By Jody Long Catering can make or break an event. Guests will either leave your event raving about the food, or starving because they were expecting something great and your caterer did not live up to the expectations. Here are some tips to help you have a better outcome at your next event with your caterer, and how you can best work with them. Things to consider when choosing the right caterer for your event: · Event type · Attendees · Budget · Rentals, services & extra fees · Type of food service · Menu variety & selection Once you decide on a caterer, ask them the following questions so nothing is left out: · Who will be there the day of my event? · Do I have to include a vegetarian option, or can that be made available for guests to request it at the event? · Is food prepared in your kitchen, or off site? · Can I make changes to the menu the day of the event? · How long will food be left out? · Will the food be kept cold and warm, while displayed? · Do you have options for both stationary and passed food? · What are your options for alcoholic beverages? · Am I able to bring leftovers home, or back to my office? · If you're on a budget, ask if they will offer lunch menu options for dinner. · If you don’t see what you want from the menu, just ask. Interview with a hotel caterer: When should you and the planner decide on the menu? (How far out from the event?) Ideally the menu should be finalized no later than 10 days before the event. How can the planner be best prepared for the event? Events run smoothly when there is a open line of communication between the client and planner during the planning process. What are some unique and creative food menus you've done for events? One unique event we catered at was a Halloween Party where we themed the food. Example: Bloody Mary Steak Bites & Zombie Apocalypse Jalapeno Poppers What would you advice be to planners who are planning an event for the first time? KEEP GOOD NOTES!!!! Many ideas are thrown back and forth between a planner and client. It can sometimes become a muddled mess. With good communication and note taking the event should run flawlessly!