Basically, caterer’s are the food service people. If you are booking your prom in a hotel, the probability is that the hotel has a catering service already, which they will probably require you to use. However, booking an independent caterer can save you money and probably get higher quality provisions.
Asking the school administrators which caterer’s the school used in the past is a good place to start when booking a caterer. You can find local caterers in your phone book or on the Internet. Always interview the caterer prior to finalizing your booking. Ask for a list of references and call the people on the list for an idea of the quality of service you will receive on prom night.
Look at the Caterers menu’s and make sure the caterers have a vegetarian, vegan, and a kosher alternative. When looking at the options for the food, you will need to determine how many courses you are going to have. Are you going to have a cocktail hour where appetizers will be served? Don’t be afraid to ask questions while interviewing different caterers. Discuss the options of sit-down multi-course dinners and buffets. Ask about the different dessert choices. Never hire a caterer before tasting the food yourself. Remember, if you don’t like the food, no body else will. A caterer may show you photographs of the food presentation, but the taste is what is most important.
While interviewing the caterer, get a contact number. You will need to keep in constant touch with whoever you choose to cater your event, so be prepared to turn your caterer into your best friend.
Give the caterer an estimated head count and ask what services are guaranteed. There may be costs in addition to the food, such as rentals and staffing. Make sure the caterer is insured and their cooking facility is legal. Ask to see their certificates and proof of insurance. If possible, tour the facility in which the food is cooked. Have an adult with you to go over the contracts. Contracts are always a sticky matter, especially when it comes to hiring a caterer. Hidden costs can send the price of a caterer out of your reach. Some caterers will charge an extra dollar per head for coffee service, for example. Make sure you carefully read the fine print. Ask about cancellation fees.
Don’t be afraid to comparison shop caterers. Tasting the food and perusing the contracts are part of the fun! Book your caterer early. If the caterer you choose isn’t available on the night of your prom, you will have to come up with a second option.