Certain venues have restrictions on how late the workers can stay, so you need to ask this question to plan things in advance. This information is also good to know so that if the catering company doesn't clean up completely after themselves before leaving, you can be sure to bring this to their attention. You don't want to pay for their mistakes!

17. What do you do with leftover food?

Make sure your catering company does not throw or waste any leftover food. Here are some DIY ideas to make the most of your leftover wedding cake and food!

18. Do you provide bartenders?

Book adequate bartenders to make sure your guests do not roam around with empty glasses!

19. Do you require that you provide the alcohol?

If you intend on bringing your own liquor, make sure to ask your wedding catering company if they can accommodate that.

20. What brands of alcohol do you serve?

Do your friends like a specific brand of alcohol? Ask the caterer if they can bring that particular brand to the venue.

21. What is your per-beverage charge?

Make sure that the beverage costs do not go overboard!

22. Do you have coffee and tea services?

A freshly brewed cup of tea or coffee will make the perfect starter! Ask your catering company if they can provide these services along with the food.

23. What does your serving staff wear?

You may want to make sure that the staff is appropriately dressed for your event and in accordance with the theme.

24. Can I see pictures of events that you've done in the past?

This will help you in evaluating the experience and caliber of the company you’re hiring. Apart from that, it will give you a clear idea of how your experience with them will turn out to be.   If you plan on throwing an exotic wedding, make sure to pay extra attention to the food you’ll be serving. The right wedding catering service can turn your event into a major success – so make sure to do your own research and ask the above-mentioned questions before making your final choice!

Let's Chat

How did you find your ideal wedding caterer? What tips and tricks did you use to locate the perfect one? Are there any questions that you feel you should have asked your wedding caterer earlier? Let us know in the comments below!  

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Leave a comment

December 01, 2023 09:44

its really helpful. thank you for the post.

December 04, 2023 10:12

Thanks for sharing such a wonderfull information

Hannah Mayer
June 28, 2020 10:47

We are just now starting to look at catering so this is really helpful!

June 22, 2020 22:10

This read was super helpful!

June 21, 2020 06:30

Wondering precautions as well in 2020.

June 14, 2020 08:47

Such great questions! Definitely try not to forget about children’s meals especially if you are inviting a lot of kids as this could save you tons of money!

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