In any event, food is often the main attraction. The dishes that you serve can either make or break your event. You usually have two options regarding food preparation. For a simple sit-down dinner, you can choose to personally cook the food that you're going to serve. But for special events, like a wedding perhaps, these occasions often require the help of experienced caterers. Instead of worrying about whether or not the desserts are ready, you can focus your attention on the decorations, your guests, and yourself.

catered shrimp

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Choosing a caterer can be confusing because there are many companies that offer catering services, and all of them claim to be either good or the best in the field. So, which one are you going to select? Below are some issues that will hopefully help you in making better choices.

1. Budget

You need to work around your budget. It's no use going for an excellent catering company if you can't afford it. Although you have to allot a large portion of your budget on food, you should avoid going over the planned amount because you do not want to incur a large debt just because you want scrumptious food for your event. There are other caterers out there that you'll be able to afford.

Once you have chosen a particular caterer, ask for a quotation, which will depend on several factors, such as - the number of guests to be served; if there will be waiters or servers; and the sort of dishes that you prefer. If the price is too much, you can ask the caterer for suggestions about where you can cut back. But you have to remember that if a caterer drastically drops the price, then the quality of your food will probably suffer.

2. Certifications, Reputation and Word of Mouth

Choose a catering company that is recommended by people you know. A company that has a good name or that other people highly recommend is a good option. If you have attended an event and you were bowled over by the food, you can also get the name of the catering service. Moreover, don't forget to check if the caterer has certifications from the local health department. Companies that specialize in food service need to possess certain licenses that ensure that they are following state laws or regulations regarding food preparation. Through local government offices, you can also find out if the caterer that you've chosen has encountered problems about consumer complaints, failure to meet inspection requirements, and other issues.

3. The Specialty

What type of cuisine do you want served? For instance, if you are planning a Japanese-themed party, then choose a caterer who specializes in Japanese food. Don't forget to schedule a food tasting as well. Then, ask about what sort of events the caterer regularly handles. Can the company manage a posh event for 300 hundred people or is the caterer more at ease with small intimate occasions?

4. Contracts or Agreements

Be sure to sign a contract once everything is in order. Even though your caterer is your close friend, always have a written agreement itemizing what's expected of the service provider and the consumer. Contracts are legally binding and such documents will protect you in case the caterer fails to show up or neglects to satisfy the duties that are stated in the papers.

About the author: Claire Kendall is a freelancer, and her articles have been used by and other websites that specialize in food and beverages. Kendall regularly blogs about cuisine, entertainment, and special occasions.