Whether you are catering a private event or a wedding, a contract should always be involved. A catering contract is an agreement between you -- the caterer -- and your client. It is important to create a solid contract that defines your duties to the client, but also the client’s duties to you. No matter what is on the contract, ensure that you and your client both have to sign, date and print your names on the contract itself.
One of the first things your catering contract should list is the name of the client, the date and time of the event and the location of the event. This information should be listed on the contract so that the client and you are agreeing to the terms of the contract for that said date. Ensure that the client’s contact information is also listed on the contract such as email address, phone number or fax number.
This portion of the contract should break down the costs of the event and what is being charged to the client. Items to include under costs are the minimum and maximum guest count, the price per person, the price per child guest, the type of service the client is ordering and the total estimated cost of the event that is being catered. In the event you charge overage fees for longer service hours or difficult transportation, those possible charges should be included in your contract as well.
Types of Service and Staffing
It is important for the client to understand how many servers he is getting for his negotiated price and the type of service he is ordering so that there is no confusion at the event. List on the contract what type of service the client is getting, such as a buffet, tray-passed appetizers or a sit down event. List on the contract how many servers, bus people and bartenders will be present from your company and list any charges for additional service members.
Menu and Beverages
A catering contract should have a complete breakdown of the menu the client is receiving at her event. Include dishes, appetizers and beverages on the contract. This will eliminate any confusion from a client having to compare an invoice later if she is not satisfied with her service.
Terms and Conditions
The final section of a catering contract should list the terms and conditions of the relationship between you -- the caterer -- and the client. List information regarding your liability insurance, the final date the client can make changes to his guest count or menu, and payment information. Break down payment information by the amount of a deposit due, the amount of the deposit that is refundable and when the final payment on the balance is due by the client. Outline your cancellation policy and whether a client receives a refund for canceling by a certain date.
Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.