I love my job. As caterers, the eat well team and I play privileged roles in our clients’ lives. We are here in the office planning their parties, devoting time and attention to every detail and the preparation of everything necessary to complete their vision. We also work at the party, both behind the scenes and ‘on the floor’ getting to experience the joy of celebratory moments with their family and friends: bar mitzvahs, first communions, weddings, important meetings, birthdays, anniversaries, celebratory dinners with friends or colleagues. Such special events, and we are always honored to have the opportunity to be of service, to help create a memorable moment.
Finding the right caterer for your event is important, because each member of this team will have some responsibility for making the event you are planning everything you hoped for. So, it’s important to consider a few things while you are shopping:
- The very first consideration, of course, is availability. Reserving your date with your potential caterer with as much notice as possible is important. At eat well, sometimes we are able to accommodate last minute requests, but not always, so a minimum of a month’s notice is always a good idea, even more for events requiring substantial planning, such as weddings.
- Next, be prepared to discuss the event you would like to host. How many guests, approximately? Are you thinking of a formal plated dinner or a buffet, or maybe just appetizers and drinks? Have you found the location for your event? If not, your potential caterer can probably suggest some appropriate venues based on your needs. Making sure the size of the venue and the size of your crowd match is an important factor, but there are other considerations, such as the equipment that would be available for your caterer. If you are planning a seated or buffet dinner, some type of kitchenette or kitchen equipment will be helpful to the caterer, and may also reduce overall costs if equipment would need to be rented otherwise. Whatever information you can share with us helps us make the best suggestions for menu and service staff.
- Budget is another consideration and admittedly, can be difficult to determine or discuss. But, consider how important the bottom line is to you, from it being the most important determining factor, a consideration with other factors weighing in too, or price being no object. To gather a working knowledge of what you can expect to pay, check several caterers’ websites for priced sample menus that you can browse. That can help give you an idea of where each caterer stands and help you set a budget that works for you. Be cautious because some companies who at first look appear to offer much better pricing may have hidden fees such as delivery fees, buffet set-up, or platter fees. At eat well, our charges are for food (which includes all presentation set up items), then rentals or disposables(which would include plates, utensils, and glassware), and finally service. These items are evaluated individually so that we can provide the best services at the best rate.
- Now to the most important thing – the food! Our event management staff will guide you towards making the best menu choices for your event. We strive to work with you, listening to your ideas and thoughts about your event. Do you have a finicky crowd? We’ve handled that before. Trying to impress the foodies in your life? We can handle that, too. Our favorite client is one who has some ideas about what would be special for them, but then trusts and works with us to create a menu that will fulfill and hopefully surpass their expectations. With more than just menu advice, we can help with all areas of planning, including rentals and beverages. We are more than happy to help, but please realize that the service and time that is required to handle orders and deliveries means that we may need to charge a slight service fee. But, more often than not, the peace of mind that comes from us coordinating those items is a worthwhile investment, even with our added service fee. Should you ask us to take this over we will determine all quantities etc, make sure everything is in place (like those very forgettable coffee cups), and ensure that unneeded items are credited to your account. Our goal is to make entertaining as enjoyable and easy as possible for our clients and their guests.
- Finally, consider the relationship and trust. There is one more elusive factor to consider and that is the feeling that you get when working with your caterer. Because often these events are once in a lifetime, you want to make sure the caterer you choose is someone you trust, and that you feel good about working with. Your phone calls or emails, from the first contact to the final detail conversations, should be handled with care. You should feel comfortable speaking up when you have ideas that are different from your caterer’s suggestions. We are here to make your event everything you would like it to be, not to impose our expectations on your event. You should feel comfortable with the staff that is coming into your home, that they will take care of you and your guests and provide excellent service and clean up in addition to the excellent food. It should be a company that you look forward to contacting about your next event, the day after your current event is completed. We strive at eat well to provide that kind of experience for our clients, because we love what we do.
Hopefully these tips will help you identify the caterer that is a right fit for you and your event. One of the best feelings is the day after the event (that has been anticipated and planned for weeks or months), receiving call after call of compliments about your great party, knowing that your work selecting the right caterer payed off!