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The do's and don'ts of hiring a catering service

Finding the perfect caterer is an essential part of any event or gathering. Weddings, corporate events, parties and family gatherings are all times when the services of a caterer might be needed. Unfortunately, there is no standardized grading system for caterers and anybody can start their own catering business. Here's how to choose a good caterer so that the food at your event is something memorable, for all the right reasons.

Listen To Others No amount of advertising can replace a good recommendation from somebody you know and trust. If a friend or acquaintance had a great caterer for their event, then this is a caterer you should talk to for your next big event. Conversely, bad reviews should also be heeded. Tasting Caterers who provide food for large events should offer to provide you with a tasting, in order to gain your business for a large contract. Keep in mind, however, that this tasting will be the very best product the caterers can produce. There's also often a huge difference in quality between preparing a meal for 2 compared to 500. Specialty Some caterers specialize in larger scale events and have the equipment and expertise to professionally handle larger numbers of guests. Other caterers specialize in smaller intimate events, cocktail parties, or even just delivery of catered food. Be wary of the caterer who claims to be able to do it all, chances are that they don't excel at any of it. Other Services Some caterers will only prepare and deliver you the food you ordered, and may even go so far as to set it up. Others can provide fully trained wait staff and support personnel. If you're having a formal event requiring plated service then you want a catering company large enough to handle your needs. Feel free to ask the caterer if their staff comes from a temporary agency or if they are employees of the catering company. Wait staff that comes from a temp agency can imply that the catering company doesn't often handle large, staffed events.