Wedding and Event Catering

Find a caterer near Raleigh, NC

Find a caterer near Raleigh, NC

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Top 7 Caterers near Raleigh, NC

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.

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.

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 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 Raleigh caterers
Aiden D.
We hired Impeccable Catering to cater our wedding and provide decorations and we’re thrilled with their service. Impeccable Catering was very professional, and responsive to our needs, providing tremendously high quality service for an incredible value. We highly recommend Impeccable Catering.
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Melvin G.
Needed a catering service for a college homecoming event and this one did not disappoint. Excellent service and excellent food. Our guests really enjoyed the food and the dessert. I would definitely recommend this catering company to anyone in Raleigh and the surrounding areas.
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Cassidi L.
I really enjoyed my experience with Ava’s Cuisine and Catering from start to finish. This vendor is responsive and professional. I had a brunch catered for my colleagues and we thoroughly enjoyed the food. I would highly recommend and would use again.
Ava’s Cuisine & Catering Services, LLCAva’s Cuisine & Catering Services, LLC
Robin W.
Impeccable Catering did an amazing job for our brunch! They were punctual, professional and the food was amazing, Will definitely use them again.
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Preston R.
Where do i begin on Jevon and Impeccable Catering. Jevon was the runner up in me picking a caterer for my wedding and i only went another way due to prior relationship with other company. After informing jevon i asked if would be willing to cater a smaller gathering that we would be having and he agreed without hesitation. That shows his character. Now the food. The wraps.... 10/10. The turkey sliders.... 11/10. Presentation... 10/10. It was so good and Impeccable is the best. I look forward to using them/him again.
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Clara H.
Our daughter and son-in-law's baby shower was a huge success. Thank you to Impeccable Catering. Everyone enjoyed the food. The meatballs and chicken wings were very tasty.
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Mary E.
This was the second year that Jevon catered our Thanksgiving dinner. Once again, we were impressed by the deliciousness of our meal and Jevon's friendliness and professionalism! It was a great value for the money. And, as you can see, the bird was beautiful!!
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Nyia M.
Ava's Cuisine was delicious!I I received great customer service. They were professional and personable. The catering was a Christmas gift to my family and Ava's Cuisine did not disappoint. I will definitely use them again!
Ava’s Cuisine & Catering Services, LLCAva’s Cuisine & Catering Services, LLC
Regina W.
Zacki is an amazing person to work with and provides good food, a high level of professionalism, and consistent communication throughout the process of my catering needs. I truly value her business and am happy that she helped to make my baby shower a huge hit!
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Jennifer W.
Impeccable Catering was wonderful to work with! They accommodated many varying needs and were flexible and so responsible and helped lead the way where we needed vision too. The food was absolutely delicious! And the staff was so polite and helpful. They even offered to do things We didn’t think of that really made a difference! The place settings were beautiful, and their attention to detail with color matching and service was a touch of class! The whole process of working with Impeccable Catering from stat to finish was quick, easy, and seamless. I highly recommend this company for all your entertaining needs! They made me feel as if I were working with a longtime, trusted friend at a time when I really needed one. Thank you!
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Thumbtack Customer
I reached out to Moses T's Catering because we actually needed staff to help serve at my mother's retirement celebration during the July 4th weekend. I sent my request to Thumbtack with very short notice not knowing what to expect. Chef Q contacted me and really listened to what our needs were and he made some great suggestions to make this huge event a success. He sent members of his staff over for 2 days and they helped with setting up, serving food, hors d'oeuvres and keeping things in order. We could NOT have done the event without his help. The staff was on time, neat, helpful, friendly and professional. As a professional planner myself -- I was very pleased and really quite grateful that it went so well. I would not only highly recommend his staffing services, but I am willing to bet that his catering services are also excellent and plan to book Moses T's Catering as soon as I have another large event in Raleigh, NC. Thank you Chef Q and crew -- you all ROCKED!
Moses T's CateringMoses T's Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Zacki and team delivered an amazing experience for our guests during our holiday party. This was my first time hiring a caterer and was so thrilled! The food looked amazing and tasted even better! Zacki was very helpful and patient in trying to help us balance variety, quantity and expenses. Great experience!
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Jonathan W.
