Is making use of a restaurant to do your catering different than using a private caterer?
Many restaurants advertise that they do event catering as part of their overall service offering. But, in most cases, what they actually offer falls short of what a true catering company can, and does, provide as part of their services.
So while it may appear that there is a cost-saving element, before you decide to buy the food for your event from a restaurant, you should ask yourself a few questions to get a true comparison.
What will you get from a restaurant that caters?
The first question should be “What will the food be that we will get”. Usually, the restaurant prepares everything at their premises, then packs the food up for transport. Some offer delivery, but the chances are good that you will have to go and collect from them. And in most cases, that is how far their offering goes. Once you have the food at the venue, you will have to set up the dishing station, providing your own equipment, serving ware, linen, etc. If you do not have enough cutlery and crockery, you will have to source that yourself, as well as arrange waiting staff should that be needed.
And afterward? You will have to clean up, take care of any leftovers, and ensure all the goods you had to hire is returned.
What will you get from a catering company?
A caterer may provide you with the same dishes as quoted by the restaurant, but there will be marked differences. For one, as far as possible, the caterers will prepare the food onsite, guaranteeing freshness. You will not have to travel to get the food, nor worry if the food will be delivered on time. They will bring everything to your venue, including the equipment needed to serve the food. They will set up the serving stations, bringing in staff as needed.
Should you require cutlery, crockery, linen, and in some cases even décor, they will be able to bring all of that in.
Once the event is done, they will clean and pack up, take care of any leftovers, and leave the kitchen and venue as clean as what they got it. For you, the client, this is truly a no-effort deal.
So how do you compare restaurant catering to a catering company?
Once you have received your menu prices from both providers, with (hopefully) line items listing exactly what is included and what is not, make a list of what you will need to provide in each case in order to make the event run smoothly. This includes serving ware, eating ware, staff, transport, as well as setting up, breaking down, and cleaning afterward.
For each item that you must provide yourself, estimate a rough cost in rands as well as the time required. Add these costs to the quotes received from the service providers to come to a rough final cost.
You can then compare apples to apples. How much do the final costs differ? How much time and effort will you have to put in one compared to the other? Now you are able to make a true comparison, and in most cases, you will find that making use of a professional catering company works out much less than what you thought compared to simply buying the food from a restaurant.
If you do not believe us, allow us to quote for your next special event, and then you do the comparison 😉