Let’s face it, event planning is a stressful job. You are in charge for ensuring your guests, team members or family and friends are wowed not only by the music, ambiance or flow of events, but more so the food, and this adds a lot of pressure.
While you can control what the DJ plays or the time your office goes for lunch, it is very hard to control what a caterer will dish out.
Will they be on time? Will the food be hot? Will you get exactly what you ordered? Will the portions be enough?
These are all valid questions that need to answered and without having any track record to fall back on, it is almost impossible to ease your anxiety until the day comes and goes without a hitch.
Luckily, in our digitally charged environment, no one is immune to the ever opinionated world of online reviews where previous customers relay their experiences whether positive or negative. This is where you as the customer and a prospective client hold the power, as the reviews say it all.
Here we give you some of the most important elements to look out for and why they are necessary to make your drop-off catering experience a smooth one.
1. Taste & Flavor
There is no going around this, if the food is GREAT, this will be one of the first things expressed in every genuine review.
Think about the times you had an amazing meal at a restaurant and left a review, what did you talk about? Sure, the decor, the service, and the location, but most likely you mentioned the tastes and flavors as these are the main attraction of a quality gastronomic experience.
Always pay attention to keywords like “awesome,” “delicious,” “amazing,” “mouthwatering,” “succulent,” and “flavorful.” Your guests will thank you and be asking for the caterer’s contact info on the spot (speaking from experience ;).
2. Flexible Menu Options
Lean is not a bad thing, but too lean can be a sore point when you are looking catering for a diverse guest list.
We’re sure you have vegans on your list, vegetarians, carnivores, sensitivity to gluten, soy, nuts and so much more. It is important for your caterer to understand this and cater to these needs.
It is not the best experience for your vegan friends to not have as many options on the table as your meat-loving guests. This only leads to a negative perception of your event planning capabilities.
Always pay attention to the reviews and see what dishes customers are raving about. Also, check the website’s menu to ensure they cater to varying dietary needs and restrictions.
No one loves service that is never efficient and on time, and catering is no different. If your prospective caterer is always late, trust us, you will see it in the reviews in big, bold letters.
The food could be as tasty as Gordon Ramsay’s beef Wellington, if the delivery was terribly late, you can throw any chance of a good review out the window.
On the other hand, it must be understood that things happen. Contending with city traffic in a place like LA can be a pain and accidents or other occurrences cannot be predicted, so if your caterer calls at least 30 minutes in advance to warn you they might be a few minutes behind, it is fair to exercise leniency.
However, if they are disgustingly late
4. Delivery Personnel
You could have all the stars aligned and find the perfect caterer who checks all the three boxes mentioned above, however, great service goes beyond all that.
When your drop-off catering arrives at your office, home or event location you are greeted not by the food, but firstly the delivery personnel.
It is important for delivery team members to be courteous, well dressed, clean, knowledgeable, helpful and efficient. This will definitely stand out in most reviews as people appreciate good service and a welcoming personality.
In tandem with the professionalism of delivery personnel, set-up is an important element that cannot be overlooked.
Ensuring the correct layout and order of dishes is essential to the flow of service and how your guests will coordinate their plates. The line should be started with the hot offerings and end with the cold and if you want the lids removed so your guests can get right to eating, this should be done by your caterer’s delivery personnel too.
You would be surprised to know how many caterers forget food labels (we hear this from customers all the time) and many are actually surprised when we take out our labels to complement each dish.
Always pay keen attention to reviews as setup and attention to detail will be mentioned somewhere along the line. Most people appreciate quality service.
Organizing your company’s lunch, a birthday party for a family member or your big wedding can be a hassle, but ensuring you get a professional drop-off caterer makes everything ten times easier and helps you focus on what matters most, the occasion.
Pro tip: Reviews are your best friend!