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Find a full service caterer near Los Angeles, CA

Find a full service caterer near Los Angeles, CA

32 near you

Find a full service caterer near Los Angeles, CA

32 near you

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Top 10 Full Service Caterers near Los Angeles, CA

Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How do you find a good caterer?

Reviews, interviews and menu tastings will help you find the right catering choice for your big day. Start by screening possible wedding caterers based on past reviews. If a caterer you are interested in has a review that concerns you, ask them about it; how they respond will be very telling. Next, ask about their availability for your wedding date.

If the wedding caterer is available on your date, it’s time to talk about menus and prices. Be clear about what your maximum budget is find out what choices this will allow you. Caterers may custom-create a menu for your event, or they may have menu templates within different price ranges that can guide your decision. A clear budget gives the caterer clear parameters within which to work and offer creative suggestions. Schedule a menu tasting to confirm you love your wedding menu. Once you have a menu and date, and have paid a deposit to reserve the caterer’s services, confirm additional details including when the food will be delivered to the site, what kind of service will be provided, how many servers will be onsite and for how long, and who is responsible for setup and cleanup. The more specific your contract, the fewer worries you’ll have on your wedding day. Get more smart hiring tips here.

Do you tip a wedding caterer?

Tipping 15 percent to 20 percent on a $3,000 catering bill can feel daunting — especially in light of all the other costs of throwing a wedding — but tipping your wedding caterer is standard practice. Be sure to ask your caterer about their specific policies. Many catering companies include gratuity as a line item on their bill. If tipping is not automatically included in your total, a good approach is to tip all the people involved the day of the event rather than paying one lump sum to the catering company. For each server and bartender, you can tip $20-$50, depending on how long they were onsite and whether they did exceptional work. You can also tip the chef; experts suggest $50. It’s also a good idea to tip the catering manager, the point-of-contact person who keeps the catering service running smoothly the day of your wedding, ensures all the food looks beautiful and is plentiful, and resolves any mishaps. Industry pros recommend tipping the catering manager $100-$200. If gratuity is not included and you’re tipping individuals, set aside $200-$500 in cash to be safe.

How do you serve food at a wedding?

Food service at your wedding will affect your catering costs and influence the atmosphere of the reception. Buffet style is more informal; plated meals are a bit fancier; family style encourages sharing. Read about the different food service styles to select your preferred wedding catering choice.

  • Buffet: Caterers can drop off prepared foods for a DIY and budget-friendly buffet option where you set everything up and food is entirely self-service. For a fuller-service buffet, the caterers set up food, oversee the buffet throughout the event, and clean up afterwards. For food only, prices per person might average $16-$18, while a service buffet may start around $20-$22 per person. Adding food stations can increase per-person costs by at least $3-$5.
  • Family style: Servers bring large platters of food to guest tables in courses. It’s less formal (and less expensive) than a plated meal, but more formal and higher-cost than a buffet. You’ll need large tables to accommodate the platters, so plan accordingly when renting furniture for the event.
  • Plated: A plated event is a formal dining experience; waitstaff serve your seated guests for each course, fill their drinks, and attend to them throughout the dinner. A plated dinner is typically the most expensive option for both food and service.
  • Food trucks: Similar to buffets, with food trucks your guests get their own food and bring it to their table. A food truck gives a relaxed and playful vibe to your reception.
  • Cocktail reception: If you don’t want a formal seated dinner, you can opt for a wide assortment of passed appetizers at an extended cocktail hour reception.

What should you look for in a caterer?

A delicious meal is a critical element of a successful wedding, with happy guests fondly remembering your fabulous wedding food. The right caterer for you will be:

  • Available: Even the best caterer is no good if they aren’t available on your wedding date. Ask early before you get your heart set on someone.
  • Affordable for you: Find a caterer that you can afford. Having a spending plan ahead of time will mean you won’t overspend on food.
  • A good personality fit: Wedding planning is stressful, so work with someone that you can get along with and communicate with easily.
  • Experienced and recommended: Ensure the company has a proven track record with events of your size and the references to back it up.
  • Transparent about money: Steer clear of shady pricing. Find a caterer who is very clear about costs and is happy to talk you through budgets and pricing options.
  • Transparent about food: Find someone who is clear about where they source their food from and where it is prepared.

