The season of family gatherings and office holiday parties are upon us. Feeding a large group can be intimidating and stressful, and may lead to the decision to hire a catering service. Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin wants you to be sure the feast at your event is something memorable.
Fortunately, the national number of complaints against caterers to BBBs nationally has decreased by 14 percent since 2010. Of complaints typically received, consumers alleged not receiving a full refund as promised, while others state they paid for a representative to assist during the event and that person failed to arrive.
Whether you’re celebrating with family or hosting business associates, the difficult task of preparing for an event can be made easier with the assistance of a reliable and qualified professional caterer.
BBB has advice to consider when choosing the right catering service for your event:
Start your search with BBB. Find a BBB Accredited catering service at bbb.org. Utilize the “Request-a-Quote” feature for an estimate. Also check out the BBB Business Review for information on the company including details on complaints and any advertising issues.
Decide on full or partial-service. While some caterers provide everything, some do not. Be sure to understand what your caterer will provide and budget accordingly in case you need to purchase items separately such as linens and decorations.
Know who you’ll be working with. Get the name and phone number of the person who will be in charge on the day of the event in case questions or problems arise. If possible, work with this person during the planning stages to ensure a good working relationship before the big day arrives.
Get it in writing. Get a written, signed and dated copy of the contract. This should include the cost per guest, total price of the service and a list of specific menu items (including any alternatives, if applicable). The contract should also note which beverages will be included. Be sure the date and time of delivery is included and if there are any set-up or take-down charges or other itemized stipulations.
Discuss conditions and agreements. Make sure you understand the deposit and refund agreements. Know the amount you’ll be charged in case there are any changes in plans such as the number of guests, menu selection or unexpected issues that require cancellation. Your agreement should also include the number of staff involved, charges for overtime, the start and end time of the event and clean up and/or pick up arrangements.