1. Determine a budget. This will help the caterer choose an appropriate menu.
2. Select your date. Many times if you choose a Sunday or Weekday, caterers will give you a Discounted rate.
3. Determine your number of guests. Decide if friends and extended family will be included in the invitation.
4. Choose a location. Your caterer may be able to help you and even reserve the park for you!
5. Decide on a Menu: Barbecue, Theme, Set Down Plated, Buffet, Appetizers, Beverages, Bar Service etc.
6. Decide if you need rentals such as seating, tents, portable restrooms, trash dumpsters, lighting etc. The right caterer should be able to get these things for you.
7. Do you need entertainment such as games, clowns, inflatables etc.? The right caterer should be able to get these things for you.
8. Call for quotes. Be sure to have all of your information ready including phone numbers, addresses, e-mail etc.
9. When you call, ask the caterer for a copy of their catering (not business) license and liquor license if they have one.
10. Request a copy of the caterers liability insurance to ask sure all of your guests are covered at the event. Also ask for a copy of the employers insurance to insure their staff is covered so you would not be held liable.
11. Ask the caterer if their staff is uniformed. Do they carry health cards?
12. If you are having a barbecue, find out if the meat is served from pans or hot off the grill.
13. Are buffet lines set with shade, linen, skirting, florals etc. Are all disposables included?
14. Ask the caterer if they set up and clean up. Most parks will retain your deposit if the parks are not cleaned entirely.
15. Be sure to ask the caterer where they are cooking. Ask if you can come see their facility and find out where it is!
16. Would the caterer be willing to come meet with you and your committee to answer questions?
17. Find out terms of payment and type of payment accepted.
18. If you retain their services, will the caterer come out to the event location and do a "layout" with you.
19. Does each entertainment item (such as inflatable or concession) come with an attendant.
20. When reserving a park, be sure to find out about power and a water source.
21. Be sure to have a signed contract when retaining any services.
22. Check with the parks. Ask if they have had any problems with specific caterers.