Food can make or break any event so hiring the best caterers for the day is imperative. Before meeting with prospective caterers, make sure you have a clear outline of your event size, number of people attending, type of food required, any dietary restrictions and time plan. The more information you can supply, the better your chances are of matching up with the most suitable caterers for the job. Here are a few indicators of what the best caterers will provide.

Best Catering Companies

1. Take an interest in what the client wants

That first meeting with a catering company can tell you exactly whether they are the right specialists for your dining needs. In fact, any interaction before the first meeting is also extremely telling. Were they quick to respond to your initial inquiry? Was there a level of professionalism in all communication? It’s likely that these aspects will carry through the event so it’s wise to be weary of any company that is slack at responding and doesn’t come off seeming experienced in the field. The catering company should show a keen interest in exactly what the client wants, rather than adapting a tried-and-tested formula that only almost works. Of course, the quality of food and competitive pricing are priorities, but if your guests are sitting around, waiting for food that hasn’t arrived on time, then the event will certainly fall flat. Quality product sure, but quality service as well.

2. Know their strengths and limitations

Events range in size, time of day, setting and type. The catering company needs to meet the needs of your particular event. Realistically, there are few – if any – organisations that will meet every event organisers’ need, so it’s best to determine if the caterer is right for your event. An organisation might have a sterling reputation, with fantastic cuisine and service, but they specialise in small-to-medium scale events rather than large conferences. Be very clear about exactly what is needed for your event and decide if the caterers can perform on the day.
Most catering companies will have standard menus to choose from which are updated to meet food trends and can be adapted for your event. However, some caterers will go even further and create something spectacular to satisfy your requirements.

3. Offer taste samples

You wouldn’t spend a fortune on clothing without trying it on, so why would you fork out for food without sampling it first? Although it might feel awkward asking to sample food, it’s a very common part of interviewing any caterer. There may be a cost involved, but it’s a price worth paying. Do not accept a generic sample, but rather specific items intended for your event, so there is no argument on the day about what was expected. This will also ensure the presentation of the food is up to standard. If it’s important to your event, you can also request wine pairings for the tasting.

4. Provide a detailed contract

Every good caterer should give a detailed contract that outlines every cost involved in the service provided. Ask upfront what comes standard, as well as what is considered an extra, and the financial implications of these. Details to look out for should be the selected menus, number of servings, beverage services, setting and cleaning up, leftover food as well as all prices and additional costs. Be sure to ask about the number of staff members that will be available on the day so that everything runs smoothly. Another absolute must is a cancellation clause. Check what the timeframe is, whether the deposit is refundable and any assistance they provide in finding a replacement. Get everything in writing ahead of time and get a lawyer to check the contract because, as much as it protects the catering company, it must protect you as well.

5. Supply references

Before first contact with a catering company, check any online reviews as well as previous clients listed and follow up with some reference checks. If you come up empty-handed, ask the catering company to supply you with references after your introductory meeting. At the end of the day, a company can tick all the right boxes but first-hand experience counts the most. Do they live up to all their promises and would previous customers use them again?

6. Skilled chef

The catering company may have been operating for decades with great reviews, but the kitchen staff are the driving force. Any great caterer will have a great chef behind the scenes, so ask for the chef’s background and CV. In the end, it all comes down to food, so with a knowledgeable cook leading the team, you’re sure to get great results.

Most catering companies will go out of their way to provide excellent office catering, training catering or corporate catering, so it’s a good idea to find the right one. Read our pick of the 5 Best catering companies in Johannesburg.

Central Kitchen Caterers is an experienced and professional catering company based in Kya- Sands Johannesburg. We cater for a number of events as well as day to day catering for offices and training institutions. We put make delicious Platters, Spit Braai’s, Buffet Meals and more to suite your requirements. Contact Central Kitchen Caterers today for your catering requirements.