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Catering FAQ

HOW MUCH FOOD DO I NEED????

Trying to determine the amount of food you will need for a party is always a challenge. There is no exact science it is more of an educated guess.

There are many variables to consider when planning the amount of food needed for a party. Start with the time of day you will be hosting.   If it is early in the day or at a time not normally considered a "mealtime" then a light offering should suffice. If it falls during a mealtime, then you should offer enough food to provide a meal. Breakfast is usually served until 11am; brunch from 11am until 2pm; lunch from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm; tea from 3pm to 5pm; cocktails and dinner from 5pm until 9pm.  The length of your event will also play a part, the longer the party the more food will be required. The richness and popularity of the menu selections will play a part. Guests will eat more of the lighter selections, and they will definitely eat more peeled shrimp, than ones they must peel themselves. The guest list itself will factor into the decision as usually men will have a heartier appetite than the women. If young children are included, they might not eat a bite, or they could take more food than several guests could consume. I often suggest that if there will be more than a few young children attending, you offer a children's buffet such a chicken nuggets, fries, and fruit etc. This way they can eat early, and the pickier adults will sometimes graze at that table too!

Cocktail party guidelines to consider:

  1. It is better to overestimate rather than underestimate your food needs so that no one goes home hungry.

  2. The more popular an item such as crab or shrimp or prime rib you should either provide more of these items or skip them altogether. Yes, skip them if you are uncomfortable with offering a bounty of them. Guests will not miss what they don't see but can be rather bitter if they are "cheated" out of an item that someone before them took lots of!

  3. You can always fill in with a crudité or fruit platter. These are items that the guests can get anytime so they usually do not end up consuming these platters in a rush.

  4. The wider the variety of finger foods you have, the less of each you will need. Or, you can choose fewer selections and just add more of each.

  5. Each guest should at least have 2-3 bites of most selections. This way they are free to have another! It seems best to have at least 2-3 bites per guest of the entrée selections, 1.5 -2 bites of vegetable selections, 2-3 bites of cheese, and at least 4-5 or more bites per guest of highly popular items such as mini crab cakes or shrimp.

Hors D'oeuvres
•4-6 bites when preceding a meal.
•10-12 bites per hour when hors d'oeuvres are the meal.
•The longer your party and the larger your guest list, the greater the number of selections you should offer.

Number of bites per person times the number of guests divided by the number of hors d'oeuvres varieties being served.
Cocktail parties offer a nice variety of foods and are usually more expensive than a meal because of the time and labor involved.

Buffet Dinner Guidelines:

  1. It is better to overestimate rather than underestimate your food needs so that no one goes home hungry.

  2. Offer a few hors d'oeuvres before the meal during the cocktail hour. You need only offer 4 -6 bites per guest if it is only an hour in length.

  3.  Buffet meals consist of an entrée (meat) serving, a starch, a vegetable, a salad, and bakery roll.

Guests will want to try some of everything you offer. If you decide on 3 entrée selections, the guests will want to try some of each which will lead to needing to order more food than normal for the guest count. We highly recommend picking two entrees and the guests will be able to try a half serving of each. The same goes with sides, if you offer two starches or two vegetables, they will want to try both. Unfortunately, the guests do not normally edit their helping sizes of side dishes, so they end up taking a normal serving of each, requiring double the amount of both sides and adding to your costs. To avoid this, we recommend choosing the same starch and vegetable for both entrees. 

Plated Meals:
These are often the most expensive way to go as you will need additional servers to get all meals plated and served in a timely fashion. Time, space and kitchen layout can affect a plated meal along with waitstaff. If you do decide to go this route than 3 entrees are fine as the guests will make their decisions ahead of time. However, we have seen more than one guest be envious of the choice the person sitting next to them made! With all of that being said. It is your day; your party and we will do it your way.

DO YOU OFFER TASTINGS???

