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Catering Help

I have met with two of the most popular caterers in town.  I have received estimates from both.  My question is - how accurate are they?  One seems to be very thorough - and of course, on the higher side.  The other is very similiar, not as thorough though.  I'm worried with the lower one, that we will get some "surprise" charges at the end.  Has anybody had any experiences like this? 

I appreciate any help.
Thank you.

Re: Catering Help

  • edited December 2011
    Remember, you might need to rent dinnerware (plates, cups, silverware...). How different are the prices?
  • edited December 2011
    I would just ask them the total charges. Make sure it includes gratuity and tell them that you are getting other quotes as well. Tell them if they had their wedding this weekend and you had this number of guests what would the entire invoice look like.

    What caterers are you looking at? Just curious as I don't know which ones are the best in town.


  • edited December 2011
    I would assume this to be Hap Abraham and Brandeis...

    Any who, ask them for specific costs: bar, bartenders, security, damage deposits, dishes, linens, cake cutting and corkage fees, so on.

    Anything that is missing from the less detailed price list- ask specifically for the pricing for that item.  I recommend doing this via email for the very reason of it is documented that the quote came from them.
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  • edited December 2011
    I don't know who you are working with so I can't speak directly to their estimates, but you should ask for specific breakdown of per-person food, and also be sure that any appetizers, fruit/cheese trays, coffee/tea service, and all other food items are included.  Here's another biggie: be sure all rental products are listed on your estimate.  Dishes, flatware, glassware, tables, linens, chairs, etc... all of this MAY be something that is paid through the caterer.  Be clear with them upfront.
    Lastly, get a solid estimate on labor. Some food items, like stations or passed appetizers, will require more people to staff them and therefore, increase the labor portion of your bill.
    Get an est of taxes, and find out if gratuities are included.

    If a caterer isn't willing to give this information to you upfront, then they must not want your business.  However, sometimes it can be difficult to give a solid estimate until you've made your food choices. Be fair and don't expect them to stick to the old budget if you change your mind and go for more expensive or more labor-intensive items.
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