How to Choose the Best Caterer Every Time
Looking for a caterer for your next event?
Save yourself from the stress of event planning and book the perfect professional caterer easily with these 3 tips!
No matter what kind of event you are planning, hiring a quality caterer is a great way to ensure things go to plan. It can not only make your life as a host easier, but it can also elevate your event on so many levels! That is, as long as you find the right caterer. Finding the best caterer for you and your event can be a difficult and time-consuming task if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why Table & Thyme is sharing our top 3 tips to help you find the best event catering match possible for your next event!
1. Outline Your Event Catering Needs
When searching for the perfect caterer, the first thing that needs to be addressed is the event itself. What kind of event are you planning? Every event is a unique experience, but having certain goals and expectations will make planning and coordinating a lot less stressful and a lot more cost-effective.
First things first, what is the occasion? Are you putting together plans for a wedding in the upcoming months, or are you looking to entertain colleagues and coworkers at a corporate event? What kind of aesthetic are you hoping to achieve with your event? Is there a specific theme or idea you want to highlight, or are you open to new ideas? Another thing to keep in mind is your budget. It’s best to establish a realistic budget early on, but keep in mind that some events may call for a higher budget than others. Whatever the case may be, the type of event you plan to host can determine many other aspects of catering services to look for. Things like the menu provided, the style in which the food is served, or even whether the menu is prepared at the venue or transported from off-site may depend on the event itself!
While you don’t have to have every detail ironed out before starting your search for an event caterer, it is a good idea to know about some of your catering options. That way, you can set your expectations early and communicate them clearly to any of the vendors you may work with. Some of those options include…
Serving plated meals and multiple courses, a popular option for formal events such as elaborate weddings, holiday get-togethers, fundraising events, and more.
Entertaining guests with various food stations such as this delightful dessert table. It allows guests to customize their experience and acts as a great conversation starter for events where guests may not be well acquainted beforehand.
Keeping things lively and classy with a cocktail menu. This is an ideal option for events that call for guests to mingle for extended periods such as launch parties and presentations, conferences, and more!
Making the menu a centerpiece of the event with buffets and grazing tables. These appetizing and beautiful tablescapes are versatile and work for many types of events, but also add an element of lavishness to any occasion.
There are many other factors to consider for your event, but a quality catering team will be able to help you decide on the right details to include based on their professional experiences. In fact, Table & Thyme works closely with all of our clients during the planning phase, which is what led us to create several catering menus and options to make every event as special as we possibly can.
2. Research, research, research!
The next best thing to do after defining your event goals and expectations is to start researching. This is the part of event planning that many people find the most enjoyable because scrolling through an endless stream of photos and videos of colorful, elaborate events is an entertaining way to find inspiration for your event and find the perfect vendors to achieve your event goals!
So, what does this kind of research look entail, exactly? While you won’t be expected to have a 12-page, MLA formatted report of which vendors you’d like to work with and why, there are a few things to focus on during your search for the perfect event caterer. Most people would start with a quick Google search like “wedding caterers near me,” but that avenue will only get you so far. It doesn’t hurt to take a look at the vendors that pop up on the first page of results, but you also don’t want to miss out on the other quality caterers in the area. So, what else can you do? Here are a few ideas for you to find the right caterer:
Hop on a platform like Facebook and look for groups dedicated to event planning in the area. Especially for events like weddings, these community groups are usually filled with tons of advice and reviews from locals about the vendors they recommend (or the ones they don’t). Vendors can also be in some of these groups, and offer services to meet a variety of goals and price points!
Another avenue that may garner good results is to use Instagram’s unique photo and location-sharing features to find potential caterers in your area. Nowadays, it is quite common for everyone to tag everyone in the photos they share on Instagram, and that includes the businesses and vendors that made an event possible. Many vendors even ask that any photo of the event or service that is shared online include a tag of their official accounts in the contracts they shared with their clients. This is a great way to help vendors gain exposure in the local community since anyone that views those photos, usually, friends and family of the client, is only a click away from connecting. It’s also an effective tool for anyone on the search for event vendors including planners, decorators, caterers, stylists, and more!
There are a few ways to find the services you’re looking for through Instagram. One way is to search the location your event will be held and go from there. You can be as general or as specific as you like, but odds are, you are bound to find some photos of events like weddings, retreats, parties, and more. There is a good chance these pictures will tag the vendors used or mention them in the description. Then, you can go straight to their page and see what else they have to offer! Many caterers, like Table & Thyme, love sharing snapshots of past events and some of our favorite event menus on our social media pages. Not only do you get a look into the special catering services we offer, but you also get a chance to connect with us over a love of delicious food when we post our one-of-a-kind recipes!
Don’t forget to take a look at your friend list, too! Even if, by chance, they didn’t tag the vendors in the photos they shared from their event, they are only a message away! Speaking of reaching out to friends, asking around for catering recommendations, whether from coworkers, family members, or whoever you may be in contact with, is a great way to find caterers since they can be vetted by someone you trust!
There is also the fact that many event vendors have worked with each other in the past and even formed strong professional relationships with one another and may have some great insight into who can help make your event a success.
For example, Table & Thyme has catered events at several venues and is even the preferred catering vendor for Winwood Equestrian, Swan Lake Stables, and The Barn at Smith Lake! Aside from those, we also have plenty of venue recommendations based on our experiences with events in the area, plus recommendations for local photographers, decorators, and so many more professionals we’ve worked with before!
3. Keep the Menu in Mind
Once you have your budget, your vision, and a few catering options on your plate, it’s time to address what will be on the actual plates at your event. You’ve already seen the type of options that may be available to you, but deciding what to serve is just as important as deciding how to serve it. Every caterer will have different skills and selections to work with, so it’s best to consider that before choosing a vendor.
Maybe you already have a menu in mind, one that fits into your event’s theme, or perhaps it has special significance to you. If that’s the case, look for caterers that offer customizable packages and services like Table & Thyme.
No matter what style your event may be sporting, having a caterer that pays strict attention to detail and puts pride into their presentation is a must. So, pay attention to the quality of work that a catering team produces. And, if you are looking for a more personalized approach, opt for caterers that offer unique catering experiences like Table & Thyme’s Letter and Number Graze Boxes.
Making Your Event Special with Table & Thyme
If you have implemented these tips into your search and are still looking for a quality caterer at your next event, perhaps Table & Thyme could offer you more than a few pieces of advice. We love connecting with members of our local community and even those that aren’t so local, and we do that by creating memorable moments through our elevated catering experience.
Table & Thyme offers a personalized approach to the events we cater and work directly with our clients from beginning to end to ensure the most exceptional service and delicious food possible.
Because we have catered a large variety of events, from weddings and birthday parties to business retreats and family reunions, we have created several catering packages to choose from. We offer multi-course meals and plated dinners, grazing tables, food stations and buffets, and so much more so that we can meet every one of your event’s unique needs. We even created our one-of-a-kind Graze Boxes to make hosting small events even easier!
Aside from working diligently to tailor the best catering experience possible for our clients, Table & Thyme also shares delectable recipes, event highlights, and more on our social media and blog every week.
For more information on Table and Thyme, contact them today! Follow us on our social media: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest to see the other amazing events, lavishing grazing tables and beautiful graze boxes we have created.