Finding the Best Banquet Catering
When you’re looking for the best way to feed a crowd, you’ve got lots of options at your disposal, even before you land on hiring a catering company. If that’s the direction you’re choosing, then you’re going to need the best catering in O’Fallon, MO, for your event. Here, we’re going to focus on banquet catering and all the different considerations you need to keep in mind as you select the perfect vendor for your occasion.
We’ve got questions you need to ask yourself in order to narrow down your search first. Then, we’ve got questions you should ask any caterers you’re considering. Making sure your guests have a great time and are thrilled with the food options available to them is a big part of making any event a success. So, if you feel intimidated by trying to make sure everyone has a good time, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.
What kind of event are you hosting?
A luncheon is going to have a different set of requirements than a wedding reception, for example. Tailor your search to what you need. This also goes for the formality of the event, the kind of service you’re expecting, and the kind of food you want to have served.
Part of this is the approximate size of the event. A gathering with a hundred people is going to have a vastly different set of needs to one that’s only a few dozen guests. It’s usually not practical to get an exact headcount before you start contacting your options for catering in O’Fallon, Missouri, but having a rough idea of how many mouths you’ll need to feed is always a good place to start.
Budget is a huge consideration for any event, and the banquet catering is likely going to be one of the largest expenses. Finding budget-friendly catering in O’Fallon, MO, that doesn’t scrimp could be a bit of a tall order.
Trying to decide between all-inclusive options and ones where you’d have to provide some things yourself or employ other vendors to supplement can come down to the budget a lot of the time. You might be able to save some money by providing your own decorations, for example. If you go that route, think about what you might be compromising on if you’re not going the all-inclusive route.
Drop-Off or Full-Service?
Some options for catering in O’Fallon, MO, will have the caterer bring food to your event and then dip. Others will include staff that will not only deliver the food but also serve it. And, of course, if you’re going with the in-house catering at your venue of choice, there’s no delivery involved at all.
Think about which option would be the best fit for your purposes. For smaller or less formal banquets, a drop-off solution could be a great cost saving measure that fits the event well. For more extravagant occasions, though, service is likely expected. It might be possible to hire servers through an avenue other than the catering company, if that’s something you're interested in, but it’ll be an expectation at most banquets.
This consideration is related to the different types of meals you can offer your guests, which we’ll go over in the next section.
Types of Banquet Catering
Banquet catering is the centerpiece of a lot of events, but it can look very different depending on the party’s style. Take a look at some of these various kinds of meals that a banquet might offer, and decide which one best suits your group and your needs.
This type of banquet catering is the most formal. It’s a good fit for fancy gala evenings and other high-class events. Your guests will remain seated as their meals are brought to them. They might have a few different options of entrees to choose from.
A plated dinner makes it easy for guests when it’s time to eat. Whether you’re looking for catering in O’Fallon, Missouri, or anywhere else, you’ll likely find a plethora of plated dinner options. However, it also tends to be the most pricey option for banquet catering. The other options we’ve listed tend to be less formal and more attainable for some.
Lots of folks prefer a buffet-style dinner to a plated one. It tends to be a little more budget-friendly (but not always, depending on what you want to serve). Buffets are also great fits for slightly less formal occasions. Everyone gets to choose what they’d like from the overall selections, and they can customize their plates accordingly.
However, waiting in line to fill your plate can get tedious for some guests, which is why some of the other banquet catering options can be appealing alternatives.
It’s true that typically a banquet means a seated dinner situation, but that mold can definitely be broken if it doesn’t suit you and your group. If you don’t have enough seating space or prefer a less stuffy way of marking the occasion, a cocktail hour type of service with hors d'oeuvres could be the perfect complement to your event.
This is another seated banquet catering option. However, it’s still quite a bit less formal than the other ones we’ve listed so far. The dishes are set on each table, and guests make their own plates.
For a family reunion or other informal event, this could be a great fit and bring a homey feel to your choice for catering in O’Fallon, MO. It’s a more unique choice that could set your occasion apart from the rest. However, many people still prefer the more traditional service styles, especially for banquet catering.
Questions for Banquet Catering
You’re going to want to get a lot of information about the nature of the catering services before you book and sign a contract. In order to do that, you’ll need to ask the options you’re looking into a lot of questions. We’ve compiled some of the most essential ones in the following sections, but do keep any concerns specific to your event in mind, too.
