Food is the centerpiece of every get-together. Nothing says a good time more than the mouthwatering comfort food of a good plate of BBQ. According to the 2017 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association’s consumer survey, this industry will see their business heating up all year long. However, choosing the right caterer can be a bit tricky. Here are five tips on choosing the best BBQ catering for your special occasion.

Ask For Recommendations

Ask family and friends if they know any excellent BBQ catering companies they would recommend using. Check Yelp for online reviews and the Better Business Bureau for any complaints. It’s also a good idea to contact your local health department to see if there have been any reported issues or complaints with any company you are thinking about hiring. Ask the company for references from previous clients.

Consider Your Event Needs

What kind of event will you be hosting? Will it be formal and need a company that offers plated dinners with white-gloved servers? Or will your event be so casual that paper plates and forks will suffice? The type of event you will be hosting will be a big factor in what caterer you choose.

Consider what services you will need. Will you need the BBQ caterer to food prep, deliver, and set up as well? Will you need trained staff on hand during the event? Knowing what kinds of services you need beforehand will help you determine which caterer will be best for you.

Find Out The Company’s Event Size Capabilities

You will need to know if the catering company you are considering is capable of handling your type of event. Some caterers only serve intimate gatherings while others specialize in serving larger crowds. You will need to find out a ballpark figure of what they would typically charge for your size event to see if they can keep within your budget constraints. You will also want to ask detailed questions about their presentation of the food they serve and what that will look like.

Taste The Food

One of the most important parts of choosing the right BBQ caterer is tasting the food they have to offer. Ask to schedule a tasting and sample all items you are considering. You won’t be surprised on the day of your event with food that didn’t live up to your expectations. Ask the caterer about any customized food options they may be willing to offer. Some of your guests may have dietary restrictions, so it’s a good idea to see if the caterer can offer gluten-free, vegan, or children’s menu alternatives.

Handle Contract Details

All the food items, beverages, and other services should be clearly listed in the contract. The contract should detail the menu that will be served during the event, the exact amount of food based on the guest size, and any fees for additional services. Make sure expectations are included as well, such as whether the dinner will be on fancy plates or paper ones. Also, have a discussion with the BBQ catering company about how many staff members will be on hand for your event.

Also, get written details about their cancellation policies. Are they willing to offer refunds on deposits if either you or the company has to cancel? Do they have event insurance and what does that cover? It’s important to discuss these difficult matters ahead of time because unforeseen circumstances do pop up and you don’t want to get caught unprepared.

Choosing the right BBQ food caterer will make or break the success of your event. Selecting the right BBQ catering service can be made easier by following these five tips. You’ll be able to rest easier knowing that your special event is in good hands with some delicious barbecue your guests will be sure to enjoy.