Your guide to drop-off event catering

We've helped 136,158 customers cater events in the past year.

Planning checklist

Prepare for success by getting started now.
4 months before: Plan venue and budget
  • Consider the ambience of the venue in which your event is to be held.
  • Know how many people are expected to attend, but plan for a few extras.
  • Have an idea of the type of reception you want to have, such as formal or informal, cocktail, dinner, or brunch.
  • Create a budget that details how much you are willing to spend per person at your event.
3 months before: Line up caterer
  • Contact a few caterers and arrange to meet to discuss your needs for the event.
  • Sample some of the food that each caterer provides to get a sense of the different cuisines and specialties.
  • Choose a caterer and create a detailed plan together.
  • Ask your caterers what equipment they already have on hand and if they will need any additional equipment or space for your event.
2 months before: Plan and taste
  • Determine a menu that accommodates the tone and atmosphere of your event.
  • If you are hosting a personal event, such as a birthday or anniversary, consider requesting a favorite dish of the guest of honor.
  • Schedule a tasting with the caterer before you make any final decisions.
  • Ask the caterers to provide a breakdown of costs and bring any questions or concerns to their attention before the event.
1 month before: Iron out the schedule
  • With caterer, decide when the event will be set up, when each course will be served and when cleanup will occur.
  • Request a copy of the contract in writing and read through it carefully.
  • Take note of any food allergies or dietary restrictions that guests may have, and request food with them in mind.
  • Ask the caterer what the policy is on leftovers. If you cannot take the leftovers home, reconsider the quantity of food ordered.

Related guides

We help customers complete projects across 1,000 different categories. Explore these guides related to catering services.