By Social Sounds, LLC

Food can make or break any occasion, making the selection of a new york caterer is
one of the most important decisions you’ll make in planning your event. Here are a few tips to make the
process go as smoothly, and successfully, as possible. 

First, nail down your event date and venue before starting your search for a new york
caterer. Often, venues require that they provide the food, or require you work from a list of preferred vendors.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – chances are that the caterers on your site’s preferred list are highly
qualified, not to mention familiar with the site’s kitchen, layout, coordinator, etc. This familiarity can go a
long way toward making sure that preparation and serving runs smoothly and that the food decisions made throughout
the planning process meet both your own and the venue’s requirements.
  

In fact, even if the venue allows you to work with any new york caterer you want, it’s a
good idea to ask the site coordinator for recommendations, in addition to getting recommendations from friends and
family. This gives you a pre-qualified list of possibilities to work with.

Next, create a budget based on what you can afford to pay per head for food and beverages
and work from this when meeting with prospective caterers. (Remember, expensive doesn’t always equate to great.)
Ask to see some sample menus that fit your budget and request a tasting of all the items you’re
considering. 

Along with evaluating the dishes’ flavor, a tasting will also help you gauge a caterer’s
desire to please you with additional special requests. For example, are they willing to provide healthier options?
Do they offer vegetarian dishes? You’ll also want to go through the caterer’s portfolio of photos from events they
served; pay close attention to the presentation in individual dishes, table designs and buffet spreads. You want
your food to be both tasty and appealing. 

Finally, before making your final selection, get references from past clients and call
them; ask if they were happy with the quality of the food and service. 

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Other hints: 

· Expect to be charged a set fee per person for food, plus additional costs for beverages,
furniture rental and other extras. Ask for an estimate on the rates for servers, bartenders and cleanup
crew.
  

· Keep in mind that a six-hour event can actually last eight hours when set-up, clean-up
and “stragglers” are taken into consideration. Unless other arrangements have been made, the caterer must continue
paying staff until the last guest leaves and the mess has been cleared away.
 

· Review the venue with your caterer, including the kitchen facilities and space where
guests will mingle and dine. This will allow the caterer to plan the positioning of food and beverage tables to
optimize traffic flow and establish serving patterns.
 

· Determine in advance who will provide or rent tables, chairs, centerpieces, tent,
glassware, utensils, linens, etc.
 

· Confirm the number of wait staff, their dress code, taxes, gratuities and payment
schedule.
  

· Get a written contract that spells out all the agreed-upon details as well as all fees
and expenses.
 

· If you’re on a tight budget, ask if you can supply the alcohol yourself; you can buy
from a discount store that will often let you return unopened bottles.
 

· Remember, you are typically expected to tip the caterer after the
event.
 (Really? YUP, and that tip is typically shared with the bartenders and wait staff) 

· Make sure the caterer is insured and bonded, or you could be taking a big
risk.
 

Finally, a red flag should go up if a caterer doesn’t question you about your likes,
dislikes and expectations for the event. The last
 thing you want is your event to be colored by
impersonal or generic service!