The season of family gatherings and office holiday parties are upon us. Feeding a large group can be intimidating and stressful, which could lead a consumer to consider hiring a catering service. Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin
wants you to be sure the feast at your event is something memorable, for all the right reasons.
Fortunately, the national number of complaints against caterers has decreased by 14 percent since 2010. Of complaints received, some consumers alleged not receiving a full refund as promised while others who paid for a representative to assist during the event failed to arrive.
So 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 checkbbb.org and utilize the Request-a-Quote feature for an estimate. Also check out their BBB Business Review for details 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 like linens and decorations separately.
Know who you’ll be working with. Get the name of the person who will be in charge on the day of the event in case problems arise. If possible, work with this person (or at least meet him or her) during the planning stages so that you will have 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. Also look for the date and time of delivery and if there are any set-up or take-down charges.
Discuss conditions and agreements. Make sure you understand the deposit and refund agreements. Know what 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 itemize the number of staff involved, charges for overtime, and the starting and ending time of the event.