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 caterer (food, food and beverage, food and beverage and cake, etc….) what equipment and other supplies you need to buy or rent and the cost for your services.
Even if your restaurant already offers restaurant catering, wedding typically require a lot more time and resources than the average function, especially if it’s off premise.
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 period time that catered food sometimes requires. wedding catering menu can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it. Read more about catering menu basics.
When it comes to pricing a catered wedding menu, do your homework. Find out what other local caterers and restaurants who cater 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.
The Wedding Catering Contract
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.
Common services you can include or charge extra for include Restaurant catering, especially for larger parties, takes a lot more time than a typical meal in the restaurant dining room. 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.
As part of catering a reception, you may opt to charge one or more of the following fees:
- Room fee
- Cake cutting fee
- Clean up fee
- Dance floor fee
- Bartender fee
Wedding Catering Equipment and Supplies
An very important aspect of catering 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 chair, 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? Check this list of catering equipment, to see what you have and what you need.