There’s a reason why the annual rate of food catering services has grown roughly 4.6% in the past five years. These companies make the life of the event planner much easier while providing everyone with great food.
While caterers are usually associated with celebration events like weddings, the reality is that the one-day food service should be considered for a variety of functions.
However, it’s also important to remember that some events are best done without a caterer.
So how do you know if you need one for your event?
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you should think about before you decide to hire a catering company. Let’s get started!
Five Things You Should Consider Before Hiring a Caterer for Your Event
If you’re confused about whether or not you need a caterer for your event, then we recommend asking yourself these five questions. They’ll help you determine what kind of event you want and how to go about planning.
1) Can Your Budget Allow It?
First thing’s first: money. After spending money on the essentials, like location, it’s time to ask yourself whether you can afford a catering service.
Many people think that it’s cheaper to make the food on their own, but most of the time catering is more affordable. Because catering companies buy their ingredients whole, the more affordable options cost around $1.50 – $5 per person.
However, this price can quickly begin to add up for large events or more expensive services. These more pricey options can cost between $7 to $45 per person. If you can’t afford to cater, even at a reduced price, then don’t panic.
Consider turning the event into a potluck where everyone brings their dish. This plan provides food for everyone and makes sure that you aren’t stuck with the responsibility of cooking for everyone.
2) How Many Guests Are Coming to the Event?
The number of guests you invite will likely determine your food situation. Smaller events can get by with home-cooked meals or potlucks, but once a lot of people show up the logistics can get complicated.
Larger crowds means higher amounts of dietary restrictions, allergies, and personal pickiness. You don’t want someone to stay hungry during the entire event just because they’re vegetarian.
If your guests aren’t fed properly, then they won’t have a good time and may leave early. You can prevent this by trying to get a preliminary headcount on how many people will show up.
We would recommend hiring a caterer if you plan on having over twenty-five people at your event. Anything over this number will likely be very difficult to organize by yourself.
3) What Kind of Event Is It?
As we mentioned earlier, catering services often get tied together with weddings. While this is an important sector of the industry, there are a variety of events that they work for.
If the purpose of the event is to have guests mingle and build personal relationships, then you shouldn’t require them to make or bring their food.
Ask yourself what type of event are you planning? A trade show? A corporate event? A fundraiser?
The right catering setup fits any of these categories. It allows your attendees to mingle and break the ice over a meal before moving on to the other activities. Certain celebratory or networking events may also require bar services.
These additions can get pricey, but they can help your attendees relax and get to know each other. We also highly recommend catering services for high school proms. The food allows the guests time to eat and enjoy themselves between dancing.
If you want a guide for planning the perfect prom event, make sure to check out our suggestions here.
4) Do You Have the Time to Make a Lot of Food for People?
If you decide that you want to make your food for the event, then you also need to make sure you have enough time to prepare it for everyone.
Cooking times depend on the type of recipe you’re making and the number of people helping you in the kitchen. However, it helps to do some estimating to determine if you’ll have all the time you need.
Small meals can take one to three hours to make, so imagine the effort that goes into large-scale cooking. You also need to consider how you will transport the food. Will you make all the recipes on-site at the event?
Or transport everything and reheat it once it’s there? If you don’t think you can make all of the food in time, then we highly recommend hiring a caterer to relieve some of the planning stress.
5) How Busy Is the Planning Process?
If the only thing you need to worry about is finding a location and feeding everyone, then you may not need a caterer. However, larger events that involve invitations, activity planning, and many more responsibilities will likely need one.
If you have a million little things to do and people to call, then the last thing you need is to be hunched over a stove. Delegating the meal responsibilities to a caterer can help free up some of your valuable time during the event planning process.
We recommend simplifying your planning process by following an organized event checklist like this one here.
Need a Space to Host Your Next Catering Event? Look No Further Than the Midlothian Conference Center
We hope this article helped you decide if you need a caterer at your next event. Regardless of whether you make your food, or hire someone to bring it, you will still need a space to host everyone.
If you’re looking for locations, then make sure to consider the Midlothian Conference Center. Our onsite hotel and conference rooms can provide our catering services, or you can bring in an outside party.
We also help with everything from parking to set-up and take down. If you’re curious about our location, then you can visit our website to see things like pricing and available facilities. Schedule your visit by visiting this link here.