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January 17, 2017

11 Questions Every Couple Should Ask Their Caterer

By Adam

By: Kathleen Doeller

The Sales Consultants at Culinary Concepts derived the following questions, based on the most frequently asked questions by couples, and the information that they provide on a regular basis  while consulting a newly engaged couple.

  • 1. Do you have packages, or do you customize your menus?
    This is important because most couples like options and have their favorite foods. Customized menus can be a little more expensive but in the long run more creative and “your” own.
  • 2. What is included in your proposal and pricing?
    You’ll want to know this to have all the info upfront. Tax, tip, gratuity are always items couples forget to plan for and can bite them if they don’t know up front. Also it allows you to get a more realistic “apple to apple” comparison when looking at different vendors.
  • 3. Do you own all of your own equipment: kitchen equipment, china, flatware, glassware, linen?
    Sometimes this can make a difference in pricing especially with linens when rentals are part of the package it may seem a little higher but also consider the caterer knows what is needed for equipment.
  • 4. How can we ensure that what we experience at our tasting with you, will be the same quality for a large group at our wedding?
    This is hard to get a straight answer on, but caterer coordinators generally will take notes of what you really liked and items that you may have wanted altered.
  • 5. Do You prepare and cook your menu items “on-site”?
    Often a combination of hot boxes and grilling and prep on location yields the best culinary experience.
  • 6. What is the best way to calculate a gratuity for the staff that cooks for us and serves us?
    It never hurts to ask for assistance on this one from your coordinator or catering manager themselves.
  • 7. How far out from our wedding date should we sign a contract with the caterer?
    We have seen a year or more or a week and the events have been a success. It is all about communicating clearly.  General rule of thumb this is an important part so plan as far ahead as possible.
  • 8. Do you have a liquor license? How do you handle bar services and what are the various fees?
    Great question with many acceptable answers.
  • 9. What other services does your company offer, such as napkin folding, coordinating rental items, coordinating with the venue, etc?
    Every company will vary, be clear if their are any additional fees.
  • 10. Do you have special pricing for Vendor Meals and Children’s Meals?
    Most should be able to show their flexibility.
  • 11. What is the criteria for hiring a Day of Coordinator? When should we consider one?
    At SDSW we always feel like a coordinator is a big plus. Release some of the stress let one that knows weddings take on any issues. It is good to see if there are certain coordinators that they may also work with often.


Kathleen Doeller is a 35 year hospitality industry veteran, with 30 years in Special Event and Catering experience. Kathleen and her team are trend setters in the culinary world and is consistently designing new entertaining concepts. Kathleen’s favorite food is “spicy and crispy” and loves, loves, loves fresh fruit. Her passion is helping others feel good. She divides her time between her career and a philanthropic project of Parkinson’s awareness and research fundraising.