Author Topic: Question on Catering  (Read 1812 times)

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StoutGirl

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Question on Catering
« on: February 18, 2014, 03:39:07 PM »
Hey everyone, I have a really random question that I should not be worrying about until if or when the time ever comes for me to have my own wedding.   ::)  But I am going to ask anyway.

Is it ever okay to hire more than one caterer at a wedding?

For a little more detail: Most of the people that I know are extremely unadventurous when it comes to food-meat and potatoes, and it is always the same caterer with the same food at every single wedding.  I, on the other hand, consider myself to be a bit of a foodie and I adore Thai food!  There is a fabulous Thai restaurant in my hometown that I would love to cater my dream wedding someday, though from what I have read, they have limited catering services.

If said dream wedding should ever occur in my hometown and Awesome Thai Restaurant is unable to cater for 200-300 people, but could do some of the food, is it okay to hire a second caterer (might not be the same one listed above) to take on some of the more "traditional" wedding food?   

SamiHami

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 03:41:58 PM »
I don't see why not. You would just have to be clear in your instructions and make sure the two caterers know about each other so there is no confusion.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

DavidH

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 03:45:24 PM »
I don't see why you couldn't, but I think there would be logistical challenges around how much food each one makes, how they divide the prep space, how they set up, and all sorts of things.  It's a long way of saying, I wouldn't, but I don't know that it is prohibited.

z_squared82

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 04:10:12 PM »
Make sure it's okay with the reception venue, too. They might have restrictions.

lowspark

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 04:30:12 PM »
I think it would be difficult logistically. How do you decide who gets Thai food and who gets "traditional" wedding food? If you just select those whom you think would be ok with the Thai food, what if someone you gave traditional to wanted Thai? If you give everyone a choice on the invitation (like some do with say, fish or chicken) then what if too many people pick Thai (since you say their capabilities are limited to smaller numbers)?

I think the more ideal situation would be to find one caterer who can do a varied menu for a large crowd.

So yeah, as far as it being OK, as long as the two caterers and the venue were ok with it, it'd be ok. But as far as how doable it would be? With what you describe, I think it would be very difficult and as a bride, probably not something you'd want to be fretting over.

Just as I was typing this all up, it occurred to me, you know what I'd do? I'd have Thai food at the rehearsal dinner. It's bound to me a smaller group. And maybe you could do some h'ors doeuvre which were more "traditional" so the less adventurous could fill up on those.

Zizi-K

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 05:04:24 PM »
So much of thai cuisine (especially the noodles) have to be made in small batches and eaten right away, or they clump up. Unless you want to do the curries, I'd skip it. The PP's advice to hire them for the rehearsal dinner is a good idea.

jmarvellous

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2014, 05:38:11 PM »
There's also the possibility of asking the Thai place to make plain or very lightly seasoned entrees and plain rice or noodles as an option in a buffet dinner, or serve sauces on the side. You could even grade the buffet as unspiced - mild - medium and include some basic/familiar salads along with the papaya salad or whatever you like.

(Says the woman who had nice pizza and salad for a rehearsal dinner and Mediterranean/Mid Eastern vegetarian food for her wedding and LOTS of finger foods and sweets all night long for people who weren't totally keen on falafel or spinach pie. We picked food we loved and knew was good, and people figured out what worked for them.)

Otherwise, I agree: That's what rehearsal dinners are for.

Lynn2000

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2014, 05:57:44 PM »
I think as long as the caterers and venue know and are cool with it, it's fine; it's just a business arrangement and as long as you are upfront and not breaking anyone's rules, why not?

But logistically, yeah, it sounds like it might be challenging. If you brought the caterers together they might be able to work it out. Or, start with the caterer you want most, and see if they have any ideas. Like, if the Thai caterer told you upfront that they can't do more than 100 people and they won't work with anyone else and they won't provide non-Thai food, that would have a big influence on your planning--either you conform to their specifications, or you don't use them.

I think it's something you could definitely investigate during the early planning process, but be prepared for it to not work out exactly the way you'd hoped. A caterer who can handle bigger volume and do a broad range of traditional and fancy dishes might be best for the reception. You could do Thai for the rehearsal, but if the people closest to you are also people who aren't adventurous, they probably won't be too happy with that option. I don't think I could get my dad to even walk in to a Thai restaurant, for example.
~Lynn2000

cicero

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2014, 12:05:55 AM »
For a little more detail: Most of the people that I know are extremely unadventurous when it comes to food-meat and potatoes, and it is always the same caterer with the same food at every single wedding.  I, on the other hand, consider myself to be a bit of a foodie and I adore Thai food!  There is a fabulous Thai restaurant in my hometown that I would love to cater my dream wedding someday, though from what I have read, they have limited catering services.

