Frequently Asked Questions
does being a custom, full-service, caterer
As a custom caterer
we create seasonal menus appropriate to our
client's taste preferences, budget demands
and theme considerations. Our "sample
menus" are only an initial indication
of our repertoire. As a full-service caterer,
we can plan and coordinate all aspects of
your affair. Our event proposal will encompass
all other aspects beyond food and beverage,
including all rentals, decorations, site
selection and layout, lighting, tenting,
valet parking and more.
is the process for planning an event?
After your initial
contact with our office, you will be sent
general catering information and sample menus
appropriate for your type of event. After
reviewing this information, call to arrange
an appointment with your event planner. Your
event planner will then guide you through
the planning process, culminating in a custom
proposal for your event.
far do you travel to cater an event?
We cater state-wide,
as well as in surrounding states. In this
period of rising gasoline prices, a fuel
surcharge applies to all events and will
be included in your proposal. Please note
too that labor costs will increase with increased
travel time. More distant events may also
involve special truck or van rental fees.
size of events do you cater?
do I need to reserve a date on your calendar?
As soon as you have
a specific date in mind, contact us to reserve
that date on our calendar. Some events are
booked a year in advance! Normally, we need
10 days advance notice to plan an event,
although some can be arranged in less time.
A $100.00 "save the date" deposit
will hold a date in advance of our custom
proposal. This deposit is non-refundable
if you choose not to proceed with your event.
Otherwise, it will be deducted from your
do I make a reservation?
you recommend a site for my party? How much
extra will it cost me?
We are an approved caterer at virtually all off-premise catering sites in the area. A partial list of these sites is given below. Note that different sites are unequally suited for any given affair and, understandably, have different rates or fees for use. Reservations for any site must be made well in advance of your event. We are happy to recommend an appropriate site for your event. Site reservation must be made directly by the client.
Partial List of off-premise catering sites in the area:
Horace Williams House
North Carolina Botanical Gardens
West End Public
The Century Center
Snipes Farm Retreat
Inn at Bingham School
The Inn at Celebrity Dairy
The Barn at Valhalla
Rock Quarry Farm
Shady Wagon Farm
Het Landhuis, Pittsboro
American Tobacco Campus – Bay 7
Doris Duke Center at Duke Gardens, Duke University
The Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University
The King’s Daughters Inn
The Freeman Center for Jewish Life at Duke University
North Carolina Museum of Life and Science
Durham Arts Council
The Trotter Building
Von Canon Hall, Bryan University Center at Duke University
The Atrium at North Pavilion, Duke University
North Carolina Museum of Art
Mordecai Plantation Home
may need a tent. Can you provide one?
We can arrange a tent
rental for your every need. When a tent is
used, we plan and diagram its orientation
at your site, table placements within, etc.
Typically, rental companies for tents bill
the client directly and require a 50% deposit
would like to have an event with a specific
theme. Do you supply decorations and other
items to suit the theme I have in mind?
Your event planner
can coordinate all aspects of your party
to suit a particular theme you have in mind.
Our approach is all-inclusive. From a custom
menu to style of food presentations, from
table settings (chairs, linen, china, serving
pieces, flowers, etc.) to site development
(enclosures, props, walkways, lighting, plants,
etc.), our award-winning custom catering
and décor services can surpass your
wildest dreams! From the smallest aspect
of your vision to large-scale prop construction
and dramatic visual effects, we direct all
our efforts to your wishes in creating and
staging a truly unforgettable affair.
of my guests are vegetarian. How will you
We are happy to provide
vegetarian or other dietetic menu choices
as needed to please your guests. Special
meals are normally billed at the regular
not too confident when it comes to selecting
the best wines for my party. How can you
Our wine director is
exceptionally talented in matching wine to
food and can recommend or select for you
the best wine in your price range. Our wine
prices (per bottle) are highly competitive
and we offer the added advantage of charging
you only for bottles opened, with no left-over,
you recommend a baker for a wedding cake?
Yes. We have several contacts
in the area we recommend highly. In addition, no
special labor charges apply for cutting and
serving the wedding cake.
you provide flowers?
