FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
WHAT DOES IT COST TO CATER A WEDDING?
Catered wedding receptions are complicated events, and their cost is driven by a long list of factors that differ on each event (it’s kind of like buying a car…lots of choices). The guest count, menu, reception length, beverages, bar, service, equipment, location and many other items have to be considered. The cost of the meal can vary from $7-25 per person depending on what products are selected. That part is easy. There are many more things that are part of a wedding reception that are typically part of the wedding caterer's service, however, and how these are handled has an impact on the cost of the event. Here is a list of the big items:
- On-site staff
While the per person cost for catering a wedding reception can range from $15-200…a large number of catered weddings end up in the $20-25 range.
Without planning the major elements of the event, it's difficult to zero in on a close dollar amount. The normal process most clients go through in planning catering for a wedding reception is to spend a little time with the caterer making decisions on how to handle all these various elements. With those decisions made, the client can receive a precise quotation.
HOW DOES TIPPING WORK?
It's not uncommon for people to assume that gratuities in catering are only for on-site service personnel, as they equate catering experiences to restaurant experiences. It’s a familiar frame of reference.
The catering business, however, is very different from the restaurant business in many ways, and with regard to tipping, every employee in a catering operation (other than management) is a tipped employee (not just those that bring the food to you or serve on-site…but also cooks, dish washers, drivers, equipment specialists etc.). The entire event, including food preparation and other behind-the-scenes activity is custom produced to your specs, and requires more skill than the typical restaurant occasion. Tips are pooled and shared by all that work on your event. It helps to attract and hang on to quality people (catering is much more difficult than operating a restaurant, and requires the best people for events to go well).
All that being said, however, Blue Moon Caterers does not mandate gratuities (unlike most caterers), and leaves it up to the client to do whatever he wishes.
how far out do we need to plan catering for our wedding reception?
Planning catering services for a wedding reception is driven much more by the client’s needs/schedule than any factor related to your caterer. Blue Moon Caterers has planned and executed large, complicated weddings with a lead time of two weeks…and others with two years lead time. Typically the only caterer-driven factor that impacts lead time requirements is the caterer’s availability on a given date. Blue Moon Caterers can handle a limited number of wedding receptions on a single date (typically 6-9 depending on size and complexity), and popular dates are often booked full many months in advance. While a client may not be ready to plan the wedding reception many months in advance of the wedding date, Blue Moon Caterers can be reserved for a specific date at any time by simply making a deposit ($500…non-refundable).
is it less costly to serve hors d'oeuvres than a meal?
Per person pricing on Hors d’oeuvres can vary widely based on what items are served, and whether they are served in quantities to serve as a snack…or to substitute for a meal (this is defined as “Heavy Hors d’oeuvres”).
As a general rule, serving Heavy Hors ‘d oeuvres is more expensive than serving a meal of comparable quality due to the raw cost of the type of products typically utilized, and the amount of hand labor needed to prepare them.
can you do family-style service at a wedding reception?
Yes…Blue Moon Caterers can handle almost any service system imaginable. These tend to fall in to these categories:
- Meals served on buffets. Guests choose what they want, and how much of each product they want.
- Plated meals
- Meals served Family-style (often called British Service). Platters of all the products are served to each table to be passed among the guests.
- Hors d’oeuvres served on single or multiple displays or stations (this can have a wide variety of configurations)…and can include Chefs cooking on-site. Hors d’oeuvres can also be passed (or “butlered”).
While family-style is a compelling and interactive service system, there are some logistical elements that often make this impractical, and your Blue Moon Caterers event planner can discuss these with you.
HOW DO CHEF STATIONS WORK?This is a fun, dynamic, and interactive way to entertain your guests where dining becomes the centerpiece of your event for a time. Imagine multiple locations within the venue where food is being prepared and served. Sometimes chef stations are themed by cuisine type…or by a certain type of preparation. Sometimes they’re random in the way products are assembled…but they’re always fun and delicious. Almost any type of product can be served this way, and every event is unique. Blue Moon Caterers has planned and executed hundreds of events with this service system and can help you create a custom approach to your event. Check out the Chef Stations menu on the menu page for some thought starting ideas.
CAN WE DO HALF OF ONE MENU, AND HALF OF ANOTHER?Yes…Blue Moon Caterers is a custom caterer, and happy to develop anything the client wishes to serve…but serving two menus is not as simple as it sounds. First, it’s impossible to predict which of the two menus might be more popular with the guests at a given event...so it’s unlikely that consumption will be evenly split between the two. This will lead to a “run-out” on the more popular products for many guests…something to avoid. Secondly, the more products that are presented…the more people consume. So…as a practical matter, if a client wants to serve two different menus…he should think of it not as a 50/50 split…but rather a 65/65 split. Thus, the cost of serving two different menus properly will be substantially higher than serving a single menu.
do you give a discount for kids?
Blue Moon Caterers recommends the following for planning for children:
- Ages 3 and under: Do not include them in the Guest Count. They don’t need a chair, plate, food or beverage. They’ll sit in someone’s lap and not consume enough to matter.
