How to Choose a Caterer

Appetizers on a black plate at Five Tables Cafe

Whether you’re looking to feed a small party or making plans for a wedding or other big day, your caterer’s ability to delight guests can make or break your function. With so much riding on your menu, it can be daunting to select a food provider, especially if you don’t know how to choose a caterer.

While every catering service is unique and has strengths to bring to your event, identifying one that will work well for you requires legwork. Evaluate your choice of caterers by weighing these four major concerns.

The Basics

It should go without saying that before you make a decision, you check to make sure your caterer is licensed – and check with the health department to make sure it doesn’t have a string of violations or bad records. Additionally, a professional catering service carries its own insurance, so check to see they’re covered for your event.

If everything checks out on the paperwork end, request a list of references. All caterers should be able to supply you with contact information for past customers.


Catering an event is much different than operating a restaurant, and a good caterer is able to respond to your needs. Use your initial meetings with a caterer as a yardstick to measure how responsive it is to your needs. If it returns your calls and emails promptly and addresses your concerns, it’s a good sign the business is equipped to deal with your evolving needs.

Menu Flexibility

Most quality caterers are diligent about keeping up with the latest food trends and adapting their menu to fit them, so a menu that seems like a leftover from a bygone dining era can be a bad sign. More importantly, look for flexibility in menus for your event. Catering is a custom experience, and your caterer should be able to handle minor changes to their menu.

Availability for Tastings

A caterer that can’t meet your request to provide tastings for items is likely one that won’t be able to accommodate you well in the future. Look for a caterer who not only lets you sample their wares as well as one who lets you taste the menu items you’re most interested in.

After you learn how to choose a caterer, Five Tables Café is ready to cater your event, whether it’s on-site at desk chair™ workspace or in your location. Call us at 970.632.2355 for more information or to schedule a tasting.

Back to Blog