The caterer has a very important role in your party. Therefore, you should take extra care in hiring the right caterer for you party day. Just like hiring any other vendor, you have to make your selection based on facts not feelings. The caterer may be an individual or a business. Even if the caterer is an individual, she still has to operate as a business. The caterer cannot legally cook at home and serve the food at your party. It is illegal for a caterer to use an unlicensed kitchen to prepare food.
The caterer you hire should be experienced in catering parties you are planning. Some caterers may be more experienced with smaller events, some with larger events. It is your job to make sure that they are the right fit. During your interview process, you should ask about the kind of events they have catered. Ask about the size of the parties, how many guests they catered for. Ask if they had to deal with any emergencies or unexpected occurences. To learn about how they deal with emergencies may help you understand their level of professionalism.
You should never hire the first caterer you meet or the first caterer recommended by someone else. It may be tempting to hire the first caterer, especially, if you hit it off really well. It is in your best interest to meet with several caterers before you make your final decision.
You must check references before you make your decision. If a caterer does not have any references, he just disqualified himself. You don’t want anything to do with a caterer that offers no references. References are important, but they do not provide an absolute protection. You may be able to visit the caterer’s kitchen, so you can see their operation in action. A visit can help you examine their organization and cleanliness.
Caterers get booked well in advance, so hire one early. You should have a caterer lined up no less than 6 months prior to your party. If you can find one a year before your event is even better. The more time you leave yourself to hire a caterer the more chance you give yourself to hire the right caterer.
Once you have made a decision, it is time to put it all in writing. You should insist on a written contract. The contract should include the details, of the menu, the date of the event, what is and is not included.