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Find a party caterer near Los Angeles, CA

Find a party caterer near Los Angeles, CA

29 near you

Find a party caterer near Los Angeles, CA

29 near you

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Top 10 Party Caterers near Los Angeles, CA

Party Caterers Cost Guide

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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 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.

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.

Reviews for Los Angeles party caterers
Thumbtack Customer
So Divine Catering catered my Christmas party for my family. Chef Alexis was professional and attentive. The staff was respectful and friendly. The food was AMAZING! (Stuffed mushrooms and sliders-- so good!!) a wonderful experience had by all. I will definitely be hiring So Divine catering for future events.
So Divine CateringSo Divine Catering
Tanya J.
So grateful that Sweet Tea Pies Cakes & Catering, catered our engagement party. The food, service and menu were excellent. And, those pies were out of this world! Looking forward to using them again for my next celebration.
Sweet Tea Pies Cakes & CateringSweet Tea Pies Cakes & Catering
Thumbtack Customer
I hired Posh events to cater a dinner party for 40 guests. The food was amazing, and looked amazing. Richard is fabulous! Him and his team help me set up and took care of EVERYTHING. I highly recommend posh events for your catering. I will definitely work with Richard again.
Posh Events LA by Entertainment CateringPosh Events LA by Entertainment Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Marcel and his staff came through with a delicious and well planned menu for a last minute holiday office party. He made the catering aspect easy to handle and was a true professional. I would highly recommend him for your next event!
Married To Food CateringMarried To Food Catering
David W.
Mama's Mediterranean is the best. We used them to cater our engagement party. Food was amazing, we loved it. Not to mention Rita - the shining star who organized it all. I felt like we had our very own wedding planner included for free.
Mamas Mediterranean FoodMamas Mediterranean Food
Joanne C.
Very disappointed, I had exchanged numerous messages informing her that I was interested in her catering service for a birthday party and Thanksgiving dinner prior to November 20th as indicated by her and she booked the date I requested and is not completing my Thanksgiving order. Not trustworthy!
Personal TouchPersonal Touch
Deborah F.
Marcel and his staff catered a Birthday Party for a friend of mine and the evening was just great! From the wonderful hors d'oeuvres to his fabulous staff, everything went smoothly and beautifully. Service was just perfect and the food was delicious!! I will definitely use Marcel again...he did not disappoint! Thank you, Marcel!!!!!! Deborah Fabricant Design
Married To Food CateringMarried To Food Catering
Monica N.
Having found La Panzano on Thumbtack, I was a little hesitant to hire since I had never worked with them before. Joseph was extremely accommodating and responsive. He provided a tasting and was able to work with our dietary restrictions. La Panzano catered our office Holiday Party and our 125 staff were all very happy. The food was great! The servers were very friendly and moved the line along quickly. I would highly recommend La Panzano as a caterer and looked forward to having another event soon in order to have some of their other food!
La Panzano Gourmet CateringLa Panzano Gourmet Catering
Celeste L.
Chef Adam catered a dinner for my bachelorette party of 15. I appreciated his prompt communication and timeliness, submitting payments was easy, and most memorable was our delicious meal! Our food was delivered hot, fresh and enjoyed by every one of us and we even had leftovers, yum. I would happily work with him again!!
Dinner is Served by Chef ACDinner is Served by Chef AC
Summer G.
I last minute decided to host a birthday dinner party and was in need of a caterer asap. After submitting my hopeful requirements and details for my party, Steven reached out to me immediately and was the only message I received that had personalization within the text. He truly was reaching out to ME vs copy and pasting his business portfolio. We had a call immediately and within 1-2 days had the menu selection squared away. I gave him very simple directions - 'I love Mediterranean food'... he came back with a Croatian Michelin star restaurant inspired menu with hints of Morocco. He was super communicative and informative on each dish and my party needs. The food was delivered right on time in serving dishes with serving utensils and everything was absolutely beautiful, clean and quick. The two employees that delivered the dishes were also extremely sweet and efficient. Steven normally does larger events, from what I've seen on his website, but my get together was only 20 people and he made it feel so special and easy. So, big or small event, Steven Segar is definitely the catering route you should go.
SEGAR LASEGAR LA
Thumbtack Customer
I cannot recommend this catering service highly enough. I hired Chef James to cater my casual outdoor engagement party in West LA. From our first contact until the day of my event, Chef James was extremely polite and communicative. He listened to exactly what I wanted, which was a buffet taco bar, and delivered to exceed my expectations. The meat was all very fresh, perfectly cooked and seasoned. He also set up a quesadilla station, and had a delicious fruit platter that was fresh and perfectly ripe. He included 2 servers and a busser in addition to his own service, so clean up after the event was very easy. I can talk about how kind and calm and in control of the situation he was, but most importantly the FOOD. He had steak, chicken, ammmazing rice and beans(like wow perfect and homemade) and all the fixins. People were coming up to me raving about the dinner, and going back for seconds. I am already eyeing him to come back for a work luncheon I am hosting in July. If you want your event to go off perfectly, hire Chef James. A true pro.
Onedia's Cuisine and Event PlanningOnedia's Cuisine and Event Planning
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