When hiring a catering company in New York City, you want to make sure that you ask the right questions. This way, you get excellent service, and your expectations are clear.
Unfortunately, knowing exactly what to ask a caterer is challenging. Most people who use catering services aren't industry veterans and don't speak all of their languages.
This post is here to help. We run through some things you'll want to ask your NYC catering company to ensure a great experience.
How Do You Charge?
Caterers typically charge per guest. Prices can range from around $20 per person to over $150 per person. It truly depends on your menu and if you have any staff, rentals, or other items that could increase the cost.
Some catering companies also charge a service fee based on the combined food and beverage cost. Generally, this is around 20 percent, though, in New York, it can be higher to cover additional wage costs.
Catering services do not charge per hour. However, they may charge higher fees at peak times, such as on weekends or holidays.
Do You Have Minimums?
Caterers may insist on minimums before they provide service. Minimums can take the form of a minimum order value, the number of people, or some combination of both.
Caterers use minimums to maintain their margins. Preparing food for an event requires a significant upfront investment, and having minimums guarantee a healthy return, keeping the company in business.
What Kind of Menu Do You Offer?
Full-service NYC catering companies typically offer various cuisines and menus, including American, Italian, Latin, Japanese, and more. You'll want to know what cuisine you're interested in and what might be something everyone will eat and enjoy.
At Aqua e Grano, we prepare and serve hand-crafted artisanal pizzas from fresh, local, and organic ingredients. We take care of every catering aspect for you, including preparing our delicious pizza, providing dinnerware, and clearing up afterward.
Do You Have Staff?
While all catering companies will prepare food, they don't always supply staff to present and serve the food. Therefore, you'll need to ask if that's an option when you choose a caterer for your event. Some caterers can only prepare and deliver items to your site, while others can supply waitstaff, too, for weddings, corporate events, and other private functions.
This question is essential because unless you want to worry about heating up, serving, and cleaning at your event, having staff is critical!
How Do You Present Food?
New Yorkers are highly critical when it comes to food presentation. Therefore, you'll want to check how caterers present food before placing your order.
Some caterers present food in the same way as take-out joints in cartons, while others add a little theater. When choosing a caterer, ensure that their style matches your guest's expectations.
A great, honest way to see how a caterer serves their food at events is by looking at their Instagram.
Check out Aqua e Granos' Instagram page.
Can I Sample the Menu?
Before you take the plunge, ask to sample the caterer's menu. Consider whether their food is something that your guests will enjoy. Tasting helps you understand the caterer's quality and reduces the risk of mishaps later on.
Not all caterers will offer tastings, and some may charge a fee for a tasting. Charging a tasting fee is standard, so don't be bothered by this if that's the case.
How Do You Handle Dietary Requirements?
Given rates of veganism, vegetarianism, lactose intolerance, and glucose sensitivity in New York, most caterers offer special menus for dietary requirements.
If you know that you'll need special offerings within your menu, it's important to make sure that you alert the catering company in advance so they're aware and can prepare accordingly.
The Bottom Line
Before you hire any NYC catering company, make sure that you ask the right questions. Check that the company you choose can meet your needs. Ask them precisely how they charge, whether they have minimums and if they have any additional fees. Also, get them to tell you about their processes.
Here at Aqua e Grano, our catering is turn-key, meaning we do everything for you. But not all caterers are the same. Contact us to begin planning your event.