When planning an event, be it a small corporate party or your “big day”, you have many choices to make.  We have compiled a list of 10 vital questions to ask before signing any contract with a caterer. These 10 questions will not only guarantee the best selection but also make even a novice event planner appear to be a pro.

Let this list be your guide through the decision-making process and send you on your way to the execution of a successful event.

1. Do you have a health department permit and liability insurance? A health department permit is crucial because it ensures the caterer is working out of an approved facility, and meets specified health and safety requirement. Liability insurance protects the client against mishaps. If you are serving alcohol at your event, make sure that the caterer has adequate liquor liability insurance.

2. How long has your company been in business? Make sure your caterer has a history of success. Have they won any awards that highlight their capabilities?

3. Can you share your client reviews with me? What better way to gauge the service level and food quality than from previous clients. Ask the caterer for reviews, but also do your own research—the internet is a great tool!

4. What venues do you cater at? If a caterer appears on multiple major venues’ preferred lists, you can assume this caterer has consistently done a great job.

5. Who will be my point-of-contact during the planning process and on the day of my event? The service provided during the planning process is crucial. You will want to make sure you’re working with someone who is responsive and knowledgeable. Be sure to also ask who will be in charge on the Wedding day to make sure every detail is perfect. Will it be an experienced banquet manager to coordinate meal service or an on-site coordinator who will run the entire event?

6. What is the experience level/training of the service staff and the uniform requirements? Does your caterer employ trained and experienced servers? The level of service provided by your caterer’s service staff will have a big impact on your guests’ experiences and enjoyment of the event.

7. Are you a “green” caterer? What environmentally-friendly practices do you have at your facility and on-site at events? As many of us are living more environmentally-friendly, we should expect this from our vendors as well. Will your caterer collect and recycle cans, bottles, and packaging materials? What other “green” services can they provide?

8. Will the meal be prepared on site or arrive at the venue already prepared? Believe it or not some caterers prep and cook your meal hours before the event, and then re-heat before serving to your guests. Make sure the food served at your wedding will be fresh and delicious.

9. How accommodating can the chef be for my guests’ special dietary needs? Professional chefs are generally able to accommodate special dietary needs. Find out if your caterer can accommodate these, and what the additional cost is.

10. What is the quality of ingredients used in the kitchen? Does your caterer use fresh vs. frozen and prepared foods? Flavorful foods are ones made with fresh, high-quality ingredients and prepared on-site at your event.

Test us with these questions when you book your appointment, and we’re sure you’ll see why we’re Arizona’s top caterer.