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Most people look at a catering contract as just a discussion of food, beverages, and decors written on paper. But it’s a lot more than that. This is a legal and binding written agreement that outlines the service expectations between you as the caterer and your client.

What is a catering contract?

A catering contract is a service agreement made between you and your client that specifies the details of a catering service that will occur over a specified period of time for an event.

As a caterer, you can use the catering contract template when you will provide food for a set CATERING CONTRACT TEMPLATESof people. Here are some situations where you can use this contract:

  • If you’re a restaurant owner and you want to provide your client with clear expectations about the food products and other services that you will provide for the event. You can also specify if you will provide the staff or other things like drinks, desserts, or appetizers too.
  • If a school without cooking facilities wants to provide an option for students to buy lunch.
  • If a wedding planner organizes a wedding rehearsal or reception.
  • If a company wants to provide meals for its staff for a certain event.
  • If an organization or plans to host a fundraising event.
  • If a family organizes a holiday dinner or some other get together.

Downloadable Templates:

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What are the two types of catering?

There is a very common misconception that catering only applies to dinner parties. With so many social events happening today, you can now entertain different types of gatherings that require the presence of formal food and beverages.

For instance, the event can be a business meeting where the management wants to provide their stakeholders and guests with catered meals. It could also be a family reunion where most members opt for catering instead of cook meals for their guests.

Hosts for events might lose interest in attending to their guests because their concern and focus will be on preparing meals. As a caterer, you can give the host a catering contract so that you will take care of the meals for them.

For those who feel overwhelmed with the work involved in the preparation of an event, you can come to a catering agreement if they hire you as a caterer. To create your catering contract sample, you may focus on these two main types of catering:

  • Corporate Catering
    This type of catering service allows the host to perform other tasks with the assurance that you will take care of the meals. This entails serving meals at different times throughout the event. For instance, for breakfast, you will serve savory sandwiches, pastries, and fresh fruits.
    Come lunchtime, you will serve hot meals with salads, soup, sandwiches, and other courses. The main factors to keep your businesses successfully going are timely convenience and reasonable prices.
    Of course, the catering business is not all about preparing and delivering meals. Depending upon the agreement with your client, you can also perform other tasks as part of your business. One important role you can engage in is to provide decorations for the event.
    As the owner of a catering service, you can include in your staff experienced professionals who will decorate the venue according to the client’s wishes. You can also coordinate with your client to know how they want you to serve the guests, arrange your waiters, clean up, and so on.
  • Wedding Receptions
    Throughout the years, wedding receptions have always been the specialty of catering businesses. For its success, this celebration requires a huge budget. Since weddings happen often, you may have already accumulated vast experiences on how to successfully handle a wedding reception.
    Because of the competition, you must acquire the services of other experts to help you out so that you can make sure that your clients will have a memorable wedding experience.
    Apart from the ceremony, the most anticipated part of the event is the scrumptious food served and the decorations – which you will provide. The success of an event partly depends on the catering service. You should deliver delicious food and beverages along with appropriate decorations.

How to make a catering contract?

The success of an event partly depends on your catering contract. Whatever the event is, the purpose of the catering contract for an event is to define the responsibilities of your catering service and your client. Here are some tips for making your own catering contract template:

  • Describe the services you will provide
    For an event to succeed, the catering agreement should include a detailed section that covers menu-related services and items. This will be your responsibility and this section includes:
    You should explain all of the agreed-upon food that you will provide in full detail in the contract. Aside from the main menu, include the appetizers, beverages, or snacks that you will serve beforehand.
    Alternates or substitutions
    The contract should provide any food substitutions that might become necessary, together with alternate dishes to accommodate guests who have dietary restrictions or food allergies like vegetarians, vegans, or those with kosher preferences.
    Food service type
    You should also provide the service of the food, whether it’s a buffet or a sit-down meal. How you will serve the food and beverages should be clearly specified in the contract.
    What to do with leftovers
    The contract should also mention provisions on how you will handle any leftover food and beverages.
    Staff details
    You should also cover this topic in the contract. Examples of such issues may involve dress code requirements, the ratio of catering staff to guests, and so on.
    Additional services or items
    The contract should clearly indicate what items or equipment you will provide like utensils, table linens, glassware, and more. There can also be extra services like the setup before the event and after-event clean-up. Define these in the agreement too.
    Payment schedule and fees
    The agreement should also specify the details on how the food and services that you provided will get paid for.
    Aside from the cost of each course that you provided for the main meal, the agreement should include provisions for matters like the hourly rate for your staff who worked during the event, fees for additional guests beyond what you expected, fees associated with food substitutions or food accommodations the guests require, any overtime or overage charges, or expenses for additional or extra services or food not included in the base price.
    A typical contract should also include a payment schedule. In most cases, you can require that your client make a deposit at the time they sign the contract, another payment at a specified time before the date of the event, and the final payment after the event after you have added any extra service fees or additional fees in the total.
  • Specify the terms and conditions
    Your contract should also include standard terms as conditions including:
    Basic details
    This refers to the basic information like names and contact details of the parties involved, the venue of the event, the date, and the time.
    Final date to make changes
    To prevent any conflicts, the contract should set a final date for any changes the client or event organizer will make like changes in the menu or the number of guests.
    Insurance details
    Although you should have liability insurance for the event, you can also request that the insurance of the event organizer provides coverage for liabilities related to the event too.
    Health and safety requirements
    It will be your responsibility as the caterer to comply with any health and safety regulations. As for the event organizer, they have to provide proof of any necessary permits or licenses. For instance, they might need a permit if they plan to serve alcohol in the event.
    Cancellation policy
    This should be clearly stated in the agreement and should include the amount that you will refund to the client should they cancel. The amount of the refund usually depends on when the cancellation occurs.
    For instance, your client can expect to receive more of their deposit back if they made the cancellation six months before the date of the event as against a cancellation made one week before the event.
    Breach of contract
    There is always the possibility that a well-intentioned contract would get breached by either one of the parties. The agreement should include a clause that deals with the eventuality of a breach, including provisions for matters like who will pay the legal fees if a breach occurs.

Factors to consider before hiring a caterer

After you a client has determined which category their event belongs to, they can start thinking about the different ways they can save money. When it comes to catering contracts, clients are in control of what they will order.

This may sound simple but because you will offer several options, it becomes easy for a client to overlook their budget. As such, they might end up with more food than they can afford or eat. Here are some pointers you can suggest to your client to save money and time when hiring your services for an event. Remind them to consider the following:

  • The total guest count
  • The delivery method of the food
  • Their budget


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