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Find a food service professional near Riverside, CA

Find a food service professional near Riverside, CA

35 near you

Find a food service professional near Riverside, CA

35 near you

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Top 10 Food Service Professionals near Riverside, 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.

How much does a personal chef cost?

Hiring a personal chef usually costs anywhere from $40-$100 or more per person. Request free cost estimates from personal chefs in your area so you’ll know exactly how much it will cost to hire one for your needs. For an accurate quote, be sure to let the chefs know the number of people they’ll need to feed, what you’d like on the menu and other relevant details. 

To learn more about the factors that impact the cost to hire a personal or private home chef, read our cost guide.

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.

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.

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 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 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.
Reviews for Riverside food service professionals
Seema W.
Amazing service. Great setup, great service and delicious food. Michel and his workers were efficient, kind and extremely professional. We had 110 people total and they were beyond impressed. I would recommend him 100%.
Gourmet Your Way Catering And Personal ChefGourmet Your Way Catering And Personal Chef
Leslee F.
They do what they say they will do, when they say they’ll do it. The food was DELICIOUS, they were on time, easy to work with, very professional and NICE! We will definitely use their services again!!
Chef MumsieChef Mumsie
Thumbtack Customer
The food was good and ready to serve at my requested start time. I would have preferred a call before my event to confirm the arrival time. Otherwise, great service!
Taquizas ''El Rey''Taquizas ''El Rey''
Barbara H.
Where do you begin when the service Kevin and his assistant Leo provided rivals that of a five star resturant? It was simply amazing! The meal Kevin prepared was beyond my expectations. All the guests commented on how well everything was presented and how delicious the food tasted. Hats off to the chef! I highly recommend Kevin and Heritage Catering & Culinary Service for your dinner party or company event!
Heritage Catering & Culinary ServicesHeritage Catering & Culinary Services
Thumbtack Customer
I hosted New Years dinner party and found Derek he was super professional and flexible. He worked with the budget I had and answer all my questions and concerns promptly. The food was beautifully displayed and served hot. The service was excellent his staff was friendly and professional. After working with other caterers Derek has been the best. He brought everything needed, was on time and we even had left overs. It was a pleasure working with him.
Derek Dickenson EventsDerek Dickenson Events
Vina O.
I am extremely satisfied with the catering service Mike had provided for my intimate, private backyard wedding. :) His uniformed staff were very professional & polite. I continued to receive many compliments from my guests regarding the the quality of the food as well and the service Mike's staff provided. They did not forget to ask us how we were doing and if we needed more water or anything else at our sweet heart table, and I appreciated that the most. :) They made sure that the kids had kid-enjoyable foods on their served plates. Their bar tender was a very good host at serving and accommodating the requests for drinks from my many guests. There was even a complimentary self-serve drink bar for coffee, iced tea, and lemonade for the non-alcohol drinkers. From our first taste-testing to the finale at the wedding, Mike always remained courteous and followed my seating arrangements and catering requests. Salad, entree, and dessert were all served in a timely fashion to all my guests and my husband and I. Thank you for being so patient and flexible with me Mike. Everything was delicious! I will continue to highly recommend you to all my friends and family. :)
Gourmet Your Way Catering And Personal ChefGourmet Your Way Catering And Personal Chef
Thumbtack Customer
My Husband hired Jessie to do a taco cart for our wedding this past Sunday in Riverside (8/7/16). Before our event he asked us to write a review on his services, but the funny thing was he didn't give us a link to review after our wedding was over because he knew he messed up BIG TIME. First, he is extremely unprofessional and is incompetent for large parties. He did not arrive at the agreed upon time and when he did arrive, our wedding ceremony was going on and he continued to call my husband multiple times to ask where to set up. Had he been there on time, he would have known. Instead, he repeatedly called during our vows and interrupted our ceremony when I'm confident he could hear it going on from where he was in the back since it was not very far away. For two, he was extremely rude to our guests and bad mouthed my husband and I because he failed to come prepared for our wedding of 150 people as per our contract (that we still have in case he tries to say he never worked for us. I wish I was able to attach it to this review). He brought what I assume would be his wife and his son because my husband told him that we can't have people waiting for food all night so he needed a staff of at least 3. Bringing them was a waste of time since they still took forever to serve (2 tacos, rice and beans) and sat down most of the time anyway. One of the first people who approached him for food was my mother who tried to make plates for us after our first dance...but he rudely told her she needs to get in line. When my mom told him the plates were for the bride and groom he rudely grabbed the plates and served a child sized serving. That was the serving that he served throughout the time he was there...he told people that they could only have 2 tacos and a mini scoop of rice and beans. We paid him 675 for tacos, rice, and beans (which aren't expensive to make) and he was treating his crappy food like caviar. His food was subpar at best. 2/3rd of the way through dinner being served, he told my husband that he already served 150 people and he was running out of food and that we had way more than the amount we paid for. We only had enough tables and chairs set for 150 and there were 9 empty spots for people who did not show up. I know this because we counted our guests when he did this. People were released by table so there was no one up getting seconds so I'm not sure where he got his numbers from. Little did we know, the whole time he was serving food he was telling our guests that they can't have very much food since we were cheap and only paid for 150 people. He said we had 200-250 people there and that we should have paid him more money. He also told that to our DJ who came and let us know how unprofessional Jessie was. Even our DJ...who was releasing the tables...said that this guy had no idea what he was talking about and there was nowhere near 200 people there. Our reception hall couldn't even fit that many people, plus we only had 150 spots set up with several empty chairs so that is not possible for him to have served over 150 and still have 3 tables remaining unfed. He was the biggest mistake we could have possibly made (my husband wanted tacos for our wedding...against our better judgement). When my parents and in-laws approached Jessie so that they could buy more food, he had a nasty attitude and told them that his contract was up and that we will need to pay him more money to stay. We are all disgusted with his lack of professionalism and I wish we could sue him for breach of contract. We did not even have 150 people there but he ran out of food and he blamed it on us to save face. Luckily the last 3 tables were full of my husband's understanding aunts and uncles instead of hungry kids. The families that did have kids were told by Jessie that their kids cannot get food unless they stood in line with their parents...even though parents told him that they did not want to bring small kids in the line. DO NOT USE HIM! He is extremely unprofessional and dishonest. Find someone else more professional and reliable.
Taquizas ''El Rey''Taquizas ''El Rey''
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