Catering service booking procedures protect the vendor and the client. Vendors ensure clients will follow through with their commitment by having the client confirm the date, the number of guests, the menu and other event specifics. Clients ensure their banquet date is confirmed by meeting payment deadlines and also communicating their additional needs to banquet staff.

Meeting and Contract Review

A catering service has an initial meeting and a review of a contract with a prospective customer as part of booking procedures. A sales representative will review the terms and conditions as well as all aspects of the booking process while also discussing costs. Signatures from the booking clients are required and witnessed. The contract is given to the client and a copy is kept by the vendor.


A deposit is typically required when ordering catering services. A deposit may be required to hold a date and particular venue; depending on the vendor, this deposit may be required even before a contract is signed and the contract may be signed shortly thereafter. Copies of receipts for payments made are provided to the client.

Cancellation Fees

Deposits are typically not returned but cancellation fees may be administered. A cancellation fee is charged if an event is postponed. Other policies and booking procedures may be developed for situations where a client wishes to move but not postpone a date. A fee may be administered for date changes. (ref 2)

Food Deadline

Another procedure is setting deadlines for final food orders. Although a contract and other procedures dictate costs, deposits and cancellation requirements, it is always a part of the process to set a deadline when the final number of required meals and drinks is provided to the catering company. Weddings, parties, conventions and trade shows submit their final numbers three days before major events; they also provide updates on special meal requirements such as meals for those with diabetes, allergies or for kids.