We contracted Impeccable Catering for our 25th Wedding Vow Renewal ceremony. Jevon was very helpful in providing multiple menu options to select from leading up to the event and he clearly identified the price for the various options. On the day of the ceremony, he and his crew arrived early to setup for the reception. His entire crew was very professional and friendly. The food that was prepared was very delicious and well displayed. My guest raved about the wonderful tasting Mac and Cheese, the savory Hawaiian Meatballs, and the nicely seasoned chicken. My guests really enjoyed the fresh garden salad and the selection of beverages provided. Overall, the food and service far exceeded my expectations and all my guests had nothing but great things to say about the catering experience. I would highly recommend Jevon and his staff and I look forward to working with him on future events.
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Thumbtack Customer
Shone catered my New Year's party. Words cannot accurately describe her service. Shone and her staff were fantastic! They arrived early, finished preparing the food set up and left. They were also quite friendly. The food was amazing. My guests are still talking about how good FTE food was. Thank you Shone and company. I will definitely call upon you again. Dr. Blackwell
A Popular AffairA Popular Affair
Katy K.
Great experience here! I had Chef Stevenson cater my wedding and it was absolutely delicious! All of my guests are still talking about how good the food was! He was so nice and very professional. I would recommend him to anyone in a heartbeat!! We also forgot a corkscrew for our wine bottles and Chef Stevenson came through! He ended up opening them with a knife and definitely left us impressed.
Chez LamarreChez Lamarre
Jeannette B.
Kickback Q's accepted my last minute request to provide a Southern Cooking menu, for our funeral repass. They kept me within budget for serving 40 people. The menu BBQ Chicken, Baked Chicken, Collard Greens, Roasted Potatoes, and Cornbread was exactly the comfort food we were all desiring. Their communication was impeccable and great reviews from everyone on taste. We have found our "go-to" catering in town for future events. Thank you Kickback Q's for such awesome food and service!
Kickback Q’s CateringKickback Q’s Catering
Robbin S.
Everything was great! I hired Jevon to cater my Christmas Brunch and he exceeded my expectations. Just like the name of the company - everything was impeccable. The food was very delicious and favorable. The presentation was festive and very elegant. He was on time and set up was flawless. We loved it so much - we have already booked him for a baby shower in March. I highly recommend Jevon. He was excellent and very easy to work with. My ladies thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas Brunch.
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Thumbtack Customer
Thank you Thank you Thank you a million more times!!! We had the best time of our lives and I will never forget that day! You were an angel from heaven and I am soooo thankful that you were part of our wedding! Everyone loved her food and her set-up. The service was phenomenal. Everybody that worked there wanted to give 150%. I felt like we were all one big family. Thank you Michelle and the Carolina gourmet catering staff for making that day even more special. I love you guys so much!!!!
Ambrosia and Fig CateringAmbrosia and Fig Catering
Peter M.
Marcia's food is delicious and her hard work can be felt from the moment you first talk to her. She drove from Greensboro to Raleigh for our tasting and then again to Charlotte for the actual ceremony. If she was just a dutiful cook that made good food though- well that's simply what you expect from a caterer, but Marcia's real boon is her kindness. She is a SWEETHEART. She's like a thoughtful parent who really wants to make your day special. She really worked with us, tried to make our day special, and really always had a kind word. A real gem to work with.
Jamaica Coast CateringJamaica Coast Catering
Jaynay B.
I had reached out to the owner about catering my wedding in May. I would say that his attitude was pleasurable but we didn’t share the same views. I had asked for a taste test prior to the wedding just because when planning you spend a lot of money on the menu and the food. I always want to make sure that the food provided will taste well and up to my standards. I was denied a tasting as it “wasn’t beneficial” to the owner and his business. I even offered to pay for the tasting just to bridge the gap. I understand that others are okay with writing a check prior to accessing the product but that isn’t my style. I was then informed that he comes highly recommended by “word of mouth” but for some people that isn’t the way of handling business.
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Thumbtack Customer
I was planning an open house event for our company and contacted multiple caterers for heavy hors d'oeuvres and drinks for about 60 people. Shawn instantly reached out to talk though the event with me so he could understand what I was looking for. What was so great about working with Shawn is from the beginning he was in the same page as me and knew exactly what I was looking for. He was an absolute pleasure to work with and worked with me to create a wonderful menu and overall fantastic experience for our guests. The food was phenomenal and our guests were all raving. Not only did Shawn deliver amazing food and service as promised, but he beyond exceeded my expectations and truly was a delight to work with. I would highly recommend him and look forward to working with him again in the future.
GATHERINGS with Private Chef Shawn, LLCGATHERINGS with Private Chef Shawn, LLC
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