Wedding and Event Catering

Find a caterer near New Orleans, LA

Find a caterer near New Orleans, LA

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Top 6 Caterers near New Orleans, LA

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 New Orleans caterers
Cathy S.
Cafe' Orleans catered a week-long professional development training for my department. Ms. Shirley and her team were very professional, responsive to all my needs and the food was excellent. I recommend Cafe' Orleans for any of your catering needs. Cathy St. Romain
Cafe' Orleans CateringCafe' Orleans Catering
Richard B.
We are a professional catering broker service that works nationwide and deals with over a thousand caterers. Ronnie's company provided us with unparalleled service throughout the process. This particular client had many changes and some peculiar requests and Ronnie never blinked when I asked if she could do them. Everything went perfect and I can't recommend her company enough to anyone who needs top service, quality food at a good price and someone who understands that the client comes first. Thank you so much Ronnie!
Tails and Tinis, LLCTails and Tinis, LLC
Blair B.
We hired Kelseay to cater a Sunday brunch after our wedding. She made the brunch SO SPECIAL! The food was delicious, the presentation was superb, and we LOVED the staff. She made the most unique and delicious New Orleans brunch food I've ever tasted. I also asked for a vegan option for some of our guests and her cauliflower scramble was a hit with everyone! One of my favorite things was the beautiful mimosa and Bloody Mary bar. Kelseay brought so much fun to our brunch. She is bubbly and awesome to work with! I highly recommend her to anyone looking for New Orleans catering.
Chef Kelseay DukaeChef Kelseay Dukae
Kimberly M.
My spouse and I had an incredible experience with EZ Events & Catering. We found the catering option first and it was a no-brainer with the packages they offer. We were so pleased with how our Cajun Brunch menu turned out! Further, when we hired Ellie to be our Day-Of Coordinator, it was the best decision we made. Having someone so connected to our entire planning process was so helpful for multiple reasons. My wife and I are not LA natives and currently reside in Philadelphia, PA. Therefore, when COVID hit in March, Ellie really stepped up to help us through the various New Orleans questions as we were not able to make it to New Orleans prior to the wedding. Ellie also guided us through the tough decisions we had to make keeping our original date for our wedding in August. We would recommend EZ Events & Catering to anyone as the team felt more like family than business partners. If you want someone by your side from start to finish, Ellie Zarraga-Mullins is your only option.
Angela T.
Cafe Orleans catered my son’s wedding - his new inlaws had never been to NO nor had they ever had creole food. The food was fantastic! I’m not sure how it was prepared so that locals and newcomers were able to enjoy it - but it was sheer genius! Cafe Orleans will not disappoint- food was wonderful and I was amazed at how reasonable the cost was.
Cafe' Orleans CateringCafe' Orleans Catering
Thumbtack Customer
My experience with Food Art was top notch. Stephanie sent me a prospective with everything I asked for, the only one who did, actually. The food was delicious and everything was set up beautifully. I received several compliments on the diversity & taste of the food. If I ever need any catering again, I will definitely use Food Art.
Food ArtFood Art
Thumbtack Customer
Cake N Que was convenient, professional and very cost effective as well as pintail and thorough leaving me only to enjoy my event. Shawn's ability to understand my requirements led her to provide even the small details we sometimes forget when handling multiple issues; with her handling catering I was able to focus on other areas of need for my event. Thanks again!
Cake -N- Que Catering, LLCCake -N- Que Catering, LLC
Dmitri E.
Shirley and her team made the best food I've ever had at the wedding. All our guests were raving about it and my wife and I absolutely loved it as well. She was very accommodating and flexible with the menu items. She managed to coordinate things very well in a somewhat unusual dining area setting. If you ever need food catered in New Orleans, I would very strongly recommend Shirley and Cafe Orleans! Fantastic food and great to work with!
Cafe' Orleans CateringCafe' Orleans Catering
Jessica v.
Danesha catered a brunch for us when we were visiting in New Orleans. Being from Florida, we wanted some local Louisiana flare and her food exceeded all our expectations! Just tell Danesha what it is you are envisioning and she makes it happen! The shrimp and grits were amazing! Her portions were very generous. We loved the food so much that even after our day out we came back home and had seconds! Highly recommend.
You Deserve The Experience™️ By Chef DeneshaYou Deserve The Experience™️ By Chef Denesha
Elizabeth D.
Kelseay and her team catered our multi-day company retreat and they were an absolute pleasure to work with. They were responsive, friendly, accommodating and the food was AMAZING!! We ran into a few issues during the week including a dishwasher breakdown and lack of dishes, but Kelseay and her team went out of their way to assure our meals went off without a hitch. A large part of our retreat's success is due to Kelseay and her team and we'd be more than happy to recommend and/or to hire them again in the future!
Chef Kelseay DukaeChef Kelseay Dukae
Cynthia H.
Chef Scipios - aka Carlos, did a terrific job catering a recent event we held in New Orleans. It was for my son's graduation from college -- a dinner party for 13 at an Airbnb. We are not from the area so I took a leap of faith that Carlos would come through for us sight unseen! First, he was super flexible with our menu -- which was complex and ever changing! I wanted traditional New Orleans cuisine, but I had a couple of vegetarians, and other picky eaters that had to be satisfied as well. Carlos managed to work with me to create a menu that was perfect for the entire group. We started with a cheese/crudités platter, and some amazing crab beignets - super yummy! Then for the main meal, he made about the best salmon I have ever had -- a blackened cajun salmon. He also brought an entire pot of authentic gumbo, a cajun seafood pasta, as well as a yummy (yet healthy) spinach salad, and a peanut-sauce tofu noodle dish that more than satisfied the vegetarians. He showed up on time, set up everything as arranged, and everyone enjoyed meeting him and his wife. Our guests raved about the food! I will definitely hire Chef Scipios again next time I am in New Orleans and have an event, and would not hesitate to recommend him to any of my friends.
Chef Scipios Creative CuisinesChef Scipios Creative Cuisines
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