top of page

Questions to Ask a Caterer Before Hiring Them

Are you flexible on your menu offerings or can I only pick from what you have?

Some caterers will offer to work with you to create the perfect menu (or the taco of your dreams), others prefer to stay true to their expertise and stick to their menu. There is no right or wrong way here! If you love a caterer but wish you could make small adjustments (or any adjustments for that matter) to the menu, don't be afraid to ask! You'll never know the answer unless you present the question.

What is included in your fees?

There are many things that may or may not be included in your caterer's fee. It's important to know well in advance what your true and total cost will be so you can budget accordingly. Not sure what things to look for? These will, of course, vary depending on the catering company but here are a few to help you get started:

  • Tax

  • Gratuities

  • Service fees

  • Credit card

  • Staff

  • Cake cutting fees

  • Bartenders

  • Alcohol

  • Mixers, fruits, etc. for bar

  • Water, soft drinks, etc. for bar

  • Drink service during dinner (ice water, wine pouring, etc.)

  • Tables

  • Chairs

  • Linens (including table cloths and napkins)

  • Dish rentals (including plates, silverware and glassware)

  • Serving ware (chaffing dishes, cake stands, serving spoons, etc.)

  • Facilities (oven, stove, warmers, fridge, etc.) if the venue does not provide

  • Garbage cans/liners

Can I taste the menu or parts of it in advance?

If you've had their food before at another event, then you probably have a good idea of what to expect. But if you haven't, you should absolutely try their food in advance. Remember, every caterer will handle tastings differently, so it's important to ask. Some will have a tasting fee, others will include it in the total cost, and some might have a limit as to the number of items you can taste in advance.

At what time will you arrive to begin setup?

On the day of an event, anything can happen. Knowing well in advance when to expect your caterer's arrival will give you (and/or your Day-of-Coordinator) the peace of mind you need. Pro tip: if the caterer is not providing food for your cocktail hour, they will arrive based on the start of their service and not necessarily the start of cocktails.

Once the guest count is given, do you allow changes to be made?

Caterers have cut-off dates so they can order the proper amount of food without having too much waste, while also ensuring there is enough for your guests. Typically, your guest count is due to the caterer/venue anywhere from 1-2 weeks before the wedding. Last minute cancellations will happen or you may choose to add more servings to your original count. Ask your caterer what the final cut-off date will be to make any changes.

What do you do with leftovers?

Some caterers may pack any leftover food, either in their own containers or containers you are required to provide. Whether the desired result is sending qualified uneaten food to a nonprofit for folks in need, or bringing to-go boxes to distribute to staffers, this is an important question you want to make sure you ask.

What will your staff wear?

With so many things to consider, this one may slip by you! Depending on the style of your event, you’ll want to make sure your catering staff blend in nicely and professionally. The staff will become a part of your day's aesthetic and play a role in the overall look and feel of the event.

Are you licensed, with health permits and liability insurance?

Verify that the company has all its necessary health and safety bona fides. Caterers in the state of Florida have to go through a rigorous inspection process in order to receive a license to operate. You can ask your caterer about their status or check it out on the Department of Business and Professional Regulation website. The state does not require caterers to carry liability insurance. However, your event venue may require all vendors to carry it.

What are your water and electrical needs?

This is a pertinent question, especially if your event is taking place outdoors or in a raw space. Knowing this information will help you determine whether your caterer will be a good fit for your venue of choice.

What is your cancelation policy?

Life happens. Sometimes your event needs to be canceled at short notice. Sometimes, if you're in Florida, an unexpected hurricane may pop up on your radar in very typical Florida fashion. Caterers understand that unforeseeable circumstances might mean your event is pulled–however, they’ve got bills to pay, too. Find out what the cancellation policy is for your potential caterer. For example, if you cancel far in advance, some caterers will provide a full refund but only if they can fill your booked date with another job.

Ask Us To Cater Your Event

The list can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be that way with the right caterer. At Taco Kings, we have experience in a wide range of events, from church conferences, to weddings, graduations parties, corporate events and more. Contact us today to ask us the questions above–and any more you might have! Find out how we can bring our delish, fresh street tacos to brighten your event!

bottom of page