Starting a Wedding Planning Business – Choosing Caterers

 

When I was new to the wedding planning business, I was eager to build my network of caterers. I often had members of networking groups I belonged to tell me about wonderful caterers they knew. I never recommend or use at an event anyone who I haven’t spoken to or tried myself so I made arrangements to meet with three different caterers.

I met the first one over lunch at a restaurant. We chatted and he showed me photographs of some of the food he had done for an event. Mixed in with the photos of food were ones of he and his friends preparing the food, with his cats in the background. Eek! Food that is served needs to be made in a commercial kitchen or on-site. As he was talking he also told me he was operating “under the radar”. He didn’t have a business license or a business banking account because of the costs involved.

The second one had a formal education at a culinary academy and spoke extensively about the types of menus she could prepare. Then she proceeded to tell me a little about herself and how she had been thrown out of some of the bars in the area and had even been banned from one of them. I wondered how she would present herself if I introduced her to clients and decided I didn’t want to find out.

The third caterer was actually preparing dinner for a corporate holiday party when I met him at the home of a member of my networking group. I was surprised that he was not using a commercial kitchen and that there was a dog in the house. Not only that, his girlfriend was helping him roll out some pastry for appetizers while holding and speaking on her cell phone – no concerns about cleanliness. I heard later that this caterer had also offered to provide wine for the event. There are strict laws about selling liquor; you cannot do it without a liquor license, which this caterer did not have.

My advice is to do your homework whenever you need to hire caterers or any vendors to work with you on your events. I have since found some great caterers who are professional, reliable and make fabulous food, I’m sure you will too.



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