Since we launched Joshua Charles Catering, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t with client communication, staff organization, kitchen planning and logistical management of events. We should probably write a book…but who has time?? Here are our 3 best tips however for anyone hiring a caterer to ensure that you fully maximize that relationship and your mutual investment in your event:
1. GET TO KNOW YOUR CATERER
We hear a lot from our client’s about their past histories working with caterers, big and small. Their experiences have given us at Joshua Charles Catering, great insights into the importance of really understanding a client’s needs and expectations long before the event at hand. So tip #1 when working with a caterer, get to know them well, and well in advance of your big event.
It is sometimes hard to get directly in touch with a caterer due to their busy schedules. Is the caterer prompt in returning your call? When you do reach them, make sure you speak with the owner, not just lower level assistants. Have a conversation about the specifics of your event and your likes and dislikes. Evaluate if you have a good rapport with them, if they ask good questions, if they take the time to listen to your requirements and what followup action items and next steps they outline.
At Joshua Charles Catering we place a great deal of priority on answering phone calls promptly so that we can maximize the one-on-one time we spend with our clients and get to know their needs, personalities, past experiences and unique preferences. Josh Feinbloom, our owner personally answers all client calls. We know this matters to our clients because they continue to point this out in their reviews of us.
2. RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH!
Deciding which Bay Area caterer to use for your wedding, private party or corporate event is an important one. A good caterer can make an event. A bad one can result in disappointed guests and an unhappy host. So tip #2: research your caterer thoroughly.
Network around with your friends and colleagues. . It’s always a good idea to try to find a catering referral from someone who’s opinion you trust and who has had a personal experience (or even better, several) with a caterer. Working with a referral will allow you to relax as you begin the party planning process, letting your caterer do what they are supposed to, take care of you! Finally, be sure to check reviews on the caterer’s website and on YELP and other social media sites for recent client tips about the quality of food, customer/wait staff service, the communication and organizational skills of your caterer and their guests’ reactions.
At Joshua Charles Catering, the vast majority of our clients are friends of friends of friends. We get a LOT of referrals which is why we take great pains to maintain good relationships with all of our clients.
3. BE OPEN TO NEW IDEAS
Catering has changed a lot in the past 20 years. You may have hosted a wedding or a large catered event years ago, but today, corporate events, weddings and private parties are now much more sophisticated experiences incorporating new formats such as supper clubs, seasonal themes, farm to table organic and other menu styles and creative tasting menus. Plated and buffet dinners are of course still part of the scenery but now unique event formats in unexpected venus incorporate even more elements which call for especially innovative menus. So tip #3: Be open to new ideas from your caterer.
A really good caterer will carefully listen to your ideas for your event, your budget and basic requirements but he or she should then provide you with several creative ways of adding some creative features into your event. A new cocktail, innovative décor, a special themed appetizer or how your dinner is served…let your caterer really show their stuff and give you some ideas for taking your event to an entirely new level.
At Joshua Charles Catering, we love collaborating and co-creating with our clients. It’s the part of catering which frankly, we love the most. And we can’t wait to get started with our upcoming slate of 2015 events!