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Catering Companies Dish: The 5 Questions to Ask Your Potential Party Venue

Catering Venue Questions

A while back, we covered the essential questions you should ask catering companies before ultimately deciding on a hospitality vendor, but what about those occasions for which you need to go with a third-party venue? Deciding where to hold your event can have a huge impact on everything from budget to the overall vibe of your corporate gala or anniversary shindig. How can you pick the place that’s the perfect fit for your needs? It all starts with these five queries.

What’s Included?

Hidden fees are the worst. Unfortunately, too many unscrupulous companies try to nickel and dime customers by tacking on everything from handling fees to extra charges for cleaning glassware and staffing the coat closet. Those surprises can add up quickly, so ask the venue for a itemized estimate as part of your quote. You should be able to see, line by line, exactly what you’re paying for. Considering any optional add-ons? Get those prices in writing, too, even if you’re not sure you’ll actually end up with that extra ice sculpture or want to extend the reception by an hour.

What Spaces Will We Have Access To?

You don’t want to show up the day of the party only to find that parking has been roped off or that your guests are restricted to one out-of-the-way bathroom. Double-check which rooms are included in your rental, and ask about spare spaces if you need them. Have kids coming? A room stocked with games and a babysitter could save a lot of headaches (and likely a few trays full of fancy glassware, too).

What Catering Companies Have You Worked With?

The best off-site catering companies can adapt to a wide variety of settings, but it’s always nice when a venue and caterer have a preexisting relationship. There’s an inherent comfort level there, and the catering company will already be familiar with important details like the kitchen layout, where to load in and load out, and any unusual quirks or vendor specifications the venue operators may have in place. It saves you from being a go-between and can help pave the way for a smooth event.

What Amenities Will We Be Able to Use?

Is there a kitchen? Fridge and freezer access? How about a loading dock? Valets? A/V equipment and extra lighting? Tables, chairs, and linens? Some venues consider themselves to be “all-inclusive” and stock a huge array of extras, while others are as bare bones as it gets. The items a venue has on hand can drastically impact your bottom line, so knowing what you’ll have to source elsewhere will benefit you big time. Note, too, that it might be worth paying more for a venue with tons of on-site goodies rather than coordinating multiple deliveries from third parties.

Who’s Going to Be There the Day of the Event?

It’s kind of shocking how often we hear stories of clients who show up before their event only to find locked gates, empty offices and rooms that are in anything but party condition. Then there are the phone calls that go unanswered and the “room attendants” who have no access to A/V closets and no way to get hold of the site’s owners or managers. Make sure your contract includes a point person with authority who will be there when it really matters.

Planning a party? Consider venues and catering companies with the same kind of scrutiny you gave your guest list. More questions? Contact the experts at Saint Germain Catering. Parties are what we do, and we’d love to help!

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