Find a caterer near Tampa, FL

Find a caterer near Tampa, FL

12 near you

Find a caterer near Tampa, FL

12 near you

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Top 10 Caterers near Tampa, FL

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 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.

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 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 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.

Reviews for Tampa caterers
Dana M.
Excellent! I cannot day enough good things about my experience with Emerald Catering. I highly recommend their services. I will hire this team for ALL of my future events. 5 stars!! Thank you Emerald Catering!
Emerald Catering & HospitalityEmerald Catering & Hospitality
Leah W.
Maurice was wonderful to work with in planning my mother's 70th birthday catering. He listened to my needs and was open to my ideas. He arrived on time and the food was set up and ready to go when our guests arrived. I recommend working with Maurice and Hidalgo Catering.
Hidalgo Catering CompanyHidalgo Catering Company
Quivier L.
Great presentation, taste and quality for price. Not your normal hotel food catering it taste like homemade food.
Red99 CateringRed99 Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Debbie catered our daughter's post wedding reception. Debbie was so easy to work with ~ adjusting the menu due to an unforeseen facility glitch; accommodating the every changing number of guests. As her previous reviews stated, her food was delish!!! The reviews for her potato salad were spot on :) We would not hesitate to ask Debbie to cater other gatherings for us. Thanks Debbie !!
Debbie's Catering dba Debbie Downes CateringDebbie's Catering dba Debbie Downes Catering
Doreen S.
Emerald Catering was phenomenal. I had a reception in which 2 days before, the beverage vendor had to cancel. I had a vision of specialty drinks in which Laura and her team brought to life. Everyone loved the food: Prime Beef Sliders, Mimosa Salad, Gourmet Sandwiches, Deviled Eggs (love the garlic flare), along with condiments which were beautifully arranged. I would highly recommend Emerald Catering. They are my go to.
Emerald Catering & HospitalityEmerald Catering & Hospitality
Thumbtack Customer
Aug. 16.2016 Linda catered lunch for me every selection was amazing....she is very patient and professional....no selection taste the same! I can hardly wait until my next personal chef experience ....client for life⭐
Intimate CateringIntimate Catering
Thumbtack Customer
First Class Catering! As an Event Planner I regularly use Caterers and after using Linda I can say we found a winner! Linda was patient with our initial requests and ensured us of the quality of her food and she definitely delivered! the food was fresh and the presentation was impeccable. Linda followed up the day prior to our event to confirm she was coming early to assist with the set up. If we could give 10 stars we would. Thanks again Linda, and we will be calling you for our next local event for sure! Patrick
Intimate CateringIntimate Catering
Gayle W.
Party for 70 people - We were very happy with Island Chef - the food was excellent and more food than we could possibly eat. Chef Tamara and her helpers were friendly and did a great job. A lot of my lawers and staff asked the name of the caterer because they were so impressed.
The Island ChefThe Island Chef
Amelia M.
Wine and dine us has been absolutely fantastic to work with. Weddings are naturally stressful but Jillian remained in constant communication with what she would be bringing and everything she would provide. She took so much stress off our shoulders and our wedding day was absolutely perfect. Her food was absolutely incredible and all of her staff attentive and professional. After the wedding she catered a dinner during our honeymoon which was just as incredible. Because we enjoyed it so much, we had her cater a breakfast the last day of our honeymoon. Jillian still remains in contact with us and we will be using her again in the near future. Thank you so much, wine and dine us, for such amazing food and service.
Wine and Dine USWine and Dine US
Debra T.
Tamara works with my constantly fluctuating schedule. We feed between 50 and 90 employees every week. She gives great menu ideas, geared toward my diverse employees. I have meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans, and people with religious diets. She manages to cater to all of them and make everyone happy. And her food is DELICIOUS!
The Island ChefThe Island Chef
Terrisa B.
Loved having Chef Antwan Coleman cater my husband's birthday party. His professionalism and calm demeanor allowed us to focus on our guests instead of the prep. We had roughly 40 guests (a lot of foodies) who all raved about how yummy the food was. It was very economical to have Chef Coleman and his assistant come in and cook, serve and clean-up. They were punctual, prepared and even helped out with table settings which allowed me to focus on flowers and foo-foo. At the end of the evening our kitchen was spotless, our bellies were full and we will definitely hire him again. Thanks Chef Antwan!! - Terrisa Bernard
Chef Antwan ColemanChef Antwan Coleman
Thumbtack Customer
Vivian was absolutely incredible, no other way to say it. was not expecting food to be nearly as good as it was considering how reasonable the cost was compared to other caterers -- but when she pulled out the prime rib from the oven... I said to myself...."the game has just changed". And it didn't stop there--- EVERYTHING SHE COOKED was amazing and all my guests agreed. From the prime rib and pasta all the way down to the meatballs. She cooked for nearly 100 people in my very basic kitchen on new years eve. Had zero problems with anything being late or unprepared. If you find yourself looking at and considering her profile--- I can say look no further. Shes amazing and her crew was lovely as well.
On The Go Gourmet Personal Chef ServicesOn The Go Gourmet Personal Chef Services
Thumbtack Customer
I had to have last minute services for a dinner party event this week. Chef Tamara connected with me within 5 minutes and assisted me with all the details of planning a successful dinner party that was within my budget and beautifully presented and all food was delicious! Chef Tamara has an extensive menu to choose from and everything that I ordered got outstanding reviews. I was impressed with her menu choices, quality and presentation was a "WOW" moment. Tamara worked within my budget and helped me with ideas to pull off this quick event (which was the next day) and made this experience seamless. I had guests asking for her contact information and many positive comments were made about the scrumptious dinner, selection of entrees and unique display of desserts that she provided. She had a dessert display that was just incredible! It has been a long time since I have utilized services of a caterer, I highly recommend Chef Tamara as she manages every detail and I can honestly say she made my event one that I was proud of. My guests were happy and I will call her again!
The Island ChefThe Island Chef
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