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Find a food service professional near Raleigh, NC

Find a food service professional near Raleigh, NC

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Find a food service professional near Raleigh, NC

21 near you

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Top 10 Food Service Professionals near Raleigh, NC

Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How much does a personal chef cost?

Hiring a personal chef usually costs anywhere from $40-$100 or more per person. Request free cost estimates from personal chefs in your area so you’ll know exactly how much it will cost to hire one for your needs. For an accurate quote, be sure to let the chefs know the number of people they’ll need to feed, what you’d like on the menu and other relevant details. 

To learn more about the factors that impact the cost to hire a personal or private home chef, read our cost guide.

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 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.
Reviews for Raleigh food service professionals
Felicia L.
Jevon was on time, set up was beautiful and the food was excellent!! Everyone raved about the food and we’re empressed with his presentation!! I will definitely utilize his services again.
Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.Impeccable Catering and Event Services, Inc.
Tina H.
Food, service and professionalism was five star plus! Our guest loved everything!
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Sabrina M.
Everything was great. Very professional, punctual, and the food was amazing. My mother’s 80th birthday dinner was amazing. I would use their service again and highly recommend them.
On Board CateringOn Board Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Zacki and her assistant Katherine did a phenomenal job! They were professional, courteous, and a joy to interact with. The food was fresh and delicious! I will definitely use her services again!
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Mary T.
I had an office party last night of 12 people at my house and Zacki was AMAZING. The food was original, the service was on point, and she was just so friendly and inviting. I highly recommend her and her company!
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Thumbtack Customer
Zacki Murphy is at the top of her game. She did a super job of creating great food for my party. I would definitely recommend her to anyone...I'm looking forward to using her services again,
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Thumbtack Customer
Zacki is very easy to work with and accommodating. The food is quite good and the attention to detail and service superb. This was an open house party for my 101 year old Mother-in-Law. I would definitely use her again.
Zacki's Culinary CreationsZacki's Culinary Creations
Thumbtack Customer
Delicious food and very professional. She worked to make an amazing menu based off of what I told her I was wanting. I can't wait to throw another dinner party and use her services again!
Tastebudz - Eats and TreatsTastebudz - Eats and Treats
Katie W.
Chef Mike was amazing. He catered to all our requests and came up with the most wonderful menu we could have ever dreamed of. From the service to the food, everything was perfect! Will definitely be having him back for more experiences!
Chef Michael McCrayChef Michael McCray
Bolivia M.
I highly recommend Mrs. Franks. I wish I had taken better pictures, but the food was amazing along with her service!! We sincerely appreciate you making this evening happen. I definitely intend to contact you again in the future.
Carolina Kitchen and PantryCarolina Kitchen and Pantry
Thumbtack Customer
Terri was wonderful and personable. it was a little chaotic whens he arrived from allof us being tired after the wedding the day before. She came in took charge and set everything up. the food was delicious. I am trying to find an excuse to use hr services again. .
CrepeTime CateringCrepeTime Catering
Melisha M.
She is awesome! She made my fiancé surprise birthday amazing in the middle of a chaotic day. The food is amazing!!! Let me say it again...AMAZING! She is very punctual, professional and provides a great service. We enjoyed having her in our home. Thank you again. I will be booking soon.
Carolina Kitchen and PantryCarolina Kitchen and Pantry
Thumbtack Customer
I had a casual office work party at my house. I wanted to do burgers and brats, but didn't want to spend my time at the grill. Lamar came and brought everything needed for the party and manned the grill, so that I could entertain my guests. The food was great and the service was perfect. I will use Lamar again for my catering needs.
Taste' Personal Chef ServicesTaste' Personal Chef Services
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
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
Tasha B.
There are not enough wonderful words i can say about Bruce and Tiana and there services. I hired them to cater our wedding for about 40-50 people. I will afmit that I'm a bit of a worrywart and a control freak so you can imagine how high my anxiety level was for my wedding. Our wedding was totally a last minute decision so we literally had about 2weeks to put this tithe. Onboard catering professionalism, promptness, kindness, helped ease my anxiety tremendously. I think I changed my mind like three times on menu are alcohol and Bruce and Tiana simply replied with your the bride we will do whatever you would like. We had a issue with an alcohol permit (I never had to do one before) come up and Bruce walked me through the process and stayed with me the whole time to make sure all I's were dotted and T's were crossed. Tiana asked to see pictures of my vision for my wedding so that she can decorate accordingly and bo u did she mail it. They provided linens chinaware glaases and provided a tasting. Most importantly the food read delicious! Even my dj paused to give them a shout out for their delicious mac and cheese. All of my guest talked about how amazing the food was even my snooty aunt who always finds something to complain about. Bottom line I will certainly use this company for any future event and highly encourage you to do so too.
On Board CateringOn Board Catering
Michele A.
From the very beginning Paul was so wonderful to work with. He was very accommodating and even created a menu for us that wasn’t something that was on his usual menu. Every time I contacted him regarding details for the party he answered in a timely matter and answered any and all my questions. He even did a taste test for us in our home so that we would know what to expect and also allowed us to tweak anything if needed (but no tweaking was necessary). The day of the event he was on time and when it was time for our guests to order he was ready and waiting. The food he prepared was amazing and very affordable. He made sure that my daughters graduation party was perfect. I don’t think Paul realizes how much stress he took from my husband and I. He thought of everything!!! We WILL be using his services again! Thank you, Paul for making our daughters party everything she wanted and allowing us to visit and enjoy time with our family! The Anderson’s
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