Wedding and Event Catering

Find a caterer near Tierrasanta, CA

Find a caterer near Tierrasanta, CA

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Top 10 Caterers near Tierrasanta, 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 Tierrasanta caterers
Teré P.
Meals In Motion met all of my expectations! They’re a full service caterer that checked every box for what I needed during my Housewarming (Brunch) party. When millionaires are impressed by the quality of service, you know you’ve hit the catering service “jackpot”. I will be utilizing Jamell and his team for my future catering needs!!
Meals In Motion(Jamell)Meals In Motion(Jamell)
Dara A.
Chef Eric put together a last minute holiday drop off catering for my party and it was DELISH!! Highly recommend.
Lan N.
Carly catered a birthday party for me for 30 people. She kept in contact with me pre-party. The presentation was beautiful and the food was delicious!!!
Daily Chew CateringDaily Chew Catering
Ken L.
Chef Logan & his assistant, Abraham did a fantastic job catering our daughter’s 50th birthday party. I would highly recommend him.
The Wandering KnifeThe Wandering Knife
Kitt F.
Very responsive to respond & supply an on budget, proposal. Followed up, and was very professional. Opted for a different caterer due to family vote. But would contact again in future
Fruitcakes Chef ServicesFruitcakes Chef Services
Paula C.
Debra was very helpful putting together the menu well within budget. The food was beautifully displayed. I am still receiving compliments on how wonderful everything tasted. I will definitely us Details Custom Catering again.
Details Custom Catering & Event PlanningDetails Custom Catering & Event Planning
Thumbtack Customer
Lilian truly helped to make my Christmas party an outstanding one. From the first time we corresponded, she was very timely and organized with making arrangements and worked hard to ensure I was happy with the final details. The day of my event, Lilian was extremely professional, congenial, and organized. The food was delicious and there was a wide variety of options for everyone. My guests commented many times on how good the catering was and how friendly Lilian was. If I ever have another event requiring catering, I would definitely book her again. 5 stars for sure!!
Busy Bee Cook for MeBusy Bee Cook for Me
Anna T.
Chef Mumsie's was great! The were quick to respond to all my emails and calls. They were even willing to work with our budget. The catering service was on time and the food was incredible! Our event was a success and that's because of Chef Mumsie! Thank you!
Chef Mumsie's Brands LLcChef Mumsie's Brands LLc
Myra P.
We had an intimate backyard brunch for my Mother in Law. From the initial conversation through the planning Carly was quick to respond. She also was very accommodating and gave great suggestions for alternative dishes. The food was warm when it arrived, everything was absolutely delicious. We plan to have Carly cater again in the future.
Daily Chew CateringDaily Chew Catering
Kirin Q.
Lilian was absolutely fantastic from my first interaction to the delivery of the food. She was super accommodating and knew exactly what I was looking for. I hired her for a corporate event for 100 people and received nothing but glowing reviews about the food! I would definitely hire her again for any of my catering needs!
Busy Bee Cook for MeBusy Bee Cook for Me
Peter B.
I found Tuga and JP on a google search. They replied immediately. We are professional sailing team and needed a caterer for dinner. The food was excellent and menu was fantastic for 3 different meals. Highly recommend the taco dinner! Food was delivered hot, on time and ready! Feeding 13 hungry guys is no easy task and they did amazing. Will definitely be using again! Thank you Jaime!
Suzanne I.
Fruitcakes catered my husband's 40th Birthday Dinner this past Saturday night. The whole process was excellent. Kathy was very responsive during the planning stages and made sure we had the right Hawaiian food. Fruitcakes was on time, respectful of my house and party guests, food was delicious and they cleaned everything up before the left. I would definitely hire Fruitcakes again.
Fruitcakes Chef ServicesFruitcakes Chef Services
Thumbtack Customer
I hired Lillian to cater an intimate bridal shower for my future sister in law. She was a LIFESAVER!! I am so grateful I found Lillian on Thumbtack. The menu she designed was perfect - a classy brunch - and it tasted delicious. She set everything up, helped serve and clear dishes and cleaned up. She has my highest recommendation and I will definitely call her again for future events.
Busy Bee Cook for MeBusy Bee Cook for Me
Thumbtack Customer
I hired Baja's Tacos & Catering for the grand opening party of my business. The party was a huge success, due largely in part to the great food provided by Jesus and his team. I had over 100 people at my party and there was plenty of food - even tons of extras that my family is now enjoying! Baja's Tacos was on time, dependable and friendly. They came prepared with everything they needed - the only thing I had to provide was an outlet for them. Thanks again, Jesus, for being a wonderful addition to my event. I look forward to many great events together in the future!
King of Tacos San diegoKing of Tacos San diego
