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Tips for Choosing the Best Caterer

Selecting a caterer is arguably one of the most important decisions when planning a special event. Great food can leave a lasting impression on your guests and make your event one to remember. With a wide variety of caterers and foods, it can seem like a daunting task to select the one best suited for your event.

With decades of restaurant and catering experience, we’ve put together a few recommendations to help selecting a caterer a little easier.

Responsiveness
The overall interest and responsiveness in the early stages can be a strong indicator of the future relationship. High interest and responsiveness in the initial meetings shows that the caterer values your business, needs and will likely ensure that you are pleased with not only the food, but the service you receive.

Note if the caterer takes interest in learning more about the event, your needs, ideas, goals and budget. A good rule of thumb is that you should spend the majority of the first meeting answering questions and communicating your vision.

Specialties
Not every caterer is the best match for your event. It is important to match the caterer’s specialties to the needs of your event. Specify what ideas you have for the menu and the type of presentation you would like to see. When selecting a caterer, base it on the function, not just who you have used in the past. The atmosphere for a company lunch is different from a wedding reception and the food should reflect that.

Flexibility
Caterers should be willing to accommodate you, not the other way around. While most have a standard menu, look for a caterer that will adapt their offerings to meet your requirements. Whether its substituting an ingredient, customizing an appetizer or making a dish especially for your celebration, a caterer’s willingness to tailor their offerings speaks volumes of their dedication to please.

Tastings
Never shy away from tasting the menu. The best way to decide if the caterer is the best fit for your event and to fine tune the menu is to attend a tasting and sample the items. This is your event and you want to ensure that you and your guest enjoy the food.

Contracts
Ensure that you have everything that you’ve discussed and agreed upon in writing. The contract should clearly define the food, drinks and services the caterer will provide and when it is expected. Menus, services, pricing and other negotiated points of interest should all be included. Be sure to discuss with your caterer what items would be considered an upgrade. Also, discuss the plan for leftover food.

The contract should protect you, holding the caterer to the agreed upon set of standards, but should also protect the caterer from non-payment.

Cancellation Plan
No one plans an event with intent to cancel, but unforeseen circumstances do arise. Add a well-defined cancellation plan to your contract in the event that your caterer is forced to cancel. If an issue arises and the caterer is unable to render services, make sure you will receive your deposit in full and that there is a backup plan in place.

References
Online review sites and advertising cannot take the place of word of mouth recommendations, especially when they are from someone you know and trust. It may seem like a considerable amount of homework in the beginning, but it can ensure you know as much as possible and are able to make an informed decision.

Insurance
All catering companies should have liability insurance. This protects you from being legally responsible for the caterer’s accidents or oversights.

Cost
Don’t let the final cost of services be the decision maker as to which caterer to choose. Clearly articulate your expectations and note everything that is included in the final price. Be sure the quote you receive includes setting up, breaking down and staffing. There is more to consider than just the cost of the food.

Experience
Years of catering experience does not necessarily indicate they are the best in the business. A chef or restaurant’s background says more than the awards on a shelf. Their experience catering events similar to yours and consistently producing delicious dishes, is the best indicator as to whether your guests will enjoy the meal.

The success of your event depends on the small details and the vendors you select. When selecting a caterer for your next event, consider Acropolis Grill. With over 20 years of restaurant and catering experience, delicious food and great experiences are our business. At Acropolis Grill, you can trust our food is always fresh and we will always treat you like family.

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