Wedding and Event Catering

Find a caterer near Saratoga, CA

Find a caterer near Saratoga, CA

Give us a few details and we’ll match you with the right pro.

Zip code

Top 10 Caterers near Saratoga, 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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

Reviews for Saratoga caterers
Thumbtack Customer
Pete's Outdoor Catering Service was great. They did a tremendous job serving 155 people. Lots of delicious food, elegant finger foods and delicious dessert. His crew was so much fun to work with. I truly enjoyed all of them. Thank you Pete's Outdoor Catering for making our party a success and enjoyable. Happy Holidays!?
Pete's In & Outdoor CateringPete's In & Outdoor Catering
Kym M.
This was a wonderful experience from the very beginning. I received excellent customer service each time I called with a question(s). Evan is very personable and an fabulous cook. We had the BBQ dinner menu catered for my husband's 50th birthday and it was amazing! The brisket is to die for!! I had so many of our guests ask who catered this party as all the food was scrumptious. Thank you, Evan, and the rest of the staff for making this event perfect! We will certainly use your services again! And you may be hearing from some of our friends as well! Cheers, Kym Morganstern
Judy K.
John was amazing! He catered an event for our Company's Holiday Party and everyone loved the food sooo MUCH. My colleagues continued raving about the dinner. John went above and beyond for us and we definitely plan on booking him in the future again! He will work with you on creating a menu within your budget. He was very responsive and cheerful to work with. The crusted stuffed chicken, steak with chimichurri, and the panna cotta dessert were such a hit with everyone! Thank you John, and we look forward to working with you again. - The Employees at APT
John DeMartini CateringJohn DeMartini Catering
Kirsten P.
We loved all of our wedding vendors, but Kitchenina was by far the best! From the moment we contacted them to the last tablecloth being put away at our reception, Aliki and Kostas were helpful, professional, and experienced. We got lots of compliments on the food, but what really blew us away was the level of support that Aliki gave us. She answered about a million questions before the wedding, was easily available by phone, and took such great care of us during the reception. It's not often that you drive away from your wedding reception raving about the catering team, but that's exactly what happened. Thank you, Aliki!
Thumbtack Customer
The short version: After reading many great reviews of Pete here on Thumbtack and seeing his price (which was very competitive) we hired him to cater our wedding. I guess we got what we paid for - throughout the 9 months we worked with Pete he was: - Incredibly disorganized (He showed up at the venue on the wrong day to cater our wedding. Yes, you read that right) - Consistently under-delivered on his promises (promised to bring a big trailer in which to prepare the food but last minute said he couldn’t bring it, promised to bring enough staff, but instead there were so few servers that the sweetheart table had no wine in our glasses during the toasts) - Extremely hard to communicate with (Getting any sort of paperwork or input on what plateware to rent took at least 5 texts and calls spread out over multiple days for a single response from Pete) We loved all of our vendors, especially the photographers who actually helped serve wine bottles because there were so few servers during the reception. All except Pete, who caused so much unnecessary stress. There's no way the money we saved by going with Pete will ever make up for that and if we could go back we would definitely not choose him. And in case you want more details: Not following through with what he promised/said he would do or bring: - Example 1: Promised= a large, beautiful state-of-the-art mobile kitchen that was well equipped with every appliance you could imagine. Reality= a month before wedding date, he said he could not fit the mobile kitchen at venue even though we had a walkthrough at the venue months prior.. He almost made us pay for a rental oven until we caught it on the invoice and had to confront him about it. - Example 2: At the tasting about 4 months prior to actual wedding date, food quality and presentation was fabulous. It was beautifully presented, garnished, and taste was to our liking. We made a few adjustments, but all is well. Reality=On wedding night, two separate appetizers were piled onto a large plate. There was no thought process or artistic execution to the presentation. It was as if a waiter had scooped a lot of left overs onto a large plate. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was when I saw the food come out. On top of that, quality of the food was definitely worse than the tasting. I felt cheated. - Example 3: After the tasting Pete promised to help create an order with a tableware rental company for the plates and cups. It took over a month of repeated emails texts and calls before he put the order together. Business management issues: - Extremely disorganized. He mistakenly showed up to the venue a day earlier thinking that was the date. Another example is we had told him more than once we will only be serving wine and beer, but he went ahead and ordered cocktail glasses and many other items that we did not need. We had to go through the invoice one by one and make adjustments because Pete did not listen to our needs. - Lack of response and sense of urgency. We needed him to send his business license, insurance/worker's comp to our venue. Together, my husband and I asked him at least 5 times to get this done (via email, text, in person). We also had to ask him numerous times to place the order with the rental company, even though that is something he had promised he would do in the beginning. Day of the wedding: - Lack of service from waiters (wine/beer was not served at all), some of our guests ran out of water in their water pitcher and had to walk over to our sweetheart table to get water from our table... - Waiters were very friendly and tried their best, but they were understaffed and clearly was unable to handle the amount of guests we had. There were no surprise guests that showed up at our wedding, Pete was just unprepared. - Pete's team also did not set up a vendor's table as instructed, so some of my vendors had to stand to eat. My dessert vendor only got one slice of bread the entire night. It is absolutely unacceptable. - I had to drag my long wedding gown to the back to find him to ask him to serve wine/beer to my guests. Positive things about Pete: - He was very courteous after wedding was over. He and his staff cleaned everything and took out all the trash as promised. - Guests still had positive feedback in terms of the quality of the food. Some even said it was one of the best dinners they have had at a wedding. I highly doubt they would say the same if they were at the tasting.
Chef Pete ColemanChef Pete Coleman
Ready to find a pro?

See more reviews, compare prices, and hire your favorite pros all with Thumbtack.

Why hire professionals on Thumbtack?
Free to use

You never pay to use Thumbtack: Get cost estimates, contact pros, and even book the job—all for no cost.

Compare prices side-by-side

You’ll know how much your project costs even before booking a pro.

Hire with confidence

With access to 1M+ customer reviews and the pros’ work history, you’ll have all the info you need to make a hire.