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Questions and Answers

Q: What do catering services include?

A: The main service of catering companies is to serve food. The rest can vary a lot. Some caterers pre-cook the food and then serve it at events, others have chefs cooking everything on the spot. Caterers include chefs, cooks, servers, and bartenders working all together to make your event perfect.

Catering services may also vary depending on your type of event. For business meetings, caterers prepare only soft drinks and some appetizers, while for major weddings they work on food, tables decor, serving, and cleaning up altogether. Catering companies can offer you a service you need and they always can match their offer to your particular requirements.

Q: How do catering companies charge?

A: All caterers charge per person that will be present at the event. The cost includes everything from product purchase to meal serving and even drinks. However, if you’re hiring a company that serves alcohol as well, be ready that all alcoholic beverages will be charged on a separate bill. Sometimes alcohol is charged per person as well, but in most cases, you will pay for all the drinks your guests consume during the evening. Be ready, that a catering company may have a minimum order charge that is usually calculated for 10 people.

Q: What is the average cost of the catering services?

A: The average cost of a catered meal is $30-$120 per person and the price significantly depends on a wide range of factors. However, if you’re looking for a wedding catering company, be ready to pay $95-$200 per person at such an event. You can learn how and why regular and wedding catering prices differ by reading our catering cost guide and wedding catering cost guide.

Q: What factors affect the cost of the catering services?

A: The most cost-influencing factor for catering services is the type of catering you need. Plated dinner when every guest gets an individual plate costs the most. Family-style catering costs a little less, then go the prices for cocktail parties, and the most affordable catering is for buffet style services. Every catering style, however, is affected by a number of other factors:

  • Number of guests. The more people you have, the higher price you pay.
  • Number of staff. Every caterer has a formula for calculating the right amount of staff present at your event. If you request more people to serve drinks or more busboys to keep everything clean, then these staff members will require additional payment.
  • Event type. Family gatherings require simpler serving and preparation so will cost much less than official black-tie corporate events or pompous weddings.
  • Alcohol serving. Even if the caterer has alcohol serving service on the list, it usually costs extra for both the bartenders and the alcohol itself.
  • Additional rentals. Yes, caterers provide silverware, glassware, and basic dishes for food serving. However, if you need tables, tablecloth, unique table decor, and other perks, be ready to pay an extra flat fee.
  • Menu. Since food serving is the main service of caterers, the kind of food you demand influences per-guest cost. Basic American dishes are easy to cook and serve while haute-cuisine of Italy or unique tastes of the Balkans will add some zeroes to your bill.

Q: How to choose the best catering company?

A: Here are the top tips to help you find the best caterer for your particular event:

  • Performance abilities. Look for a caterer who can meet the demands of your status. A local bistro won’t be able to organize a high-fashion wedding. Always match the demand to the offer and not vice versa.
  • Menu and flexibility. Most catering companies have ready-to-serve menu options. However, if you have allergies or want to alter the menu to fit your event, then pay attention to the way a caterer handles your request.
  • Food. Don’t forget to attend food-tasting before you hand over your deposit.
  • Relation with the venue. It’s much better to have a caterer who has already worked at your venue and knows how to run it. Otherwise, you risk getting your servers lost in the building!
  • Cancellation plan. You never know what may go wrong with the event, so you should clearly understand what to do if everything goes wrong. Try to cooperate with a catering company that clearly states its cancellation policy.