Bill It... Hiring a caterer can save you time and money. Here's how...

Tips on Hiring a Good Caterer

If you are planning a church retreat, summer cookout, backyard barbeque or formal gathering, prepping food can be very time consuming. It's a daunting task that can be expensive, but not when you do your research. Here are a few quick tips from the experts:

1.     Do Your Research in Hiring a Caterer – When you hire a caterer, your caterer should be able to create delectable dishes, show them off in a beautifully visual display, and shine with excellent customer service.  Ask for references and even a sample of their work. You can also ask to attend one of their events to see everything "live".  Learn what the caterer has to offer besides food, i.e., linen, set-up equipment, staff, table settings, etc. Ensure that all charges are explained, every detail gone over and you're happy with the arrangement. If you feel uneasy for any reason, pray about it and consider another caterer.

Try Local Catering or Angie's List for referrals. Also check the Better Business Bureau and Yelp for feedback.

2.     Communicate What You Need – Select a caterer that you get along with who will fit with YOUR specific needs. Identify your expectations for your event and map it out in your contract so your caterer is clear how you want your event to flow.  Communicate clearly any changes that come up and discuss all ideas.  On a budget? Be sure to outline all costs and be open to substitutions that might lower the cost of your event. Define them in your contract and establish a budget, theme, color scheme and size of the event. Ask to see a mock set-up so you will know exactly how much space will be needed and how the displays will look. ASK QUESTIONS frequently to ensure you get what you want. The goal with catering is to take the pressure off of you so you can enjoy your time with your guests.

3.     Schedule Your Caterer Early - Book your caterer as soon as possible and get the date and time in writing along with your expectations! Especially during the summer months, caterers book multiple events. Planning ahead will ensure you get your first choice of catering and/or venues. Also have a back-up plan just in case. While you can plan for everything, sometimes things come up. The caterer could end up sick, there can be a huge traffic delay if its over a holiday weekend and so forth. Pray and plan for your event... and have a wonderful time!