I wouldn't hire two caterers; especially for a big event, I would want *one* person/team in charge of everything and not have to coordinate between two food providers. But that's me.

What I would do, is approach the caterer you know and ask them about a more adventurous menu. You may find out that the reason they serve the same food at every event is because that's what the people want. They may be dying to serve spicy Thai food, or pungent Indian curries or aromatic morrican couscous but stick with roast Turkey and stuffing because that's what people want. And sometimes, even adventurous foodies serve more pedestrian food at their wedding because they know that not everyone likes thai food and they want to make sure that aunt Tillie will find something to eat.


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Please pass the Calgon

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2014, 12:30:01 AM »
Our nieces each did something similar at their wedding receptions. They are Persian-American and wanted food from both cultures. They hired a specifically Persian caterer and a regular one. The food was served buffet style (2 long buffet tables, both with the same mix of Persian & American food made for fairly fast moving lines), and there was tons of it. 

CakeEater

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2014, 07:24:18 AM »
I've been involved with a lot of professionals discussing providing cake for events like weddings. Many have a 'single-provider' clause where they won't provide cake if there's cake made by someone else also served. This for reasons of protecting their own reputation if the other cake happens to be awful and they don't want to be associated with it, or if they've provided gluten or guaranteed nut-free baking products and it gets mixed up with the other product.

Might be something other caterers.

shhh its me

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2014, 08:13:21 AM »
  You could , but everyone would have to agree and it could be really complicated.

Venues that provide catering (very common , at least here) I don't think will allow a second cater beside the baker (who delivery and they may have an approved baker list) So you'd have to start with a venue that allows outside caters and then the caters would have to agree to have a second vendor then someone has to manage how the resources are divided between the vendors.

 Even little things plates...cater one of course will not lend plates to cater 2 and/or cater 2 doesn't provide plates (ie the Thia cater provides 400 spring rolls in a tray ,limited catering )  so now you need to acquire coordinating plates for the spring rolls , people are trying to walk round with 2 plates during cocktail hour or ,  you have 2 caters serving tables or one cater walking around with apps and the other expects people to come to a station to get apps,   they'll need more then normal direction, clean up you have to get the plates back to the right cater or you if your renting one set.   There are a few ways to work it out you just have to be aware of the details.

Oh Joy

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2014, 08:40:45 AM »
I wouldn't ask two caterers to serve concurrent meals.  However, I would consider (in this case) hiring the common restaurant to serve dinner, then have the fun restaurant either cater appetizers during the social hour or later-night snacks during the dance.

And now I'm hungry.

LadyL

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2014, 09:34:42 AM »
I think if your contract with the venue and vendors allows for it, and you can make it work logistically, there is nothing wrong with it.

However another option would be to have the Thai place provide one option that is more palatable to the unadventurous eaters - maybe something like a plain chicken stir-fry with vegetables, with self-serve sauces on the side and white rice? Just because everyone goes with Usual Caterer doesn't mean that's the only good option that will make both you and your guests happy.

In my case, it is typically in my circles to get catering from a "red sauce joint" - i.e. Italian-American, so lots of pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce. I did NOT want to be in a pasta-induced food coma on my wedding day and neither did LordL so we declined that option.  I would say maybe 20 or so of our guests (out of 125) are not adventurous eaters, but another 20 or more had food restrictions, so we went with a caterer that specializes in dietary restrictions who also happened to be vegan.  We provided the option of ordering a custom meal directly from the caterer's kitchen for our guests so anyone who wanted things bland, without onions, gluten free, etc. could do so.  It actually went over really well - we got many compliments on the food, and the only people I'm aware of who grumbled about the lack of meat are the ones who grumble about something at every wedding ;).

Thipu1

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Re: Question on Catering
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2014, 11:19:19 AM »
Our nieces each did something similar at their wedding receptions. They are Persian-American and wanted food from both cultures. They hired a specifically Persian caterer and a regular one. The food was served buffet style (2 long buffet tables, both with the same mix of Persian & American food made for fairly fast moving lines), and there was tons of it.

Niece and her DH did something similar for their reception.  Most of the guests were fairly liberal in their food preferences but there were a few vegans and the MOG had some dietary restrictions for medical reasons.  It was a small wedding (about 60 guests) and they engaged two caterers.  One served Mediterranean food with a meat or non-meat option and the other was vegan.  There was even an alternative vegan cake available.

Every dish was clearly marked and there were servers on hand to answer questions by guests. 

Everything went well and there was plenty of delicious food.