Leah Seale, our Event Producer, wanted to take some time to outline common catering myths and explain some of the attributes that make Vibrant Occasions a little different than most. There are quite a few aspects of what we do that make us stand out, and I want to make sure you know where to turn when you’re looking to make your celebration, whatever kind it may be, perfect for you!
Catering Myth #1:
YOUR BILL IS 90% FOOD
Food is a very important part of your catering budget, however, a caterer’s bill may include many other components depending on certain goods and services you choose. Labor charges can be a significant expense and will often be listed separately. Labor amounts can depend on the number of guests, the style of service you choose (plated meal, passed hors d’oeuvres, self-service buffet, etc), your menu selection as well as the duration of the event. Another aspect of labor that your caterer may be responsible for would be the bartending. They may be providing the complete alcoholic beverage service with glassware, ice and napkins as well.
Caterers can often be responsible for the tabletops, too. They can handle the china, stainless and glassware you require, along with many other rentals from tables, chairs, dance floors and tents.
If you are not working with an event planner, it’s even possible for your caterer to handle the details such as floral centerpieces, decor and props, too!
Don’t hesitate to discuss details with your caterer. They should be able to walk you through this process and make sure every little detail is taken of.
Catering Myth #2:
CATERERS ALWAYS SERVE “RUBBER” CHICKEN
Let’s be honest. A lot of people have a preconceived notion of what a caterer’s chicken is going to be. We all have had those frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu dishes at banquets, and that gives us all a bad wrap! You can always taste a difference in a chicken entree that is made from scratch by a professional chef, and one “prepared” by folks simply opening a frozen product. You want to be confident that your caterer is preparing the food for your event just for you, and the quality of the food itself is top-notch.
It’s ok to ask your caterers about how they prepare your food. You should be confident that the quality is going to match the vision you have for your event.
Catering Myth #3:
HORS D’OEUVRES ARE ALWAYS CHEAPER THAN A MEAL
“We have a tight budget, so we’ll just stick to hors d’oeuvres for the meal.” We hear this often. Trust us when we say that caterers understand budgets and the limit that they can put on your event. Something that a lot of catering clients assume is that a buffet meal is always going to be more expensive, but they neglect to consider certain factors that can change the cost. A lot of the hors d’oeuvres require more preparation and labor time than menu items on a buffet. If you do choose to go with all appetizers, you do have to provide a wide variety of options and fillers. The time of day, size of plates and the amount of alcohol being served are all factors to consider as well.
Your caterer should be able to look at the details of your specific event and help you decide what are the best menu options to satisfy your guests while maintaining your budget.
Catering Myth #4:
SET UP TIME ONLY TAKES AN HOUR
This statement is very rarely true for most events. Remember, your celebration is uniquely you. Your caterer should be able to estimate the time needed, but it shouldn’t be compared to any other event. Many factors go into the preparation and setup time, including unloading equipment, checking the tables and chairs, setting tables, distributing our supplies to the proper places, prep and finalize menu items, etc.
The caterers want to be as prepared as possible to tackle any last minute issues that may arise during your event, and proper set up time assures that they can handle any curveball thrown their way.
Catering Myth #5:
PRICING IS ALWAYS COMPARED TO A MEAL AT A RESTAURANT
When you go out to dinner, do you stop to think about the little details like the stemware, table linens and place settings? Experienced caterers essentially are bringing a restaurant to you. They tote around a restaurants worth of equipment to mostly bare venues that often have many logistical challenges. Most caterers will have to prepare, or at least finish food on site, so that requires extra equipment, too. While catering isn’t always as inexpensive as going to a restaurant, you are able to enjoy delicious, handcrafted food while enjoying a unique setting for your celebration. You get to decide what you want, and the caterers just make it happen!
Vibrant Occasions would love to be a part of planning your next celebration. We hope these myths helped you understand what to expect when using a caterer. Never hesitate to ask questions and make sure you’re getting exactly what you expect.