As you prepare for your event, you ought to have a candid discussion with the caterer so that you are both on the same page. And when you are having this discussion, there are 10 important questions you need to ask them.
- What kind of Caterer are you?
It is important to know what sort of events and crowds the caterer usually deals with. This will help you to figure out if the caterer is the right fit for you or if you need to look for another one. It will also give you an indication of whether or not your demands are reasonable or they are ridiculous.
- Do you do Discounts?
There is a need for you to ask about any potential discounts because if the caterer is going to customize an experience for you, they should be able to adjust some of their costs and prices. This will also give you an indication of whether or not their services are in your price range.
- Can I have some References?
Getting references is simply so you can have someone to talk to about the quality of the catering service you are about to hire. Going into anything blind is really unwise and so you have to do everything you can to find out what previous customers have to say about the caterer. You need some customer reviews so you can make an informed decision about the caterer.
- Can I have a look at your paperwork?
Any decent and well meaning caterer should have no problem showing you their paperwork and licences. You want to make sure that the caterer you are using abides by the law and has all their paperwork in order before you can get into business with them. They need to have been cleared by the authorities to do business as a caterer.
- Will you need extra human resource?
Some caterers might need extra pairs of hands that could be offered by you. Ask them if they would like some help or if they will be providing all the human resource for the event. Depending on the size of the event, you might need to discuss with the caterer where the extra human resource will come from and how that will affect your final bill.
- How much time do you need to prepare?
Time is a very important element in the catering business. Most caterers will require at least 2 weeks to get ready for an event. However, ask the caterer how much time they truly need because you might assume they need two weeks when indeed they need more time. They need enough time to be able to get all the moving pieces of the catering services together. There might be items on the menu that require sourcing from far and wide. Time allows them to get all this sorted well in advance.
- How flexible is your menu?
When discussing the menu, you need to find out from the caterer how flexible they can get with the menu. While they might have indicated that they can offer you just about anything, always remember that there is only so much caterers can do. Being open and discussing the possibilities of the menu is very important because then you are able to anticipate any eventualities and fix them in time.
- Do you have special dietary provisions?
Similarly, knowing the special dietary provisions for your event is important. There might be a specific kind of menu you are going for but not everyone will be okay with the diet you are providing. It is important to know from the caterer how flexible their dietary provisions are. For instance can they cater for children or vegans as they prepare their menu?
- What is your cancellation policy?
No matter how deep into negotiations and discussions are, the cancellation policy must always be clear. Something might come up on your end and you have to cancel or get a different caterer. Right from when you get in touch with the caterer, you need to know what their cancellation policy is. This means you also need to know the nature of payment and how you will go about making the payments. Do they prefer cash? Cheque? What percentage do they want upfront? Is it something you can manage?
- What could possibly be wrong?
One mistake people make when planning events is failing to anticipate mishaps. Always ask the caterer for a list of things that could go wrong from their end and your end so that you can nip the problems in the bud.
01st November 2021