You have just been voted chairperson of the food committee, but have always overseen decorations in the past and don’t have a clue how to hire a catering service. You consult a phone book and find many places that offer lunch catering in Atlanta. Finally, you make a list of questions and concerns to address each catering service:
- If the company is unknown to you, can they provide references? Can you ask friends and family for referrals?
- Is the kitchen certified and does the staff have food handler’s credentials?
- Is the caterer available on the date of your event?
- Does the company have a specialty dish they get raves about? Consider including this item. Can they serve items that meet the theme of your event or make suggestions on how they might address your theme? How creative are they?
- Catering is usually charged by the food item and amount. If budget is an issue for you, talk to the caterer about how you might get a cost reduction. Perhaps you could provide the bread or other item at considerably less expense by making a quick trip to the grocery store.
- Serving dishes, trays, tablecloths, and other presentation items—does the caterer provide these items? Do they fit your theme?
These considerations may lay the foundation of a relationship you want to keep. After the event, it is advisable you carefully reflect on your experience, evaluating the professionalism of the staff, the extent they met your expectations, and how flexible and adaptive they were to changes in venue or presentation.
Talk with patrons about their satisfaction with the catering and the service. From collecting such information, you will be able to serve as the chairperson of the food committee in a future event. Catering companies face a high degree of competition, and would most likely enjoy hearing your evaluation of their service. Perhaps you could prepare a formal report and receive a discount on a future booking?