Published January 26, 2016
With several venue spaces at Fairmount, we can host a variety of events from weddings to receptions, anniversary parties and more. Our newly remodeled event space can accommodate 50-200 guests.
You’ve done all the work to get the invitations done and the people in attendance, so what will you feed them?
At The Q at Fairmount, you have a lot of options for catering, because YOU can pick any licensed and insured catering company of your choice. A few of our favorites include Rocky Mountain Catering and Colorado CateringCompany. Whether you choose either of them or not, here are a few tips on how to hire a great catering company:
Start with personal recommendations for your caterer.
Hearing firsthand from someone who has experienced excellent service is always the best. If you choose to read reviews online, look first at only the bad reviews to what patterns emerge to see where the company fails overall. Obviously if there’s too many of those, I won’t choose the company, but one bad review shouldn’t exclude them. For example, the reviewer may have had a really unrealistic expectation or the problem may have been resolved and yet they didn’t go back and make the update. Next, look at their good reviews and see what they really excel in. But, don’t stop there…
Dig a little deeper into the catering company
After checking the catering company’s online reviews, do a little more research. Look into them on the Better Business Bureau and the Health Department for any unresolved complaints or problems. These checks are usually pretty quick and easy to do, and it’s better than fielding calls from guests later about food poisoning, or dealing with a breach of contract.
In your research, compare a few different catering companies against each other. There can be a large variety in the services each catering company will provide. Even in discovering their differences, you will learn more about catering and be able to ask better questions. Getting several quotes will allow you to learn how the companies will prepare for your big day in regards to staffing, clean-up, set-up and more. Learning about the variety of services will help you get the experience you want at a price that’s fair.
Is the catering company pleasing to your palette?
On large events, such as weddings, ask the caterer for a tasting. Ask how the food will be served. During the tasting, you may receive a plated service, whereas service for multiple people may be handled very differently, such as in a buffet style. Likely the caterer will have an image portfolio showing how they set up the plates and serving areas. Those are helpful in making sure the food looks as good as it tastes, as well as discovering their style and diversity. If the caterer has a particular specialty, make sure you ask about special dietary restrictions and decor they use. Also ask about the typical size of event they cater to make sure it fits with the scale of your party.
You should be given a few menu options within your budget. Hor d’oeuvers, main dishes and sides as well as deserts can be presented in both a buffet or plated option. Consider the formality and theme of your event when choosing foods, as well as the venue space.
Get it all in writing
Get a written contract that includes pricing. Consider the size of your party and what your budget is. Some catering companies will charge a ‘per head’ for food and additional charges for non-food items such as linens, settings and more. Understand these fees so you know what to expect when the bill comes.
Review the contract to make sure that you understand it, whether or not it includes setup and cleanup, any and any other rental or other fees. Ask for included items to be broken down line by line and look for any holes, such as linens, transportation and staffing. Make sure you understand what you’re paying for and what exclusions there may be. Ask about their staffing capabilities and how they choose to staff. Ask what items you will be responsible for, including cutting the cake.
Trust your gut
Finally, the bottom line is whether or not you like the caterer. There is more than just good food that will make your day memorable. Do you feel the caterer was easy to talk to? Did they listen to you and understand your style, goals and budget?
Everyone is unique in what they want for their day and how they want guests to feel when they leave. We all have different tastes and you want a catering company that’s going to accentuate your personal experience. If you aren’t feeling like they’re a good fit, even if they put most delicious food on the plate in front of you, trust your gut and move on.