Here’s how Robert and I kept track of the information while talking to different caterers — we used Google Drive for our spreadsheets so we could easily share them. It helped us narrow down our options at a glance.
- Devote the far left column to the name of the caterers and the top row to your criteria.
- We discovered that some caterers had really delicious-sounding appetizers but boring entree options, or inspired dessert choices but uninspired sides, and so on. So we broke down some of the columns across the top row into these categories: Entree, Vegetables, Appetizers and Desserts. We then rated how those options sounded to us in each category. You can give each category a letter or a number grade. We were looking for something with solid marks across the board.
- We included an “interactive” column, which was a simple yes or no for us. The caterers that were yeses were automatically front-runners. If you have a preferred service style, I recommend you dedicate a column to that.
- Then came the columns on cost, where I listed the projected cost of each proposal. The next column indicated what food items were included in that cost — some proposals included drinks; some had four appetizers, while others had three, etc. The next column listed additional items included in the cost, such as wait staff, serving ware, gratuity, etc. This reminded me that the comparisons under “cost” weren’t exactly apples to apples.
- The final column was devoted to notes — this is for anything extra I thought was worth remembering. Sometimes it included questions I had about the proposal, whether I found a caterer pleasant or difficult, etc.
After we went through this process, we narrowed our contenders down to four, which led us to our final catering decision. Of note: I employed a similar strategy for our photographer hunt, using these criteria in my search.
Please share any methods you used for your caterer search, and start your hunt for a caterer here!
Photo by madprimePin It