Finding the perfect caterer for your event can seem like an overwhelming job. Whether you are planning for a corporate event, an at-home party, or a wedding, you need someone who is easy to work with and who can create amazing food. Unfortunately, there are many catering companies out there who make event planning a nightmare and give the rest a bad name. Luckily, there are a handful of catering companies who value their customers and will do everything they can to meet their needs whether long-planned or spur-of-the-moment. If you have an event to plan, be sure you choose the right catering business in Atlanta.
Meet Your Needs
The first question you should ask is whether they cater your type of event and if they have any examples of a similar event they can show you. Many times, catering companies claim they can do any kind of event when, in reality, they have only ever done weddings or catered corporate lunches. Each kind of event calls for a special set of skills (both culinary and in service) to create the effect and deliver the kind of food you want. For example, if one company you talk to does primarily boxed lunches for corporations, chances are they are a bit rusty on how to put together an amazing hot buffet for a wedding. Always ask for references as well as photos of the event.
Play to a Theme
Another closely related point is that you should ask whether they can work within a theme. All too often, catering companies will provide only boring linens and basic, boring plates. If you like white and taupe, you're set! If, however, you want something fun and whimsical, you're really going to have to hunt for a caterer who will not only do it, but who will pull it off with pizzazz. Once again, pictures are worth a thousand words and you shouldn't sign with any caterer who doesn't have some spectacular examples of what they're capable of and what you can expect!
Appropriate Food Choices
After you've found a few caterers who have the ability to pull off the look you want, it is time to talk food. Most catering companies offer a set menu featuring a variety of options like boxed meals, hot meals, cold buffets, hot buffets, dessert buffets, etc. In general, buffets tend to be cheaper than their boxed counterparts, but that isn't always the case. If you're hosting an event where people are going to be working through lunch, it is probably best to go with a boxed lunch that they can easily take back to their seat. If, however, the point of the meal is to get guests to mingle, buffets are certainly the way to go. For mid-day meals, cold buffets and boxed lunches are generally acceptable but be sure to offer a hot meal option if your event is in the evening.
No Hidden Costs
As you are looking at the menu, be sure to notice what is included in the meals and what you will be charged extra for. If you have any confusion, be sure to ask and nail the caterer to an answer. "It depends," is how an event quickly ends up over budget. Another thing to look out for, especially with boxed lunches, is if each meal needs to be the same. Very often, even the best catering business in Atlanta will give you the listed price only if each meal is identical. For example, every box you order must be a pulled pork sandwich with potato salad and a brownie. If you need to individualize meals, it will usually cost you extra.
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