Barnett on Washington has developed a partnership with eight highly reputable caterers in the St. Louis area. They are very familiar with our facilities and policies which makes for a seamless and carefree event for our clients. We enlisted the advice of our catering experts to give you a few tips on securing your caterer and cultivating a great working relationship!
- Set up a time to pre-interview each representative. It is ok to ask how much experience they have at the venue you are considering, the style of service you are considering, as well as overall experience in the industry. You should be able to get at least general pricing if they don’t publish pricing with menus on line. Qualified caterers should welcome answering the question as to why they would be the best choice for your particular wedding reception catering, if you can give them enough information to qualify a response. This interview process is best to be done by phone or in person versus e-mail only. E-mail is a great place to start, but doesn’t replace the interaction that you will want to start for such an important decision. – Kathy Costello, Russo’s Catering
- Give some thought to the style(s) of service that most interest you. Are you looking for very formal? Casual? Something in between? Examples to consider would be a dinner buffet, food stations, fully plated & served (seated) meal, family style service (which is also seated but a more casual approach), or perhaps heavy hors d’oeuvres. Combinations are also possible, for example, a family style salad service for the first course, combined with a buffet. Most caterers have some set menus with pricing that will help you get an idea of the range they offer, but don’t hesitate to ask if you are thinking about something you don’t see on the menus. – Kathy Costello, Russo’s Catering
- Ask what options they offer for sampling their food. Some will offer only private tastings, others will offer both group sampling events and private tastings. Expect to pay a minimal amount for a tasting, but sometimes fees can be reduced or waived if you confirm soon after having a tasting. Consider who should attend a tasting…you and your fiancé, of course, and parents if they are involved in decisions and/or finances. Tastings are not really intended for the entire wedding party or extended family, and often make it more difficult for you to focus. If you are working with a bridal consultant or assistant, inviting them to a tasting might be helpful also, even if they aren’t sampling with you. – Kathy Costello, Russo’s Catering
- Find out what kind of specialty items the caterer is able to provide. Will they be providing china, glassware, linens, additional décor, etc. Most caterers offer more than just the food service, so don’t hesitate to ask what other services may be bundled in with your package. – Elisa Sandoval, Butler’s Pantry
- Keep your caterer informed…even if it doesn’t seem directly related, changes or updates to your plans can impact their services. Examples would be in the schedule of the event, guests with special dietary needs or requests (including children needing special kid’s meals), set up plans, changes in décor that could impact buffet or food station elements. – Kathy Costello, Russo’s Catering
When you book your next party with Barnett on Washington, no matter which of our caterers you select, you can always expect the highest level of service!