Googling the menu ahead of a dinner out is the new norm in modern day dining. Obsessive scrolling through websites, checking reviews, and salivating over copious Instagram pages to check out the food is becoming regular behaviour. At Hire Space, we believe choosing a caterer for your event should be no different.

Catering is a top priority when building an event budget, and falls under a key question #eventprofs always find themselves trying to answer: ‘how can I improve guest experience?’.

Your meeting or conference venue could be out of this world, but your delegates will remember if there wasn’t enough food, if it was cold, or if the staff were rude. Your event catering should blend seamlessly with your event - the highlight to an already perfect occasion. This guide will help you through the process of finding the perfect caterer to compliment your event.

How To Find A Caterer In The First Place?

Ask people! Event professionals love to share knowledge - join a forum or read event community discussions to find what you're looking for. Engaging directly with experts around the topic is a great way to find an amazing caterer - our Venue Experts at Hire Space have deep knowledge of the events industry and that includes the food!

Word of Mouth

Image Source: Wordstream

How Quickly Should Your Caterer Get Back To You?

Caterers should not play hard to get - if they don’t reply to you within a standard 48 or 72 hours, we wouldn’t recommend booking them. As #eventprofs, we all know that planning events is stressful, which can be exacerbated by unresponsive suppliers adding unnecessary worry to the process. Suppliers who are prompt and responsive elicit more trust in how they will perform during the length of their contract with you.

Do Caterers Need Much Direction?

Events take months to plan, and it is important that everything is arranged in advance so the day goes smoothly. It is vital to the success of the event that your suppliers understand and respect all the hard work you’ve put in. A good catering company will listen to your brief, and be flexible to either offer a suitable pre-existing service, or create a bespoke menu that encompasses what you require. It is essential that your catering company can go above and beyond to provide an excellent service - let them get creative!

James Morrison Catering

Bespoke event catering by James Morrison Catering

Do They Fit With Your Budget?

This may go without saying, but make sure that the quote is within your budget. It is important to understand exactly what you’re getting for your money and that there is transparency in the package you’re paying for. Make sure that you’re on the same page with this one - it could be a costly mistake to make. You should also be aware that there is often room to negotiate with catering packages - you may be able to save your clients (or yourself) a substantial sum of money, so don’t be afraid to haggle!

Are They The Right Caterer For The Job?

If they specialise in BBQs, and you are hosting a fine dining experience, the whole experience will become more of a fizz than a firework. Do your research, read the reviews and find out what they’re best at. You could even ask them for references and a portfolio of previous work. It might seem like an obvious one, but make sure your concept matches their catering expertise. It is crucial that they can handle the scale and requirements of your event, so make sure your brief is clear from the get-go and that they have enough options for guests with dietary requirements, from gluten-free and vegan or even just providing enough healthy options to keep your guests fuelled for the day.

Panacotta by Richmond Caterers

Unique presentation by Richmond Caterers

Taste Tests!

Their portfolio, Instagram, and website might be the most aesthetically pleasing catering experience you have ever seen, but does their food actually taste good? Make sure you arrange a tasting before committing, and also be aware of caterers who rely on seasonal produce - the food you taste in winter will be different to the food they serve in summer, so make sure you do multiple tastings!

Catering by Richmond Caterers

Fresh seasonal produce by Richmond Caterers

Where Do They Get Their Food From?

Are they local to you? Do they use organic and sustainable produce? How do they transport the food to your event? Do they use plastic for all the containers? These are all questions that event planners need to be aware of. Sustainability is such an important talking point in the industry these days, as people are becoming more and more interested about where their food is coming from and how it was farmed/gathered/prepared. Your guests will be interested in this too - you could serve the food in plastic alternatives and even put out information cards about where their food came from to add an additional dimension to their experience.

Richmond Caterers

Bamboo cones and wooden boxes make great plastic alternatives!

It’s All In The Details

As event planners, we consider every single little detail when creating an event, from branding to the venue to AV. Catering should be no different! From the aesthetic presentation of the food to the clauses in your contract, the details are crucial. Make sure you are thorough when dealing with these elements so all the details are ironed out before the big day, meaning there are no nasty surprises!

Catering is a hugely important part of an event, so by following our guide you should hopefully feel better equipped to nail your event catering and create an experience your guests will remember for all the right reasons. If you want to chat to Hire Space about how to choose the right caterer for you, get in touch with us today!

Main Image Source: becomeaneventplanner.org