Jason P.
If you want a first class, personalized, incredible tasting experience, then Lavender Hill Catering and Chef Stephani is where you should go. From the diverse (and delicious!) menu options, to the personalized calls and service, to the professionalism and friendliness of their time at our home, we couldn't have asked for a better experience. Our guests are still talking about the food: Mini crab cakes, seared tuna, scallion and spinach pancakes with halloumi, pork tacos, and french onion gruyere mini boules. Melt in your mouth and still craving more! We cannot wait to have another event with them. Big thanks and gratitude to Stephani and team! -Victoria and Jason
Lavender Hill Catering and Private Chef ServicesLavender Hill Catering and Private Chef Services
Steve S.
I contacted Busy Bee Cook for Me to cater my Dad's 90th birthday party for about 40 people in our senior complex. She came and checked out the venue and made some recommendations for the food and service that were right on the mark for what I was looking for. On the day of the party, she and her crew showed up right on time, and both the food and service were totally amazing. People who were there have been saying that it was the party against which all other parties they ever attend will always be measured. And Dad enjoyed himself immensely. Thanks so much to Lilian and her crew for helping make the party for my Dad such a great success!.
Busy Bee Cook for MeBusy Bee Cook for Me
Muktida G.
I wish I had photos, but the food went too fast! First of all, Jaime is an outstanding person, such a kind and personable guy, but the kicker is he delivers outstanding mouth-watering delicious food. We hired him to serve our closing dinner for our kid's theatre group of 95 ppl. Jaime took a lot of time and thought with me about the menu, we came up with bbq ( that's his claim to fame), pulled chicken and pork, macn'cheese, and slaw. He was gracious and flexible to address any concerns I had at any time and worked with our budget. He even made a special portobello mushroom sandwich for our vegans/vegetarians. He spent more time on the phone with me, making sure we had everything right, than I would expect from a caterer. On the day of the dinner, Jaime and his crew, including his son, arrived on time and gave outstanding service and served each of us with a smile and, best of all, delicious food. My kid, who never finishes a plate, went back for seconds and had no left overs! Miracle!! The meat melted in our mouths, his bbq is award winning, and I can see why! Both the portobello mushrooms and the slaw were nice and tangy. We are hiring Tuga &JP's BBQ and Catering for my dad's 80th birthday party and plan to continue hiring them for our closing dinners. I give my absolute highest recommendations. They are the best!
Shannon M.
Kathy saved the day! It was 7 weeks before my wedding and I was panicking because I had to find a new Caterer for my big day. The moment I spoke to Kathy on the phone, I knew she would do a fantastic job and indeed she did. She was very communicative, professional, efficient, and helpful. She understood I had a budget and helped me incorporate wedding essentials that were cost effective. The food she served at my wedding was delicious and my guests raved about it days after. Her professionalism and warmth calmed my spirit on the day of the wedding; I knew everything was going to be okay because Kathy was handling it. She did a fantastic job and I would highly recommend her service for your big event.
Fruitcakes Chef ServicesFruitcakes Chef Services
Eduardo L.
Let me just start out and say thank you Chef Kana. You exceeded all expectations thank you very much. I am very grateful for your service and attention to detail the quality of food was amazing. Now to the review. I reached out to Chef Kana a week and half before my event for my wife’s birthday. I won’t say which one because you know why....never tell a woman’s age if you know you know. I was very concerned about what food I would serve at this party. I was blessed to come across Chef Kana’s page. The reason why is because he was able to accommodate all my needs to vegan eaters(only my wife) and to regular folks. I must say the veggie chunks was a hit at the event all my guest were very impressed with the fact it was vegan and not beef. It reminded me of a beef curry stew. Highly recommend. We also had the rice and peas and sweet potato rice. I enjoyed the rice and peas but I must say the Sweet Potato Rice was truly amazing the flavor and texture profile was just perfect. I also ordered the ital stew which is another vegan dish and was my wife’s favorite dish. She truly enjoyed it. My favorite dish was the curry shrimp. The flavor profile was just perfect it was all gone within 40 minutes of the food arriving. The jerk chicken was gone within 20 minutes. Especially with the jerk sauce. That sauce just amplified all the flavors super good. Sorry for no photos but if you order from Chef Kana you will see why. When we opened all the platters we did not care for photos we were ready to devour this delicious food in front of us. I highly recommend reaching out to Chef Kana to cater any event. And again, thank you Chef Kana for everything.
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