Planning Tools & FAQ's
LOOKING FOR A CATERER BUT DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START? CONTACT US TO GET STARTED ON YOUR CUSTOM
EVENT MENU PROPOSAL!
Q: Are you a full service caterer?
A: Yes!! We assist each client from start to finish, customizing a menu proposal to include the food, catering and bar staffing, rental order management (at no extra cost!), placing your alcohol order with Gordon's Fine Wine for consumption bars and assist in guiding clients with selections and quantities, creating floor plans, detailed timeline creation, on site walk through at your venue, and we also offer an optional day-of coordinator package! We take the stress out of wedding planning!
Q: Do you offer a day of wedding planner?
A: Yes!! The co-owner / Event Director's background is in wedding and event planning and has realized that offering this in house package is a huge value to our clients and peace of mind that everything will be set-up and broken down and that your day will flow seamlessly! Click click here to learn more about this package! We highly recommend each client hire a wedding planner or day-of coordinator regardless if you take advantage of our in house service. We love planners and can happily suggest a list of fabulous full service planners!
Q: I see on your website the menus stat at $30pp - are there additional fees?
A: Yes, we do not offer package pricing as we like to customize each proposal for the client's specific needs. Our website pricing is for food only since the staffing, admin fee, suggested gratuity, estimated rentals all vary based on the venue selected, what the venue offers for their in house inventory/ kitchen on site and the the each service style (cocktail party, buffet, plated, family style or stations) all require different staffing based on the final guest count.
Q: Do you have any minimums:
A: Yes, we do have food and beverage minimums for full service events:
(includes food and non-alcoholic beverages ONLY and does not include staffing, rentals, admin fee, suggested gratuity day-of coordination or any other fees)
Friday / Sunday evenings May - December: $3,000 minimum
Saturday evenings May - December: $4,000 minimum
Holiday Weekends: $5,000 minimum
January - April we have a little more flexibility during our non-peak season
Q: What is your average menu cost per person?
A: This is tough question we get since we customize each and every menu based on our clients needs! Some clients are just looking for a an upscale lunch buffet, where as other clients are looking for a full service reception experience, some venues offer kitchen equipment where as others require us to rent ovens, tables and chairs. To give the best "average" we usually start at the following minimums for events during our busy season and have more flexibility during the off season:
Buffet dinner w/ cocktail hour: 5 hour event, 4 passed hors d'oeuvres, buffet dinner, full service catering and bar staffing, including 2-3 hours for set-up and 1 hour for break down after your event (includes all food, catering and bar staffing, taxes, suggested gratuity, admin fees, estimated rentals) This would equate to a 8 - 9 hour event venue rental - Starting at $100pp
Plated dinner w/ cocktail hour: Option above however for a plated dinner instead of a buffet - Starting at $125pp
Cocktail Stations w/ cocktail hour:Option above, however for a cocktail stations dinner menu instead of a buffet - Starting at $150pp
Cocktail Party: Combination of hand passed appetizers, table hors d'oeuvres, bar set-up and staffing vary based on guest count - Starting at $50-$65pp and up.
Q: When should I book my caterer?
A: We suggest booking your caterer as the next step after securing your venue and event date. For weddings we are booking 6 months - 1 year out and for corporate events we book 1 - 6 months in advance typically. We also find that clients reach out when they are interested in a few venues that do not offer catering services so that they can see the bigger realistic picture of where their budget would be if they selected a particular venue.
Q: Do you offer tastings?
A: Yes!! We offer a private tasting that includes the majority of the items on your custom menu proposal! This is a very personalized experience where you join us in our Natick, MA tasting room. We can accommodate up to 5 total in our tasting room. Tastings are $150 for 2 people, additional guests are $50pp. Should you feel we are the right fit for your event, the $150 tasting fee goes towards your deposit! So essentially its a free tasting if you love us!
Q: What do you require for a deposit? Do you hold dates?
A: We do not hold dates until we either:
Option #1: we receive your tasting payment of $150 (we will hold your date for up to 1 week after your tasting)
Option #2: We receive your deposit of $1,000 to hold your date. At which point we still invite you in for a tasting at a date that we both have available and agree upon at no charge for 2 people. The additional $50pp for up to 3 guests still apply.
Q: What forms of payments do you accept and payment schedule work?
A: We prefer e-checks (ACH transfer) through our secure invoices, however we do accept mailed paper checks or cash. We do accept credit cards however there is a 4% online payment convenience fee when processing credit cards added to your final invoice.
Payments are usually broken into 4 - 6 installments that we both agree upon:
Non-Refundable Deposit #1: to hold your date
Deposit #2 - #4, automatic invoice sent every 2-3 months
Final Guest count: Due 14 days prior
Final Payment: Due 7 days prior
That way your invoices are spread out, manageable payments and not a huge balance due upfront or the week of your wedding. Easy and hopefully stress free!
Q: When is our final guest count due?
A: Your final guest count is due 2 weeks prior to your event. We ask that you separate your count into: # adults / # kids / # vendors. Please also include info on any allergies, dietary restrictions or special meals, the guest's name and table number where they are sitting.
Q: Can you accommodate allergies, dietary restrictions, kids meals and special requests?
A: Yes!! We like to plan ahead and account for any special meals in your menu proposal but know sometimes we will not find out until you receive your r.s.v.p's back. We offer gluten free, dairy free, nut free, kids meals and we can order special kosher meals that will be charged accordingly on your invoice. We will also note any guest allergies to shellfish or other foods on your menu and do our very best by sanitizing and switching prep gloves when preparing your menu items. Please note we are not a gluten free kitchen, therefore we can not guarantee that gluten particles are not present in our prep environment.
Q: Can you cater events at venues that do not have a kitchen onsite?
A: Yes!! We are very familiar with working at venues, private homes, fields, warehouses, etc... that do not provide cooking equipment. This is something we always ask during our initial consultation call to learn more about you and your venue / event set-up and timing so that we estimate the correct rentals, staffing and provide a realistic budget for your event costs.
Q: Do you offer discounts for non-profit / fundraising events?
A: Yes, we do sponsor a few fundraising events a year and offer discounts to non-profits if you we have the availability and budget to do so. Please inquire if you have a special event you would like Cava Catering to be a part of by
e-mailing Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Do you have a timeline we should expect to get things done during the planning process?
A: Yes! We like to help set our clients up for success and we send multiple checklists / templates throughout the planning process. This helps set realistic expectations and helps our clients know the timeframe they should have certain items completed by.
Here are a few items we send to clients:
Initial inquiry: We always try to reply within 1 business day to your request via e-mail to set-up a quick 15-30 min phone consultation to learn more about your event and catering requests.
After the initial consultation call: We provide a customized or sample menu proposal based on your request with as much information as you can provide at that time within 24-48 hours of our call.
60 day checklist: includes rental selections (tables, chairs, linen, china, flatware, glassware, cooking equipment, lounge, specialty decor, etc...)
30 day checklist:
Alcohol order template (we guide you through the ordering process and help place the order, however if you select our consumption bar option, you would then call the liquor company directly to place your credit card down for the deposit. You will then be charged the balance once the returns are picked up and accounted for from your venue following your event.
Diagram coordination, the client sets up an account on all seated as a "host" and shares the account with Cava as the " Caterer" to be able to design your floor plan.
Finalize your timeline (we create a sample timeline in your initial proposal to help estimate our staffing needs)