How to Save on Catering
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Seeking catering from restaurants can increase the likelihood of having a successful event. Caterers can handle everything from meal preparation to clean up, so you can focus on having fun and creating memories. Catering doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can cut costs by following these tips:

Find a Venue That Allows Outside Catering 

If you don’t have a venue yet, find one that allows you to bring your own catering. Some venues are flexible when it comes to outside catering, but others aren’t. In-house catering services can be more expensive than outside catering. If you must choose a venue that’s strict with catering, try negotiating for a catering price that matches your budget.

Limit Your Guest List 

Many caterers charge by the head, or the number of guests at your event. To limit your catering costs, go over your guest list and eliminate any extra people who don’t need to be at your event. For example, you can remove acquaintances, distant family members, or old friends you haven’t kept in touch with. Another way to downsize your guest list is to limit the number of people your guests can bring with them to your event.

Choose Seasonal Foods 

While planning a menu for of off-season foods to impress your guests may be tempting, doing so can be expensive as the ingredients must be flown in from other locations. To cut costs, choose foods that are grown locally and in season in your area. For example, opt for a citrus salad instead of a peach salad if you’re hosting your event in the winter. In-season foods are also likely to taste better as they will likely be fresh.

Limit Your Appetizers 

Appetizers are a great addition to your menu. They can keep your guests semi-satisfied until you serve the main course, but too many appetizer choices can rack up your catering bill. You can save money by serving only a few appetizers and serving them in a buffet style. This will allow guests to serve themselves, eliminating the need to hire servers to pass the appetizers around.

Choose a Buffet

While a multi-course, plated meal can be classy, it can also be expensive because it requires serving staff. Instead of a plated dinner, opt for a buffet to eliminate the need for additional labor. A buffet also allows guests more freedom to choose flavors and portion sizes that fit their preferences, so you can minimize waste.

Moderate Your Bar 

Drinks can be just as expensive as food. To trim bar costs, consider providing guests with the options of a few beers, wines, and signature cocktails instead of a fully stocked bar. If you want to use a fully stocked bar for your event, consider running a cash bar for the most expensive drinks. You can also save money by limiting your bar’s operating hours. Consider closing the bar during food service and reopening it when it’s time for socializing and dancing. This way, you can give your guests a memorable experience without going over budget.

Discuss Your Budget With Your Caterer 

Being upfront with your caterer about your budget can save you money. A reliable caterer should recommend food choices and services that fit your budget. If you don’t have a budget, discuss the number of guests you’re expecting and the types of foods they enjoy. The caterer can then help you come up with a menu that fits within a reasonable budget. Shop around for caterers until you find one that fits your budget and menu goals. Take time to understand your potential caterer’s packages to avoid additional or unexpected expenses.

Is Seeking Catering From Restaurants Worth It?

There’s no doubt that working with a caterer is better than trying to handle the food preparation, serving, and cleanup by yourself. Caterers can reduce food-related stress for event organizers, allowing you to focus on other responsibilities related to your event. Catering from restaurants doesn’t have to be expensive to make a great impression on your guests. You can serve a great meal and save money by searching for budget-friendly caterers, minimizing your guest list, and limiting your bar menu. Also consider choosing local, in-season foods, and opting for a buffet instead of plated meals.