Catering Service Interview Questions
There are a variety of catering services:
Full Service catering – complete with linens, bar, meal, desserts and bartending
On Location – on site catering by a chef
Full Service with a number of locations to offer
Church or membership halls with food and serving committees
Location’s selected vendor list of independent caterers to choose from
There are a variety of catering styles:
Various ethnic styles
Couples are challenged by staying within the framework of their budget and time.
Ask the Caterer If They Can:
Provide ethnic style recipes or kosher kitchens
Health department licensing of their prep kitchen or restaurant
Bring a wait staff to serve the food to guests or bartend
Set the buffet display in a quality presentation
Guarantee to provide adequate food for the number of guests
Offer extended services such as party rental selection and setup, bartending, cake cutting or access valet service
Provide you with two bids or flexible bids
Who is responsible for kitchen clean up - reception room clean up?
How is the leftover food packed up
Couples ask for a special box to leave the wedding with. It has food from the reception and their cake/dessert, and a bottle of ...
There are a set of questions specific to calling caterer references.
Did the caterer provide the items and menu you requested?
Was the food fresh, good and ample?
Was the food well presented and displayed?
Was the wait staff attentive to the guest needs?
Would you hire this person again?
If a bid comes in higher from your very favorite caterer, then ask them to review the bid with you and see if there are methods where you can lower your costs and still achieve your favored caterer. Going over the number of guests leaves the caterer with several problems:
Less food or to many left-overs for the family to take home. Because of the caterer’s shopping and preparation, your final fees are due and you must get your final number of guests in a week or so prior to the reception - according to your contract.
Ask that bids include breakout on any of the items you have requested:
Taxes, tips for the chef and staff
Party Rental Fee
Cake cutting charges
Water Service Fees
Wait Staff Fees
Bartending Fee (this is flexible and a final bill for a hosted bar)
Methods to Cut the Costs:
Cut the guest list
No Hors d'oeuvre - these are very time consuming for the staff
Cut the alcohol consumption, or go to a no-host bar
If you have paid the bartender for “hosted bar services” and have included a tip in his check, you should not allow a tips jar on their counter.
A buffet can be more expensive than a seated dinner.
When a friend or family gifts you the catering, it may not mean they are also giving you the food nor the services required with staff. Please qualify the gift and any charges you will need to cover. Some wedding venues have their own caterer and this can become a problem for a couple that desires a specific venue.
- Tipping is a pricy concern with any of your vendors. Read my Wedding Coaching Blog to stay current with changes in tipping.