The Best Questions to Ask a Caterer About Bar, Beverages & Servers


Bar, Beverages & Servers

You’ve finalized your menu and the type of food you’ll serve at your event.  Ask your caterer to help you with bar selections and beverages to compliment your menu selections.  You may opt to host a full bar with assorted types of liquor or limit the bar to beer, wine, and one or two “signature” cocktails.  A signature cocktail is a great way to save money and still serve a fun cocktail that ties in to your overall event theme.  For instance, a Mexican fiesta would be great with refreshing margaritas or sangria.  There are limitless signature beverage options and your caterer should be able to help you create one.  Ask these questions when creating your event beverage plan:

  • Do you provide alcoholic beverages and bartenders?
  • Do you have a liquor license?  If not, do I need to have one in order to serve liquor at my event?
  • Can you accommodate specialty cocktails?
  • What brands of alcohol will be served?
  • Can we provide the alcohol and you provide the bar labor only?
  • Do you charge a corkage fee if we provide our own wine or champagne?
  • How do you charge for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages?
  • Is the champagne toast after the ceremony included in your meal package?
  • How long will alcohol be served?
  • Is coffee and tea service included with the per-person meal charge?

NYFC Spring Cocktail sized

Request a signature cocktail or two.  This adds a personal touch to your event and can save on beverage costs.

May I take your plate?

Good, professional service is almost as important as the quality of your event’s food.  Most caterers outsource their event staff but a busy caterer will often employ reliable, professional team members that they have trained to their specifications.  Here are some important questions to ask regarding servers:

  • What is the ratio of servers to guests?
  • How long will it take from first guest served to last?
  • How will the bartenders and servers be dressed?
  • Are the servers your employees or are do you hire them from another company?
  • Have they worked with you on other events?
  • Should I tip the servers?
  • Will someone be onsite to manage the servers?
  • Do I have to feed the servers?

Full Service Catering

How do you want the food served at your event?   Options include tray passed, buffet-style “stations” or the meal served to guests seated at tables.  

Up next on “Questions to Ask a Caterer” blog series ~

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