Wedding and Event Catering

Find a caterer near Lakewood, CO

Find a caterer near Lakewood, CO

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Top 10 Caterers near Lakewood, CO

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 Lakewood caterers
Karen C.
Unfortunately we had to cancel our Thanksgiving plans for TJ to cater our family due to COVID restrictions. TJ was very responsive and understanding! We do look forward to using TJ’s catering services when this crazy virus is under control. Thank you TJ for trying. Stay safe and healthy!
Chef TJChef TJ
Holly B.
The Crazy Caterer was very punctual and professional. Most of the food was very well presented and good. A couple of the selections were not what we were expecting. Our guests overall really enjoyed the food.
The Crazy CatererThe Crazy Caterer
Mary P.
Kim was easy to work with. She was the only caterer that requested to chat immediately; the others just sent menus and wanted email if I had questions. We chatting on the phone about our dietary needs being gluten free due to Celiac Disease. Menus were emailed back and forth while chatting. That personal touch went a long way with me. My guests raved about the homemade food, it was staged well and there was PLENTY! My party was a gluten free taco bar for 70 and included all toppings. We would use The Crazy Caterer again and highly recommend her.
The Crazy CatererThe Crazy Caterer
Pamela M.
Unfortunately we did not have a good experience. Our caterer was two and a half hours late, food was cold, presentation poor. I would not be able to recommend based on the feedback from our guests. Hamburgers, hotdogs, baked beans very cold and overdone. Estimate food needed and condiments delivered way above what was necessary and half our staff had already left the event and the rest were starving! Very disappointing. Pam
Good EatzGood Eatz
Thumbtack Customer
This is the second time I have used Crazy Caterer and she doesn't disappoint. 27 people for sit down dinner at our house Christmas Eve. I have a grandson who is autistic and she went out of her way to make something special that he would enjoy eating. They are friendly, the food is unbelievable good, they clean up so well you would never know anyone had been in the house. I highly recommend them.
The Crazy CatererThe Crazy Caterer
Thumbtack Customer
Thank you The Orange Crunch for catering my Wedding in July 2016! You guys are extremely outstanding! Your services from servers, cooks, wait staff, and bartenders are super professional, super nice and down to earth. Everyone at the wedding enjoyed the custom menu you built for us and the roasted pig was delicious! I want to give a special shout out to Leshner and Sarah. You guys are extremely helpful and made the wedding super smooth. You guys help me source tablecloths, napkins, tableware and glassware, and bartenders. I cannot thank you guys enough. Thank you again!!
Orange Crunch CateringOrange Crunch Catering
Russell C.
Chef Shay took a huge load off of my plate. I had struggled to find a caterer that fit within our budget for a 45th reunion. While figuring out the details for the event, I actully thought she made it too easy. She worked within our budget. The food quality was excellent. Our venue presented some sustantial difficulties that she overcame. There was no kitchen on site so certain menu items had to be innovativley prepared. She adapted by using a storage closet and a small portion of the bar. Dinner was a few minutes later than we had planned. Her assistant was a few minutes late because it was a drizzly day. The venue was upstairs so she had to use a service elevator to bring everything up. The catering supply company she used did not get her order completely correct. Only a few peole noticed and it didn't spoil the evening. She compensated us fairly for the few details that didn't turn out perfect. We were cleaned up and out of the venue with 15 minutes to spare. The best guidance I can give you is that I would use her services again without hesitation. Thumtack would only let me highlight 3 of the categories listed for what I liked about working with her. I would have highlighted all 5 without that restiction.
Behind The Platter LLCBehind The Platter LLC
Shawn H.
I hired Crushed Red to cater a surprise party for my wife. We had many dietary restrictions to consider; gluten sensitivities, vegetarians, and picky toddlers. Robin proposed a menu that had something for everyone. It was a surprise party so we needed everything set up in time to be ready before my wife arrived but also be fresh when everyone started to eat- Robin was up for the challenge! She maintained dialogue and provided updates leading up to the event which made a big difference from just having to hope and trust that things are on track. The food was delicious- we went with a tapas style menu and I’m so glad we did. It allowed us to eat a wide variety of cuisines. Each item was prepared with fresh ingredients and tons of flavor. I had a special request of gluten free jalapeño poppers which were out of sight. I followed the recommendations of other reviewers and got the focaccia bread And tacos with hand pressed tortillas and no one was disappointed. To top it all off we had two different mock tail options that were so refreshing. I can’t wait to plan an event to have an excuse to hire Robin and eat her delicious food again!
crushed red🌶️crushed red🌶️
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