Restaurant Wedding Catering Basics
How to Cater a Wedding
A wedding is one of the most important events of a person’s life. Catering a wedding is no casual affair. It demands attention to detail and timing, as well as clear communication with not just the bride and groom, but other vendors, such as the DJ and photographer. Before you accept any wedding catering jobs, it’s important to know everything involved.
To ensure that your restaurant can handle this type of event, you need to decide exactly what services you will provide as the event caterer. These services can include providing any combination of food, beverages, and cake. It may also include what equipment and other supplies you need to buy or rent and the cost for your services.
Creating a Wedding Catering Menu
Gone are the days of strict etiquette surrounding how to host a wedding reception. Today’s modern bride is as likely to want a completely unique wedding menu, like a series of tasting stations, as she is a traditional sit-down meal. Of course, as the caterer, your menu needs to have some parameters. You can’t offer everything on your dining room menu as part of your catering menu since a lot of dishes won’t hold up for the long periods that catered food sometimes requires. Your wedding catering menu can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it.
When it comes to pricing a catered wedding menu, do your homework. Find out what other local caterers and restaurants are charging for catered events. Also, check out your local grocery store and find out how much they are charging for party platters and meals.
To ensure that everyone is happy at the end of the day (or the wedding reception) a contract spells out exactly what your restaurant will provide for services, from food to clean up. Your prices need to cover the cost of catering, including transportation costs. Some restaurants do this by incorporating costs into their prices, others cover costs by adding certain fees.
Common services you can include—or charge extra for—include restaurant catering. Serving these large parties at your restaurant takes a lot more time than a typical meal in the restaurant dining room. As part of catering a reception, you may also opt to charge one or more of the following fees:
- Room fee
- Linen charges
- Cake cutting fee
- Clean up fee
- Dance floor fee
- Bartender fee
Catering Equipment and Supplies
A very important aspect of catering for a wedding to consider is transportation. If you are starting out with smaller events, you may be able to get by with using a personal vehicle. But if you are hosting a large, formal wedding reception off-premise, you will need a large vehicle, as well as specific equipment for keeping food warm or cold during transport.
Formal weddings require a great deal of equipment, like multiple glasses, flatware, and plates for individual place settings. Since you obviously don’t want to leave your restaurant bare of dishes, you may have to rent or buy supplies specifically for catering. Before you decide to buy several hundred extra water glasses and other supplies, try catering a couple of weddings or other large, formal events, to make sure it is a service you want to pursue.
It may be more profitable to rent items like tables and chairs, linens or dishes than investing in them. For example, that 300 person wedding mentioned above? If you aren’t likely to do a lot of 300 person events in the near future, would it be worth it to buy all the catering equipment for it, or would it be easier and cheaper to rent the extra equipment?