12.12.2009 quote No Comments

Catering Quote Guide

While speaking with a potential client today I got a little curious and asked how many other companies they had talked to while requesting a catering quote for a San Diego personal chef. I expect people to do their due diligence and contact a few different companies, this works out best for everyone. The caterer finds someone that is the right fit for their service and the customer should be able to find a long term solution that addresses each of their needs. The issue that i faced with this customer is that they were not able to share many of the details of their event since they were hired to plan it for another person and had not already gone through this process with their boss. I had given them a list of questions that are important to know in order for any caterer to provide an accurate catering quote.


Does your catering event require proscuitto or kielbasa? Your caterer needs to know.

Does your catering event require proscuitto or kielbasa? Your caterer needs to know.

I thought I would share this with the world so that caterers have a reference when providing a quote and so that anyone in san diego that is looking for a caterer can be prepared with the pertinent info. This guide should also be used to verify that a caterer has enough information to give you the right quote. If you are not asked these questions, you may not be receiving an accurate quote and may not be dealing with an experienced caterer. Convivial Catering uses these questions to provide catering quotes to san diegan’s everyday.

1. Ask the customer “Please tell me about your event.”

This open ended question allows a client to explain the overall purpose of the event and the general environment that they intend to create for their guests. It allows the caterer to then ask more targeted questions and sometimes reveals an important aspect of the event that may not come up in a standard quote form.

2. What can you tell me about the catering location.

It is important to make sure right away that the event will be in an region that the caterer is able to service. For a list of areas that Convivial catering services check our list of San Diego Catering locations. This will also allow the caterer to ask additional targeted questions regarding additional equipment that may be necessary for them to bring.  Expect to have information ready concerning cooking facilities if the food is to be prepared on site.  If it is outdoors with a buffet style the caterer may need to provide protection from the elements such as a canopy or tarp.  This can also give the caterer some great ideas on what may catering service will best serve the client and allow a creative menu to be proposed.  This will be vital information to get an accurate catering quote.

3.  What type of menu are you looking to have provided?

This question will be addressed as every clients taste is unique and every event calls for a different style of cuisine.  First, consider the type of food to be served. Would you like to serve appetizers? If so, what did you have in mind?  pigs in blanket and seared ahi poke are going to end up with different estimates on time requirements and food costs.  Second, consider the style of food you are looking to have served, once again if it is spaghetti and meatballs for the VFW it will be a less expensive quote than Foie Gras at a wedding.  Use international indicators such as italian food or french cuisine to help describe in depth what you are looking for if you do not have specific food reuests.

4. How many guests are expected at the event?

This will be the most important factor to provide accurate information about if you are looking to get a correct catering quote.  Caterer’s will establish a cost per head and then use the number of guests that you provide to estimate the cost of your catered event.  In San diego we find that many times the estimated number of guests can grow after word of mouth spreads.  Don’t be afraid to over estimate and look for a conservative quote.  You can always go back and let the caterer know that the number of guests is lower.  If the caterer has 48 hours they can make adjustments and you as the client will not come out over budget for your Wedding, Event or private party.

5. What type of additional services would you like provided?

Caterers should be prepared with a trained serving staff, additional chef’s and have access to additional event services.  In most cases the caterer will need to assess additional overhead and may be able to find ways to save you money or provide a more fitting service with this information.

The thing to remember when getting a catering quote is to be open, honest and as accurate as possible.  This will make sure that your events estimate will be accurate and with more information a caterer has the ability to be more in tune with the type of catering service will be best while staying within your budget requirements and exceeding your expectations.  By the way that is always our goal.  To contact a qualified representative and get a quote for your catered event you can fill out our catering quote form.

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