We can order appropriate
floral arrangements within your budget or
can assist you in coordinating all floral
decisions. We work with many prominent florists
in the area. Most florists bill directly
to the client.
you provide entertainment services?
No. But we can suggest
a wide range of musicians and other entertainment
resource references available in the area.
beverage services do you provide?
Full bar services can
be provided for parties large and small.
By State Law we can only serve mixed drinks
when the client supplies the liquor. We can
recommend how much liquor to purchase for
any given event. With the exception of liquor,
we provide all other beverage needs. Beverage
costs themselves are billed by number of
bottles opened. We do not charge a corking fee
when we serve wine or beer supplied by the
client. There are no other special surcharges
for bartending when we serve mixed drinks
or other specialty beverages supplied by
I provide my own beverages?
Yes you can provide your own beverages although most clients find that unless they are getting a very good discount on the wine they are providing it is more reasonable and less work to get their beverages from us. We do not charge any corking fees if you do provide your own beer and wine.
you provide shuttle service or valet parking?
Yes. These services
are contracted through independent service
agencies. We are happy to coordinate these
services for your event.
can I expect to see in your proposal?
Our event proposals
itemize cost estimates per person for food
and beverage in addition to cost estimates
for labor, rentals, linens, etc. Changes
in the final guest count as calculated on
our proposal may affect stated cost estimates.
are labor costs determined?
All service labor is
billed by the hour, excluding deliveries.
Wait staff labor is billed at a minimum of
5 hours per wait, per event. Kitchen labor,
including lead chef and dish staff, are billed
only for service hours provided. Labor cost
estimates in our proposals normally include
travel time between our facility and the
any gratuities included in either my proposal
or final bill?
Gratuities are wholly
at the discretion of the client and are never
included in our proposal or on our invoice.
do I need to decide on a final guest count?
What happens if that number goes up or down
shortly before or the day of the event?
We require your final
minimum guest count five (5) business days
in advance of your event. This number will
be used to establish ordering quantities
for food, rentals, numbers of staff, etc.
After this final guaranteed minimum number
is given, we will make every effort to accommodate
increases to your final count made within
three (3) business days of your event, but
we cannot lower your final count for billing
purposes after the first deadline.
you have a contract? What does it include?
Our catering contract
is as follows:
TERMS & CONDITIONS: Signatures below acknowledge that The Catering Company will provide catering services as specifically detailed in the proposal above. Food and Equipment Rental costs listed in this proposal are estimates only and may vary as the details of the event change. Beverage and Labor estimates may also vary. Changes to the above information are possible and will be agreed upon by the client and a representative of The Catering Company no later than five (5) business days prior to your event.
Your final guest count is due five (5) business days prior to your event and will not be decreased after this date for final billing purposes by The Catering Company. The final guest count may be raised no later than three (3) business days prior to your event. In the event of a necessary increase within three days of your event, our staff will make all possible arrangements to accommodate additional guests, however additional service fees may apply in the form of vendor delivery fees and food procurement and preparation fees. The client will be financially responsible for any increased cost for rush orders required to acquire products or services necessary to accommodate increases in the final count made less than three (3) business days prior to your event.
If you wish to include service of liquor at your event, these beverages must be provided by the client and delivered directly to staff of The Catering Company (not event site staff at public venues) at the event site 90 to 15 minutes before service. All liquor must be removed from public venue premises by the client at the conclusion of the event.
A $100.00 deposit and signature of this contract is required to secure our services for this event, with 50% due two months before the event date and the balance due on the last business day before your event. Any necessary adjustments will be billed approximately two weeks following the event. You may make payments by check or credit card (VISA MC or AMEX).
In the event of cancellation or re-scheduling, the client agrees to remit for any irretrievable material and production costs incurred for the event. Hold the date deposits cannot be returned. Other deposits will be returned
minus any costs just described.
you carry liability insurance?
Yes. A Certificate
of Liability Insurance can be provided to
you if necessary.
you require a deposit?
We typically request
a deposit of 50% of the total cost estimate
presented in our proposal when a contract
is finalized. Corporate and University clients
may qualify for a deposit waiver.
you accept credit cards?
We accept VISA, MasterCard and American Express credit cards as well as payment by check.