The Difference Between a Caterer and an Event Planner

When preparing to plan an important event with food and beverage service, you are likely thinking about the professionals you will need to enlist to ensure a successful and streamlined outcome. For most, an event planner is the go-to option for designing, organizing, and arranging a medium to large-scale special occasion. But hiring a caterer is also a major element in the event planning process. So, what does the catering company do that the event planning company cannot? Or vice versa? Do you need a caterer and an event planner? Does the event planner hire the catering company?

If you are asking yourself these types of questions, it is important to understand that the roles of a caterer and event planner are much different. However, they form a unique partnership, working together to deliver a memorable celebration or reunion for their client.

Continue reading to learn more about the differences between a caterer and an event planner, and how to get started on your special occasion preparations today.

Large Event Catering Peach Tree City 678-340-0510
Large Event Catering Peach Tree City 678-340-0510

Catering Versus Event Planning

It is true that in most cases, an event planner will take the lead with hiring the catering company. Once they have chosen the caterers they wish to work with, the partnership begins to form. From menu planning to on-site service, they work together as a team to create the best event outcome possible.

The Role of the Caterer

The catering company is in charge of all food and beverage preparation, service, and breakdown. They are also responsible for managing all on-site service, including chefs, bartenders, and waitstaff, as well as all necessary bar stocking, buffet or food station setups, and more.

This is all quite obvious, but here is where the confusion comes into play: you see, many reputable and large-scale catering companies also provide decoration planning and setup, vendor outsourcing for tables and linens and such, and even audiovisual equipment setup. So, if a catering company can do all this, what is an event planner for?

The Role of the Event Planner

The role of the event planner is more comprehensive compared to the catering company. They work more as a single-source of accountability, overseeing all event planning aspects, from budget planning and cost analysis to venue selection, theme or culture design, entertainment outsourcing, guest lists, invitations, seating arrangements, transportation, on-site parking, and all other event logistics.

How They Work Together

Event planners typically meet with the caterers ahead of the scheduled event. This meeting entails a detailed discussion on all aspects of the menu, service, and pricing. The event planner knows the specifications and unique needs of the occasion, allowing them to work with the caterer to create the perfect menu within the constraints of the budget. During the event, they will both work within their roles, while also staying in constant communication to ensure a perfect guest experience.

When you are planning a smaller event, you may only need to hire a local catering company to plan and manage the project. For larger-scale events like weddings, an event planner is a wise choice.

Are you looking for a local and trusted catering company for your upcoming event? Contact Food for Thought Catering at 678-340-0510 for superior large group catering in Newnan, Georgia and its surrounding counties. We cater social gatherings, weddings, large parties, corporate events, and more.

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Food for Thought Catering 678-340-0510
Food for Thought Catering 678-340-0510

The Importance of Alcohol and Bar Safety for Large Group Catering

Catering is a wonderful amenity to bestow upon friends at any celebration. Yet, there is much to think about when planning a large group catering event, especially when you are considering alcohol and bar service. Although cocktails and alcohol service is a great perk to have at any social gathering, there are many safety precautions to fully understand before planning a large group catered event with bar service.

Continue reading to learn more about the importance of alcohol and bar safety for large group catering events, and what you and your professional caterers can do to ensure your guests are fully protected and catered to.

Large Group Event Catering Atlanta Georgia
Large Event Catering Atlanta Georgia 678-340-0510

Professional Alcohol and Bar Service

Alcohol is the center piece, so to say, in most catered soirees. Without the alcohol, it is just not a party. To guests, alcohol service looks simple and easy, but the truth is, responsibility is a huge key item in the process of serving alcohol at a public or private event.  See, there are by-law and liability issues that most are unaware of, or neglect to consider prior to planning a catering event with liquor service. Catering companies are tied by very strict guidelines, so in actuality, there is a lot of work and planning for just this one element of your party.

Guest safety is the most important responsibility the host and catering company have.  There are several ways a host or catering company can get in trouble with alcohol at their event when it comes to the safety of the guests.  Here are some examples:

Serving Minors

Along with guest safety, comes safety and protection for minors.  There are laws pertaining to the drinking age, different state by state, but here in Indiana, the legal consumption age is 21 years old.  It is important to make sure the staff serving the alcohol understands minors will be attending the event, and to I.D. anyone who appears under the age of 35.  If a minor is served alcohol, not only will the host be given a citation to appear in court and face fees, fines, and possible jail time, but the catering company will be cited as well, which can result in a loss of their liquor license and fines.  It is important to be aware of the children and minors at any event, and to protect them from harm. 

There are different strategies that have been implemented in the past that make it easier to identify minors versus legal drinkers at a large event.  For example, a designated person or persons can ask to see photo I.D. of everyone at the door before allowing entry onto the premises.  Everyone of age will get a plastic snap-lock wrist band, marking them as legal drinkers. For minors, a large black X on both hands in permanent marker and no wrist band.  This is a quick method for bartenders and caterers to identify who can drink alcohol and who can’t, without the hassle of asking everyone to pull out their wallets with their photo ID every time they approach the bar.  There are flaws in the strategy to be aware of as well.  Teenagers are tricky, and they can sometimes find a way to rub the black X’s off their hands or tape a used wrist band back together, to appear legal.  This is a precaution to warn the catering company about, as well as the guests of children, before the party begins.

Over-Serving

Over consumption of alcohol is no stranger to anyone who has attended college, a football game, or a night club.  We have all seen the results of over drinking, and most of the time, it is not pretty.  One way for caterers to protect themselves, as well as the host or client, is to hire a “Serving It Right” staff.  This is basically any staff that has had formal training in responsible alcohol service.  By doing this, a huge burden is released from the hosts’ shoulders, knowing that everyone on staff is on the same page and understands how to handle alcohol related serving situations. They can notify the host if anyone has reached their limit and needs to be “cut off” from alcohol service. The catering company and its servers are there to protect both the host and their guests from over consumption and possibly hurting themselves or others. They are always the “sober” ones at events, and their judgment is always unimpaired.

Host Liability

If a guest has become intoxicated as a result of over serving at a catered event and then gets injured or injures someone else at an event or after leaving the event, the caterers, catering company, bartenders, and even the host will all share the liability if the accident results in a lawsuit. This has happened in the past, but is nothing to be concerned about if all necessary precautions and arrangements are made prior to the party.  As long as everyone involved in putting together the event understands the responsibility they hold when serving alcohol at an event, the party should run smoothly every time. 

Are you looking for professional catering service for your upcoming event? Contact Food for Thought Catering at 678-340-0510 for professional social event catering and large group catering services in Atlanta, Georgia.

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How to Select Alcohol Service for a Catered Event
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Food for Thought Catering 678-340-0510
Food for Thought Catering 678-340-0510