1. Where is your kitchen?
This sounds like an irrelevant question, but it is important because it could have an impact on the cost and service. Find out if the catering company charges a travel fee. If it doesn’t deliver, you will have to go to the kitchen to pick up the food. If the caterer delivers, will the food still be hot when it arrives?
2. Do you cater only to specific occasions or locations?
Some venues have specific caterers they use and might not veer from them for any event on the premises. Also, some caterers specialize in just lunch, dinner or desserts. If you plan to use the caterer for multiple events, pick the one that can cater for any social function.
3. What ingredients do you most often use?
A business must make sure its caterer is not using items that might create an allergic reaction for an employee. In conjunction with this question, see if any employees have dietary restrictions or preferences, such as those for vegans or gluten-free eaters.
4. Are there any extra charges?
Charges might be added for things such as delivery, decorations and setup. Get the full price and policy beforehand, so you’re not stuck with a big bill. Incidentally, it doesn’t hurt to ask the caterer whether it offers any discounts for businesses, particularly small businesses.
5. Can we sample any of the food before booking you?
Some full service caterers might charge a fee to sample food, while others may let you taste a few dishes for free to be sure they are the right choice. It is always better to try the food before signing a check.
6. Do you have liability insurance?
You don’t want to pay for a catering employee’s injury, damages to the building caused by food trucks or wall scratches from metal food trays.
7. Are you licensed to serve alcoholic beverages?
Certain cities or counties might require catering services to apply for a liquor license before they can serve drinks. Depending on the event, that could be a deal breaker. If they can’t serve alcohol, ask about other beverages they offer.
8. How will you present and dispose of the food?
A good presentation can make food more appetizing and make a stronger impression on your clients. There are important matters that have to be handled after the meal too. Who takes the food home? Will employees need to bring Tupperware or make plans to stay and clean up?
9. How do you develop the menu for an event?
Creating your own menu may be very fun for an entrepreneur with the time. But if you are short on time, you may want a menu that was previously developed and is ready to be used. If you do choose one of those menus, find out if the caterer can substitute items or add those not listed on the menu.
10. What other services are provided?
Ask about decorations, flowers, lighting and rentals. This will let you know what kind of events the catering service can handle or what added features it can offer to make your event a success.