When outsourcing meals to a third party, pricing and quality should be top of mind. In the text below, we’ll explain how to can get both without compromising - and delight guests or employees with thoughtful, well-planned menus. Using Catering Food Calculators to Estimate Costs Most quality providers have free tools that help you predict how much they’re going to pay. These don’t have to be fancy - they usually consist of a simple excel spreadsheet - but if budgeting is important to you, these tools can help a great deal. In the event that a chosen provider doesn’t offer a calculator, let them know what you’re looking for - and what kind of budget you’re hoping for. Once they suggest several menu options, ask for a rough price breakdown; then tweak your selection to fit your needs. Money-Saving Tips To begin with, ask your catering service for a list of the equipment they need. A lot of the time, you’ll be able to cut costs by using the equipment at your office, home or venue for free instead. Second, ask your provider for calculations price breakdowns that include and exclude beverages, desserts, and snack foods. If the items are too expensive, consider going buffet-style and using disposable cutlery, without a caterer’s help. If these items are overly expensive, nix them. The #1 Budget Killer Overordering is a major budget killer most times anyone outsources food. The reason is simple: most hosts don’t want to save money when there’s a risk their guests or employees going hungry. So they order more food than they need - and waste a lot of it. Fortunately, the free catering food cost calculators that many providers offer can help you figure out perfect portion sizes. Unfortunately, they can’t help you figure out what people will want on the day of the event. One thing to can do is ask your provider which dishes have been the most popular in the past. Alternatively, ask a few of your colleagues or guests what their preferences are. This will be helpful in figuring out if you should go for chicken or fish, ice cream or cake, and so on and so forth. Jazzing Up Food When it comes to spending money on catering, “more” isn’t always “better”. The following inexpensive items will help improve food’s presentation and taste: Garnishing soups, salads, and hot dishes with fresh greens. Quality cutlery, which is usually available for rent. Visual elements, from ice sculptures to ambient candles. --- Now you know how to calculate (and save on) catering. To access a free calculator, get a free consultation, or more information, visit our website: catery.co.uk.