Can I attend a tasting?
The quality of the food is a top concern for anybody looking for catering in O’Fallon, MO. It’s always a good idea to sample your potential menu before you commit to it. There might be a fee associated with tastings, but it’s usually worth it to make sure you’re going to like the food served at your event.
It can be a red flag if a caterer refuses to let you try their food before signing the contract. We’ll talk about some other steps you can take to vet the catering company in the following sections, but you don’t have to go through all of that if you simply do not like the food. So, this one comes first because it’s an obvious deal breaker if it doesn’t go well.
Schedule a tasting with multiple vendors and make notes of your first impressions. That could be the biggest deciding factor.
How familiar are you with this venue?
If you’re not choosing an event space that has its own in-house catering services, then you’re going to want to feel confident that the caterer you choose can work well with the venue. It can give you a lot of peace of mind to know that your preferred venue and your chosen caterer have a standing working relationship. That way, they’re more familiar with the area available to them and all the behind-the-scenes workings of that particular place.
You’ll likely have fewer headaches on the day of if the venue and the caterer are working in harmony. If they’re based farther out and aren’t familiar with catering in O’Fallon, Missouri, then you might run into some issues. It’s a great idea to keep your vendors as local as possible so that they’re well aware of the area. So, looking specifically for catering in O’Fallon, MO, as opposed to the broader St. Louis area could be a good place to start if that’s where your event is happening.
Of course, none of this is applicable if you’ve chosen a venue that includes catering. You won’t have to worry about any transportation or delivery hiccups, and you’ll know that the staff is all on the same page.
How much experience do you have?
Now, this isn’t to say that the only good banquet catering comes from companies that have been in business for decades. Some upstarts can give you fresh, fun, and professional experiences. However, you want to feel confident that your chosen caterer knows what they’re doing. Make sure the chef has the appropriate experience and training.
Another part of making sure your preferred catering company is professional is asking about their certifications and insurance. They should have up-to-date food health and safety certifications as well as liability insurance. Catering in O’Fallon, Missouri, should be every bit as safe and professional as anywhere else.
Being cagey about any of these things might be a sign that you should go with a different provider.
What’s included in the price?
Most banquet catering pricing is determined through a set cost per person. However, that doesn’t always include extra services that might be agreed upon for your event. Always ask what is included in the per person cost and what will be tacked on separately at the end. That way, you’ll be able to more accurately compare the prices between different options for catering in O’Fallon, Missouri, when you’re trying to make your decision.
How flexible are you?
Some things are set in stone, but others are malleable. If you’re dying to have a certain item on the menu for your event, ask upfront if the vendor you’re considering would be willing and able to accommodate your specific request.
If your banquet is themed, for example, you might want food options that reflect that. Which of your options for catering in O’Fallon, Missouri, will allow for that theme? And if not, is that going to make or break your event? A flexible caterer is going to help you bring your vision to life.
Can I talk to any references?
It’s always a good idea to check out online reviews for catering in O’Fallon, MO, before you book any appointments or sign any contracts, but you can also go a step further. Ratings and reviews on industry sites can give you a general feel for what to expect, but it’s not like they’re vetted before they’re posted.
Speaking directly with someone who has experience with the caterer you’re considering is the best way to get a first-hand account. You’ll have an opportunity to get your questions answered. Or, if you can’t speak to references, you can ask the caterer to describe their experience working an event similar to yours. You won’t get the outside input that references can provide, but you can still get a general idea of how the company might approach your event.
Hire the best banquet catering for your next event.
When you’re trying to decide on catering in O’Fallon, MO, take all of the factors we’ve discussed here into account. Add on any specific needs that you or your guests have, and you should have a pretty accurate formula for choosing the perfect banquet catering provider for your event.
If you’re looking for catering in O’Fallon, Missouri, then you should start by checking out our offerings here at Trigg Banquet Center. We have a wide variety of options for banquet catering, whether you’re hosting your event here in our newly renovated space in historic downtown O’Fallon or you’ve got a different venue lined up. We can deliver some of our great food
You can take a look at our menu to get an idea of what our banquet catering options are like. Keep in mind while you’re looking at it that we can often make customizations based on your needs and desires. We want to help you create a banquet catering experience that you and your guests will be raving about for a long time to come!