- Ages 4-12: Include them in the Guest Count…they need a chair, a plate, a beverage, and food. But…they consume less…so Blue Moon Caterers recommends that for purposes of the Meal Count, they be counted as 2/3 of an adult (example: 30 kids 4+ would be counted as 30 individuals for purposes of the Guest Count…but only 20 individuals for purposes of the Meal Count).
do you have a kid's menu?
Blue Moon Caterers has a wide variety of kid-friendly products: Fried Chicken Bites, Mac n’ Cheese, Veggie Sticks, Pizza...and many more…and is happy to produce something appropriate for these special guests. Be aware that if these products are served on the same buffet as the adults, it is virtually impossible to keep adults out of them (everybody loves Mac n’ Cheese!)…so preparing just enough for the children present will almost guarantee it won’t be available to them. Plan enough for the adults as well…or serve the kids separately.
do you bring extra food as a "buffer"?Urban myth: Caterers bring an extra 5%. Mythbusters busted this myth early on. Blue Moon Caterers prepares enough for the actual guest count contracted based on industry portioning norms. If a client suspects that his guests are big eaters…extra portions should be ordered to accommodate for this.
what equipment and power do i need to provide for you at my venue?As a general rule, Blue Moon Caterers is completely self-sufficient, and no power or equipment is needed. There are a few events where electrical power is required…and your event planner will advise you if this is the case. In most cases Blue Moon Caterers needs some work space outside of guest view, and closer to the event space is preferred. Sinks are really handy to have if available.
do you work outside wichita?Yes…Blue Moon Caterers will travel anywhere the client requests…though the further away, the more challenging and expensive the event (travel outside of Wichita requires extra travel fees). Blue Moon caterers has traveled as far as 320 miles from Wichita.
what do we do about leftovers?Most events have the potential to have “leftover” food. The client is more than welcome to take this with them at the conclusion of the event. BMC can provide leftover packaging at $35 or the client can provide his own. Blue Moon Caterers strongly recommends that the client bring a cooler in which to place the filled containers (and ice) in order to begin the chilling process right away, and provide better food safety.
how does a plated meal work?Plated meals are an elegant and sophisticated way to entertain your guests. Plates are assembled by kitchen staff in a space adjacent to the dining room, and delivered to the guests by a team of servers. Adequate and nearby space for plating the meal is required, and this is a service system where electrical power is needed. These events require substantially more staff than those with buffet service, and for events with more than 50 guests are typically more expensive to execute. There are many other elements of a plated meal that impact logistics and room set-up, and your Blue Moon Caterers event planner can discuss these with you.
CAN WE PROVIDE OUR OWN ALCOHOL?
Yes…Blue Moon Caterers is happy to work with clients in this way. There are no corkage or any hidden fees associated with this. There are many other elements associated with this that will need to be planned (cups, ice, mixers, chilling, transporting, and storage equipment), and your Blue Moon Caterers event planner will give you options for handling these components. Many times it makes sense to plan a collaborative effort with the client providing some things…and Blue Moon Caterers providing others. Blue Moon Caterers is licensed for alcoholic beverage service anywhere in Kansas.
WHAT ALL DOES THE CATERER NORMALLY DO AT A WEDDING?
Blue Moon Caterers is a full service custom caterer, and tailors its services around the needs of the client. Every event is unique, and what services are provided varies depending on client needs. All that being said…there are some norms, and typically Blue Moon Caterers does all or most of the following:
- Provides products, supplies, and equipment:
- Hors d’oeuvres
- Supplemental desserts
- Non Alcoholic Beverages
- Bar products
- Display equipment for food and beverages
- Provides services:
- Event planning and consultation
- On-site coordination with client, venue, staff, and other vendors to make sure event plan is properly communicated and executed
- Set up and tending of dining room and food and beverage displays
- Guest service…a wide variety of services including:
- Beverage service
- Buffet tending
- Special guest needs
- Cake cutting and serving
- Champagne toast
- Plating and serving the meals for the Bride and Groom
- Packaging leftovers
- Reception space cleanliness
- Tear down and clean up. Trash removal
Typically, in the absence of an Event Planner, the Caterer acts as the de facto Event Planner, and is the “glue” that holds the event together…making sure the event unfolds as intended, and often finds solutions for the numerous unexpected non-catering related problems that crop up at most such events.
CAN YOU DO GLUTEN FREE MEALS?
Blue Moon Caterers can handle any special dietary needs if planned in advance. Whether these are medical necessities, religious, or health preferences, Blue Moon Caters has dealt with just about everything imaginable. Vegetarian; vegan; gluten intolerance; nut, dairy, shellfish, and other allergies; Kosher, Halal, or other religious protocols…you name it…Blue Moon has handled it.
HOW MANY EVENTS CAN BLUE MOON CATERERS DO PER DAY?
Blue Moon has limits on its capacity, and the number of events that can be executed on a given date depends on the size, complexity, and location of the events. Blue Moon Caterers has executed as many as 10 weddings on a single day, but typically caps it at about 8 per day. Once a date has reached the limit on what can be managed properly, the date becomes “full”, and no more events will be booked for that date.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE FOOD PRICES?
The price listed in the menu for a given menu item is what is charged for the food only. Every event is unique, and not every client wants the same services or supplies…so packaging other supplies or services with food would create problems for those that don’t want these things. Thus, Blue Moon Caterers’ pricing model is a sort of a la carte system where the client only pays for the things he needs and selects.