How much should catering cost for a wedding?

The cost of wedding catering will reflect the level of service, the menu you choose, the luxury you desire and the number of guests you invite. Where you live also plays a major role in your wedding catering costs. The regional cost to do business and local cost of food will affect your catering bill. There is no set price for wedding catering, because each wedding and each menu is different. This is why many caterers provide a per-person price. This allows you to break down what it costs to feed each person based on the menu you want. Working with your caterer, you can adjust menu items, service level and more to accommodate your budget and guest count. Keep in mind that wedding catering costs are not just for the food. The bill reflects all the components that go into commercial food catering: a commercial kitchen, ingredients, staff, insurance, marketing and more. Here are some examples of average costs:

  • Three-course plated meal, moderately upscale, for 125 in Los Angeles: $14,000. Because of staffing costs, a true plated meal costs about twice as much as a staff-assisted buffet.
  • Buffet meal, standard menu, for 100 in Los Angeles: $5,000.
  • Per-person cost for hors d'oeuvres, dinner and nonalcoholic beverages: $24–$37, depending on menu selection, in Southern California.
  • Drop off prepared food for 50: $1,000 in North Carolina. Price does not include any service, setup or breakdown.

How much does it cost to hire a caterer?

Catering prices depend mainly on how fancy you want the food and service to be and how many guests you’ll have. When you’re first looking to hire a caterer for your event, consider how many guests you’ll have and your total food and drink budget. The national average for event catering is $340, but catering prices can range into the thousands depending on your menu, guest count, and service.

Event catering is a broad term that covers everything from fully prepared, ready-to-eat food that the hosts plate and serve themselves to full-service, multicourse meals, including rental of linens, glassware and other items, with service staff organized by the catering company. Usually a caterer will determine cost based on the type of event you’re having, how many guests will attend, the level of service you desire, and what type of menu you’d like to have. For example, if you have a set catering budget, say $1,500, and you plan to have 50 people attend, that means you have $30 per person for food. If you have the same budget with 100 people, you have $15 per person for food. In this way, the number of people you want to attend your event and the level of food you want to serve them determines how much catering will cost.

How much does wedding catering cost per person?

Wedding catering costs will always vary based on the number of guests you’re inviting, the menu you want to serve, and the way the food will be served to your guests. As you interview wedding catering companies, you’ll be presented with a cost per person for various menus. On the low end, wedding catering may cost approximately $15-$18 per person. This would include prepared food only, with no setup or service of any kind. The starting price for a simple buffet meal with minimal service typically averages $22 per person. Opting for the same menu with all organic ingredients could raise your costs to about $33 per person. A moderately upscale menu (finer ingredients, more elaborate presentation) could range from $24 to $34 per person. High-end wedding catering cost truly has no limit. Lobster, filet mignon, specialty seafood, organic ingredients — menu choices like these can boost your cost per person up to $150 and more.

How much should catering cost per person?

Catering prices can range from about $10 per guest on the low end to $150 or more per person on the high end. Catering costs represent the quality of food, presentation, variety, ingredients and service. But catering prices are more than the cost to cook the food that will be at your party; they also include the cost for the company to do business. Here is a simple breakdown of catering prices:

