Affordable Catering in Los Angeles
There’s a big difference between affordable organic catering and “cheap” catering. Going the cheap route can spell literal disaster for you and your next event. Not only will the food be subpar, so will the service. And the worst part is you might not even end up with enough food to feed everyone because cutting corners and going the cheap route just never ends well–especially in Los Angeles. With that said, you can still hire catering services in Los Angeles that are delicious, affordable, professional, and offer many catering benefits depending on what your needs are.
What to Look For in Affordable Catering
You can find excellent catering services, if you know what to look for, that’s delicious at an affordable price. The first thing you should evaluate is the type of event you are hosting and the size. This will help you decide whether or not you want full-service catering, limited service catering, or drop off catering. All have their own pros and cons, but one of the biggest reasons people choose limited service catering is affordability. With a limited service catering package, you are basically paying for the delivery, set up, and display of your food. With that said, full-service catering might be the best route for corporate events or a wedding.
This usually includes buffet tables, both clean up and break down, along with nice baskets, trays, displays, and platters that suit the mood of your event. The food is often already prepared off-site with different menus available. However, you will be responsible for everything on the front end that includes disposing of dirty dishes and glasses, etc. Limited service catering may be ideal for smaller events like business meetings, religious celebrations, or a casual social lunch or employee brunch.
Drop off catering is another option that’s more affordable. Your food is cooked off-site and delivered with attractive disposables. You may choose from a wide variety of specially-designed menus preset with different items to suit different tastes and dietary needs. Note that you won’t have help with service or cleanup. This type of catering may be best suited for more casual affairs like a company picnic or an informal business meeting.
There is also pick up catering although it’s not nearly as common. It can save you some money on delivery fees though, so it can’t hurt to ask if it suits your needs.
On the other hand, full-service catering includes more in the package. You might choose full-service for wedding catering, birthday or anniversary galas, or holiday parties. With full-service catering packages, you will often receive on-site cooking, so the food is served fresh and hot, as well as table service and bartending services if you elect to offer a bar. Your caterer will also take care of all set up at the venue, glass and tableware, linens, and other rentals, plus break down and clean up when the event is over. Full service also may include trash disposal. Many caterers will offer a variety of options to help you customize your catering package to suit your needs. Sometimes you can reduce costs by eliminating something you don’t really need.
Ways to Save on Catering Services
First, you want to decide what type of event you are planning. That will help you determine what kind of catering service will be best suited to your needs. Once you’ve decided on your event type, you can switch your focus to other factors that can impact your costs.
Number of Guests
This is the driving force behind your costs for catering in LA. You have to know how many people will be attending your event and eating so that you know how much food you need to cater. Knowing this number, even if it’s only an estimate, can greatly help your caterer in suggesting affordable catering styles and menu options to suit the number of guests you expect. Make sure you set a budget in advance and look for catering services that can fit within it.
Types of Catering
We’ve already discussed the what a catering company does. The next step is to decide which option fits your needs. Most caterers will offer all options, although occasionally you might find a caterer that is limited in what they are willing to provide as a service. If so, you may want to pass and keep looking.
Almost every caterer worth their salt will offer different upgrade options to take your event to the next level. This might be upgrades related to decor, to offer a chef on-site, as well as servers, bartenders, and even DJ’s through their relationships with other vendors. All upgrades are optional and not required, so discuss them with your caterer and see what you need and what fits your budget. You might find you can discard one service and replace it with something else so that your Los Angeles catering package is fully customized to your event and wallet.
Stick to Your Budget
It’s important to have that budget set in stone before you even start looking for a caterer. You can divide that number by the estimated number of people attending your event that will help you determine how much per person you can spend. This can help your caterer tailor their menu and service options to fit that budget. If necessary, consider whittling down your guest list, especially if full-service catering is what you really want. This can free up part of your budget to feed your guests in the style you want most.
If you care more about who is there and less about presentation, you might decide limited service catering or drop off catering is most ideal and a better fit for your budget. You can also be flexible with your date and possibly get a better price by choosing a date for your event that isn’t as in-demand. Just always have that final budget number in mind and don’t exceed it.
Whatever your event needs, there are ways to find affordable catering in Los Angeles. It may require a little extra planning and some flexibility, but it can be done and more importantly, done well.