No, in an ideal world, if we had a restaurant and were preparing all of our items daily, we would offer tastings. Unfortunately, we are not in an ideal world. Our food is prepared to order, not frozen and ready to go. It is not reasonable for us to try to prepare small samplings of the foods we offer. A small tasting is never a true representation of what you will receive at a large function. We have been doing this for over 31 years and we stand by our reputation. I urge you to look through our event pictures and read our customer reviews. Our food tastes as wonderful as it looks! 

CAN I CREATE MY OWN MENU???

Yes of course, absolutely! We have been in this business for many years, and we can make most anything. Our menu selections are guidelines, please feel free to choose the menu you that makes you happiest!

CAN YOU PROVIDE VEGETARIAN MEALS???

We prepare everything to order so we certainly have a variety of vegetarian selections. Please let us know of any other dietary restrictions, or food allergies and we will work with you to plan a menu suitable for those needs.

WHAT SERVICES DO YOU OFFER???

Our quoted prices are for food only. Our food is prepared to order and delivered fresh, hot and ready to serve. Service is additional. We can drop off the food at your event, we can drop off and set-up the food and pick up for your event, we also offer various levels of service staff. When we provide staff, the charges start at 20% of the order and go up in price from there depending on the number of servers and the hours they will be needed. For buffet service they help handle the buffet line and they will serve the bride's table and any elderly guests. They will monitor the hors d'oeuvres table and keep it refreshed, they will try to make sure the meal is served at its prime, assist with serving and clearing and packing up leftovers. They stay until the food is cleared. Service is highly customized due to type, location, menu, etc. DUE TO COVID-19 we insist on the use of disposable dishes, etc. to prevent the spread of germs. Service is tailored to each event and sometimes unavailable.

HOW MANY SERVERS WILL BE NEEDED AT MY EVENT??? 

Service is tailored to the needs of each event. We will assist with serving, clearing the tables, and cleaning the service/prep area, to leave it as we have found it. The ratio of server to guest is determined by how formal and complicated the event is. Depending on your specific event we will suggest the minimum number needed. Our servers are most helpful and will do their very best to make your event run smoothly. For any event requesting service we require a minimum of two servers.

DOES YOUR STAFF WEAR UNIFORMS

Our professional staff will be dressed in black and white with black aprons. They will be neat and clean and ready to assist with your event.

CAN YOU PROVIDE VEGETARIAN MEALS??

We prepare everything to order so we certainly have a variety of vegetarian selections. Please let us know of any other dietary restrictions, or food allergies and we will work with you to plan a menu suitable for those needs.

WHAT IS DROP OFF SERVICE???

This involves bringing the food and setting it up and returning later to pick up our catering equipment. There are no servers. A delivery and pick up fee are charged. The fee is based on the delivery area and size of the event. After hours pick up or out of area delivery charges will be additional.

DO YOU PROVIDE PAPER GOODS, CHINA, LINENS???

We DO NOT provide disposable plates and silverware, paper napkins. We do not provide china or linens. This is the responsibility of the host of the event. We usually provide the food in our chafing dishes with serving pieces and return after the event to pick up those items. 

IS THE LEFT-OVER FOOD AT MY EVENT MINE TO KEEP???

The client make keep all leftover food if the catering manager on site agrees that it is still safe to consume. We reserve the right to remove and discard any food not eaten by the end of the event. We are happy to box up leftovers if requested. If you or a guest takes the leftover food, it becomes your or the guest's responsibility for proper handling and refrigeration.

Baxter's Gourmet Catering waives any responsibility for any leftover food.

WHAT HAPPENS IF   I CANCEL AN EVENT???

Deposits are considered NON-REFUNDABLE and will be applied to your final bill. 

A reservation fee of $300 is required to save your date, it is non-refundable because we reserve that date on our calendar for you. The food deposit of approximately 50% is due within a month of booking. If you must cancel if we have time to re-book, we will refund that deposit (request must be in writing and at least 90 days prior to your event). Refunds will be determined by the date of cancellation compared to the function date. No cancellations within 60 days of the event.

DO YOU PROVIDE WINE OR LIQUOR???

We are not licensed to sell beer, wine or liquor. Therefore, we do not offer any bartending services.

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