If this is the first time you are hiring a caterer for an event you might find yourself faced with one question – what does a good caterer do? There are many caterers all around London so it is important that you answer that question so that you can know what to look for in a caterer. Although no 2 caterers are exactly alike, there are some qualities that all good caterers share:
• Good food is a hallmark of all good caterers. An event is nothing without good food. It doesn’t matter how tastefully the venue is decorated – if the people don’t enjoy the food experience then the caterer has failed. They should be able to prepare, transport and reheat large amounts of food. They should also be able to cater with those who have special needs.
• Food safety is the most important thing that a caterer has to offer. The last thing you want is for people to get sick from eating at your event. When you are looking for a caterer, make sure to check that he or she has received the necessary training – that is where they learn about food safety issues. You should look up the licensing board for caterers in your area and verify that they are licensed.
• Customer service is an absolute must not just for the caterer but also for all his staff. You will be dealing with all these people very closely in the coming weeks and on your guests will come into contact with them on the day of your event. They should all be tactful and diplomatic and they should be good listeners.
• Are they flexible and can they get creative when it is necessary? Flexibility is very important because things need to be adjusted all the time. If a cook insists that he MUST use a certain ingredient that is not available he can cause huge delays and inconveniences. They should also be creative – if one thing is missing they should be able to substitute it for another.
• The caterer that you choose must have leadership skills. If you have ever seen the kitchen staff at work in restaurants, that is more or less how catering works. There is a lot going on and if it isn’t managed properly things can go very wrong.
• Financial planning is crucial to the catering process and your caterer should have the necessary skills to come up with a budget that you can afford.
• Your caterer should be a good communicator – they need to listen to your needs and concerns and if they have any of their own they should be able to come to you and express themselves politely but clearly.
Lastly, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you like them. Like everything else in life, things are much easier when you are working with someone that you like.