Things to consider when booking a caterer for your corporate event

8 tips to help you book the right caterer for your event

Congratulations! You’ve been given the task of booking a caterer for your business event. Now, how do you make sure you succeed? Book The Wild Oven? Not necessarily! It’s all comes down to:

  1. Identify the outcome objective of your event
  2. Make sure everything you do is with this in mind
  3. Decide on your venue
  4. Ask work colleagues
  5. Use Google search, well
  6. Don’t rule a caterer out just because they don’t explicitly list that they do “corporate” catering
  7. Get quotations
  8. Consider how caterers respond to your enquiry

1. Identify the outcome objective of your event

First off, what is the outcome objective of your event? You’ve got it relatively easy if, “having fun and rewarding employees” is the answer! You could be looking at trying to win more business through impressing current or potential clients, thanking clients for their loyalty or launching a new product or service.

2. Make sure everything you do is with this in mind

Throughout the planning process keep in mind what your objective is and make sure that everything that you do is centred around achieving it. Can’t decide between one venue or the other? Consider which will help you achieve your objective best – one may be closer and more convenient for your potential clients, or may be in a style that will be more likely to impress them. Make your decisions based on what you are trying to achieve.

3. Decide on your venue

Your event will be a gathering of people. Naturally, they need somewhere to gather. When picking a venue chose one that suits the number of people and the season you’re holding the event in. 10 people rattling around a 10,000 square ft art gallery when the summer sun is shining through the windows isn’t going to create the focus of energy that makes for a successful event. Your venue will determine which caterers you can use and which will fit best. They might even have a list of preferred caterers, this will serve as a guide. Just remember, that if none of the caterers fit your event then you can ask your venue to host a new caterer.

4. Ask work colleagues

There may be caterers that your business has used in the past. These could come with a positive recommendation, or could come with a negative one. Find out! This knowledge could help you when booking. For example, if your business has used someone before but they didn’t meet expectations on certain levels you can use this knowledge to ask the caterer in question for improvements.

5. Use Google search, well

This may seem ultra obvious, but don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you to use Google search, it’s more about how you use it. There are some great caterers out there, and the Google search bots aren’t necessarily the best ones at finding them. Some caterers get lucky and manage to build a website that performs well on Google and some don’t. Be that because they’re too busy in the kitchen and at events or because their website is optimised for phrases that you’re not searching for. It costs a lot of money/time to get to the top of Google for phrases such as “outside caterer”, and your perfect caterer isn’t necessarily going to be there.

Use the location that your event is going to be in. Start specific, for example the local town then go larger.

Use phrases specific to what you would hope to find on their website. “Alternative”, “Rustic”,   

Use variations of one lead word followed by one follow word: Lead words: “Outside” “Private” “Corporate” Follow words: “Caterer”, “Catering” “Food”

6. Don’t rule a caterer out just because they don’t explicitly list that they do “corporate” catering

There might be a caterer out there who is perfect for your event, but when you look through their website you can’t see the phrase “corporate catering” or “business caterers”. Don’t despair. Chances are that they will do it but may not explicitly state it. Just ask them!

7. Get quotations

Figure our your guest numbers, location and event date and find out who is available and importantly, if they come in within budget. If you’re a talker then state that you’d rather they called you back, or, if you’d rather have a written record of all the quotes to make comparison easier ask for email responses. By setting in motion communication with your potential caterer you’ll be able to assess if you think you would like to work with them. Which leads me on to the final point:

8. Consider how caterers respond to your enquiry

This one isn’t particular to caterers, but if you approach someone as a potential customer how and when they respond is an indication of how they will be throughout the build up to your event. I would expect a response within 2 working days, sooner is better. Keep an eye out for attention to detail. Ok we are all human and all make mistakes, but if your proposal is riddled with them then this shows a lack of attention to detail which could be carried through to the event, and catering is all about the detail!