Planning a business or corporate event can be a real struggle. There’s an immense amount of pressure to make sure the day flows as smoothly as possible, and impresses your business guests too. Whilst you might have some experience with keynote speakers and audio-visual installations, there’s a good chance that you’re slightly lacking when it comes to catering knowledge.

Here’s some top tips to think about when the time arrives to choose the right catering company for the event:

Taste The Options On Offer

By making a personal visit to the caterer, you’ll be able to speak with the chef and taste the food that’s going to be served. If this isn’t an option, you could try to accompany the catering team to another of their events. That way you’ll be able to taste the menu, and observe how they work.

Check The References And Testimonials

All ways ask for a list of happy customers. Don’t stop there either: Make sure you call them up and quiz them on how they thought the event turned out.

Ask For Photos Of Past Events

A decent caterer should have a brochure of photos that show some of the styles they offer for their dining set ups. It’s important that the decor and themes match what you have in mind for your own event.

Make Sure The Infrastructure Can Cope

If you’re expecting a large amount of guests, make sure the caterer (and the venue) have the resources to cope. Large groups of guests will require extra space for food and drink storage, and in addition, you may need to think about mobile fridge and freezer hire, such as the services offered by to cope with the large volume of drinks required.

Visit The Catering Company Personally

Just like tasting the food, a visit to the cater’s office will allow you to see how they operate. Check the neatness of the building and the professionalism of the staff. There’s a good chance here to weed out any disorganised companies.

Pay Very Close Attention To The Proposal

You should be sent a thorough, detailed, multi page proposal in a timely manner. If you don’t receive one, think twice about using the company. They might fall short on the day.

Always Read The Small Print

Service charges and tipping, guest numbers changing, special equipment and staff changes. All these things should be covered in the small print. Make sure you don’t get caught out on price.

Ask The Venue For Their Opinion

Some venues have a list of caterers with a proven track record at that location. This might be the simplest option for your event. You’ll be somewhat guaranteed a decent job if the venue highly recommend a caterer.

Make Sure You Have Special Requirements Covered

What’s going to happen if the speeches run late? How about guests that are from different religious backgrounds or suffer from a gluten intolerance? You must think through all these eventualities and find a company that’s flexible and efficient.

Find Out Who’s In Charge On The Day

The person you met in the office isn’t likely to be the team leader on the event day. Find out who’s in charge and stick to a single point of contact.

Planning a business event is already a stressful process to manage. At least with these ten tips, you should be able to make the catering side run as smoothly as possible. Good Luck!

Wendy Lin is a writer and entrepreneur. She is an American businesswoman living in the UK with her young, but large family.