Picking the right caterer is important for your event. If people don't like the food or the service is bad, that is what your guests will remember. Having all the questions you should ask beforehand helps decipher who the best fit is and who is going to stand out in a positive way to your guests.
Do I have to pick one of your curated menus?
Often, caterers will have set menus displayed on their websites or they will email you some in an initial email. It's important to ask if there are more options if you are not seeing what you like. At Hoaglin, we have a plethora of menus to choose from, some of which are on our website, but we can also do custom menus.
Can you accommodate special requests?
At almost every event there is someone who is vegan or gluten-free or has an allergy of some sort. If you know there will be guests at your event with dietary restrictions, then you need to know if your caterer can accommodate that. We handle special requests almost every event. We are happy to prepare these special requests, we just ask to be in told in advance!
What styles of service can you do?
In our last blog post, we dove in to which styles of service best suits your event. If you have a certain style in your mind you want to have, make sure you ask to see if they can do that. Hoaglin can execute plated service, buffet service, stations, and hors d'oeuvre only services.
Can we have a tasting?
What you serve to your guests is important. You don't want to serve something that you yourself doesn't like. Ask if you can schedule a tasting with a menu consisting of things you want to try. All of our booked wedding clients get a complimentary tasting. If your event is not a wedding, we can certainly schedule a tasting for you as well.
Do you charge for china, flatware, and glassware?
When picking any vendor, you want to know all the costs. Some businesses won't be upfront about all the extra costs, so be sure to ask if they will charge for china, flatware, and glassware. In Hoaglin's packages, china, flatware, and glassware are included in the overall price.
Do you handle the bar?
I would say most caterers handle the bar, but if they don't that might be an extra hassle to try to find someone who just does bar service. So, be sure to ask just in case. Hoaglin will handle the bar at all events unless the venue chooses to handle it themselves. Along with Hoaglin having a company liquor license, we also make sure all of our staff obtains a liquor license too.
What staff am I required to have for my event?
Staff can make or break an event. It is crucial to know how much staff you will have and what their duties will entail. We suggest talking through staffing and how the staff will be utilized. At Hoaglin events, we will have the Catering Sales Manager that you will deal with throughout the whole process, an Event Manager, and Servers. If you have a bar you will also have a Bar Manager and bartenders. The number of staff depends on your guest count, style of service, and venue.
How will your staff dress the day of my event?
Staff attire might not seem like something you should worry about, but if they come out in t-shirts to your black-tie function, they are going to stick out like a sore thumb. You want to make sure the staff contributes to the overall feel of your event. Hoaglin staff will wear all black. Black button-up shirt, black tie, black pants, and black shoes. We don't want to stand out, but we do want to be easily found if someone needs something.
Can you coordinate rentals?
Depending on your venue and the feel you are going for your event, you might have to rent some equipment. Whether that is chairs, draping, chargers, etc. you should ask if your caterer can handle those. Our Catering Sales Managers can coordinate all rentals. They will reach out to each vendor, get what you need, and handle it the day of.
We hope these questions will help you when you are trying to pick the perfect caterer for your event. The Holidays are coming up as well, so reach out to start planning your party or take a look at our Holiday Menu! If you have questions for us please give us a call 317-924-3389 or inquire online!