  • Menu: The food you serve your guests will directly affect the price per person. Organic ingredients, complex recipes, elaborate presentations, or high-ticket items like lobster or filet mignon all add to the cost.
  • Service: Buffet, family style, plated dinners — how you serve the food affects the cost per person. For example, a true plated meal can cost about twice the price of a staff-assisted buffet because of staffing costs. Hiring waiters, bartenders and cleanup crew will all be calculated into the per-person catering price.
  • Drinks: Providing beverages and alcoholic drinks for guests greatly increases your catering budget. Hosting an open bar can cost as much per person as the meal.
  • Rentals: Seating, plates, glassware, etc., will all have an effect on the cost per person for catering. For example, a plastic conference table that seats 10 costs about $6 to rent on average, while a wooden farmhouse table is about $80 to rent on average.
  • Business costs: Any catering cost will also include the cost for the company to do business such as insurance, employee wages, commercial kitchen space and more.
Reviews for Los Angeles full service caterers
Thumbtack Customer
Faisal provided full-service catering for my organization's group which included more than 100 people. The event went perfectly and there was nothing overlooked in the set-ups or the food. Faisal provided a large assortment of hors d'ouevres and added a signature beverage and desserts. All the attendees were impressed by the quality and taste of the food. If you would like a dependable catering experience personalized specifically for your event, I would highly recommend Clubhouse Cuisine.
FSLA CateringFSLA Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Such a great team! Our publication was hosting a small private dinner for some of our VIP guest at a private location without a full functioning kitchen. The catering team arrived early (good thing we had trouble with venue loading docks) it was such a complicated venue we were working with but Chef and his team were amazing. They took care of everything and were prepared for all the "what if's" The food was so delicious, guest raved about everything. They worked miracles for us, the taste, the decor, the service was completely 5 star quality. Can't wait to work with them again! ?? Thank you Lil Lily's Kitchen you guys Rocked!!!
Little Lily's KitchenLittle Lily's Kitchen
Thumbtack Customer
I came across Little Lilys during an exhaustive online search for wedding catering companies in Los Angeles. Food and booze were the 2 main tasks I was entrusted with for my wedding, so I was excited to see what my options were in a food city as diverse as LA. Unfortunately that changed quickly as all of the catering companies I contacted replied generically with similar looking PDF pamphlets, that contained similar sounding menu options and similarly high 'prices per person.' I was immediately put off by these initial options and was starting to get nervous that this was all that's out there. Then Kevin - the owner of Little Lily's - reached out to me directly and we set up a phone call. Over the phone, I could immediately tell the guy loves to cook and takes his food seriously. I've been to a lot of weddings and am usually underwhelmed by the catering, so it was a huge plus that Kevin shared the opinion that a wedding menu doesn't need to be a predictable, boring buffet line. Kevin's genius idea was to create 3 fully-plated dish options for dinner service, pairing a main ingredient with side dishes that create a cohesive culinary experience…meaning none of our guests would end up standing in line for the same 3 side dishes with their choice of the rubbery chicken, mushy fish or dried out steak as a protein. After that first phone call, Kevin and his wife Kari came up with a list of options for the tray passed appetizers and plated meals using foods we said we like, places we've traveled, etc as reference. Everything they suggested sounded delicious but we were able to narrow down our favorites to 4 or 5 apps and 3 plated dinner options. The next step was the tasting where Kevin and Kari came to our house and cooked everything on the list for us to sample! We sat at the table like rich people, eating delicious food and drinking wine while they prepared all of the dishes, took notes on our likes/dislikes and then cleaned the whole place up when done cooking. It was a great/unexpected wedding planning experience and really solidified the direction we wanted to go with the menu. Fast forward to the big day…our wedding venue did not have a full traditional kitchen for Kevin and team to use so they rented an outdoor kitchen and cooked everything right there in the parking lot. As promised, everything they made that day was as good or better than what we ate in my home kitchen at the tasting. I can't even quantify the number of compliments we recieved on the food and impeccable service of the bar & wait staff (which Little Lilys also provided.) The entire group was super friendly and very accommodating to anyone with additional food or drink requests throughout the night. And they also provided an entirely separate special meal option for the 6 or 7 vegans at the reception at no additional cost! In fact, through everything we threw at them leading up to the wedding day, they never once tried to up-charge us and stuck to our original (modest) budget. One last thing - I'm sure you've noticed by now that I haven't included any photos or references to specific menu items in this review. One of the best parts of the entire wedding process for me was working with Kevin and Kari to come up with food options that had some significance to our wedding and our guests. In collaborating Little Lilly's, I feel that we created something personal and hope you will get the same satisfaction out of choosing your own menu top to bottom…that's the real value in working with Little Lily's. I've never written a review for anything in my life, but I just wanted to share this great experience in hopes of making at least one part of your wedding planning experience more fun and stress free. Trust me, book these guys while you still can!
Little Lily's KitchenLittle Lily's Kitchen
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