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Find a buffet caterer near Manhattan, NY

Find a buffet caterer near Manhattan, NY

60 near you

Find a buffet caterer near Manhattan, NY

60 near you

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Top 10 Buffet Caterers near Manhattan, NY

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.

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.

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.

Reviews for Manhattan buffet caterers
Kim M.
Chef Martin was very responsive. He offered us a great price and a great menu. The day of the party he arrived earlier than expected and set up a wonderful buffet of food that was all delicious. I would highly recommend anyone using him for a catered event.
Mirabell CateringMirabell Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Aromas catered a family dinner at our apartment in honor of my son's 6th birthday. They prepared a delicious sit down meal for the grown ups and perfect buffet for the children (ages 3-10). They also backed the most extraordinary "Dusty" (from the Disney Planes movie) birthday cake. I highly recommend them.
Aromas Boutique BakeryAromas Boutique Bakery
Suzie H.
JP catered my Oscar Party. I had invited 35 guests and had never used JP before. He worked with me to plan the menu. We had appetizers and a buffet style dinner. My guests loved everything. In particular, they thought the chicken and shrimp skewers were delicious. And of the main course, people commented on the tastiness of the pork Wellington, the green salad and the broccoli. I would recommend him highly. Thank you for helping make this a memorable evening.
Thumbtack Customer
Adolfo is UNBELIEVABLE! He is truly a professional caterer- reliable, knowledgable, efficient, friendly, and knows how to make GREAT food! Everyone of our guests commented how creative the appetizers were and how delicious the entree/buffet items were....it was also evident in the numerous second-helpings that most guests had! Adolfo helped decrease the stress and anxiety surrounded by planning a wedding, and made sure everything was PERFECT down to the last detail! He runs his catering service like a well-oiled machine, and even delivered the alcohol to the event! He is one-of-a kind and we HIGHLY recommend using him for your next event- big or small, fancy or casual...he is the best decision we made for our wedding!
Manjar Boutique CateringManjar Boutique Catering
Chris F.
Twin Flames catered a small kosher buffet in Manhattan on one of the worst traffic days in November. They worked with me on the menue which was very creative. Their food presentation was beautiful, good value for the cost, and they kept me informed as to their progress making their way to the venue. As I am not familiar with kosher requirements, I did not know that very conservative observants want all food labeled kosher, preferably by a rabbi. While the food was sealed and separated on a different table, some were reluctant to partake since it was not labled.
Twin Flame Catering and EventsTwin Flame Catering and Events
Thumbtack Customer
Lauren Collura catered a party for 60 people in my apartment in New York City. The event was composed of a service of hors d'oeuvres, beverage service, and a buffet dinner. Lauren is an accomplished professional who understands the multiple components that must be part of a successful catering business. Lauren worked with me to develop the plans for the party, was quickly and effectively responsive to my suggestions and concerns, and executed the plan regarding the food and service in an excellent fashion. She visited my home well before the event to assess the space and determine the set-up in my home; she arranged for the rental of all food service items, tables and chairs; and she constructed an arrangement that worked seamlessly in my home. It was a pleasure for me to work with her and, most important, the guests had a wonderful time, all around, as evidenced by the very many compliments regarding Lauren's work that I received.
Bacco Catered EventsBacco Catered Events
Leiann K.
I found S.G.S. Catering and Private Chef Service here on Thumbtack while sourcing a caterer for our Company holiday party. I work for a well-known media company located in the financial district in NYC. I put out the request and received several responses from caterers who would work with my budget. I checked out the reviews for Chef Stenneth of S.G.S. Catering which were excellent so I decided to call. Chef Stenneth was easy going and professional. I explained what I wanted on the menu for the event. I gave him my budget per guest and that I wanted passed H’ourderves during cocktail hour, salmon, steak, a vegetarian dish, salad and a few sides. Chef send me a draft menu and followed up with a call to discuss. We agreed on a menu and I booked him. One week before the event, Chef and his Director of Operations made an appointment to visit the venue. They arrived on time and we walked through the event space and kitchen. The day before the event, Chef sent his team to drop off equipment and supplies. The team was very courteous and completed the drop off quickly and efficiently. On the day of the event, Chef and the team arrived two hours prior to the event to set up. The waitstaff were professionally dressed, efficient and customer oriented. Ready to please. The food was ready when the party began, on time. The appetizers were served hot. The buffet items were excellent. The steak and salmon were fantastic and the truffle mash potatoes was the winner of the evening. Chef's tia maria bread pudding was delicious. The guests loved the food and talked about it for days after. I will use him again for my corporate events as well as personally for his private chef service. I highly recommend Chef Stenneth and S.G.S. catering for your next event. They are very easy to work with, professional from first contact, to post event clean up and the food was delicious. He will work with your catering needs and budget to come up with an excellent catering plan. I give him 5 stars and would be more than happy to provide a reference.
S.G.S Catering & Private Chef Services LLCS.G.S Catering & Private Chef Services LLC
Thumbtack Customer
I used Tamara for my engagement party and she was fantastic! I had about 60 people and we started with passed h'ourderves during a cocktail hour in one room (she provided the staff and a bartender). While this happened she was setting up the buffet dinner in another room. She let me know when it was ready and then (timing was flawless) we moved into the second room for dinner. My friends and family raved about the food, which included gluten-free and vegan options as many had dietary restrictions. We had a French theme as I had gotten engaged in France and Tamara worked with me on a French menu, including a delicious chocolate-hazelnut crepe desert with fresh berries. She was totally on-point with timing, presentation, and professional execution, including proactively handling things like insurance with the building so it wasn't a hassle for me. The reason I initially chose her was because she was more reasonable than the other bids I received for caterers in New York but she offered identical services to what they had proposed and she went the extra mile the day of the event. I will definitely be using her again and I would highly recommend her to anyone. I am still receiving compliments on her food and the friendliness/professionalism of her staff.
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