• Catering FAQs

    Welcome to our FAQ section. Please browse through our frequently asked questions and let us know if you have any other questions.

  • Catering for on-site cooking

    While a great deal of our preparations are done in our own kitchen, but if you want fresh, hot passed hors d’oeuvres and served sit-down dinners, we need to set up an on-site kitchen. Even some buffet dinners, depending on what you are serving, can require the use of a small kitchen area on site.

    Why is this the case? You’re not ordering pizza or take-out Chinese food, so we can’t just shove everything into a warming box and rush it to your site. This means that we need a place to make last-minute preparations to your guests’ meals before we serve them. Trust me, you don’t want to see what happens to hollandaise sauce or a delicate marsala during a crosstown commute. To get more information about this, contact a Just Catering professional to get a detailed quote for your own upcoming event.

  • What is the cost of a wedding caterer?

    Catering is one of the larger expenses associated with many weddings; it’s important to remember that you’re not just paying for the food when you hire a wedding caterer. You’re also paying for rentals, in many cases, and all of the visual touches that go into making a gorgeous dinner setting. You’re also paying for the time that your caterer’s office staff is putting into making your event perfect.

    While every menu is different, here are some guidelines for you to keep in mind when planning your wedding catering costs:

    • Buffet weddings – starting at $100 per person
    • Waiter served weddings – starting at $150 per person
    • Family style service weddings – starting at $150 per person
    • Barbecue style catering – starting at $75 per person
    • Catered stations – starting at $100 per person

    These prices are just starting points and do not include service charges, gratuity or tax. Also, the menus will vary in cost depending on the food and beverage items you want to offer. It’s good to have a basic context in mind, though.

    Call one of our event professionals at Just Catering today to get more of a specific idea of what your own event will cost. We can start with a particular budget and find ways to make your event memorable.

  • What questions should you ask a potential caterer?

    So, you’re thinking about having your daughter’s wedding, a family reunion, or your company’s holiday party catered. When you set up your appointment with an event professional, there are several things you will want to ask during your conversation?

    • What time are you arriving to set up the food?

    This is a question that your venue will need to know, because you are timing your rental of the space depending on when your vendors will show up – not when your event starts.

    • What time will you come back to clean everything up?

    Again, this will affect the cost of your event, because your rental time will not end until your employees have cleaned up the site. There is often a very expensive cleaning fee, if the venue staff has to do the cleaning. Make sure your caterer can return right after your event ends.

    • When do the rentals get dropped off?

    If your caterer is making arrangements with another outside vendor to have rentals delivered, this is a crucial question. If your event starts at 7:00, you don’t want the furniture showing up at 6:30 – but you might not want it showing up at 3:30 either. You’re going to need some coordination among your vendors for this to go off smoothly. This is an area in which hiring an outside event planner can be very helpful.

    • Are disposable plates and flatware included in the price?

    Generally no, but we do have all inclusive packages that include disposable plates and flatware and we also have green options.

    • Do you have flatware and place settings that are biodegradable?

    This is becoming more and more common among caterers, as clients are becoming more and more interested in having “green” functions. Just Catering does offer this; however, not every caterer in the Bay Area does, so if this is a priority for you, ask your event professional.

    • How many tables are required for buffet and other setup?

    Your venue coordinator will want to know this, too, because it will affect the amount of space that you need for your party.

    • Do the tables come with linens?

    This is definitely an assumption you don’t want to make, because there’s nothing worse than hosting an event and paying for crystal glassware and china place settings, only to have a room full of round tables with no linens. Make sure that linens are included – or that you order them if they are extra.

    • Do you coordinate the rentals of glassware and flatware, and other items?

    This is an area where most full-service caterers, like Just Catering, will be able to help you. However, you want to make sure that your caterer can. It’s a lot simpler for you if your caterer can handle this, and you can end up saving money combining fees.

    • Do you have gluten-free options?

    Again, most full-service caterers in the Bay Area will offer gluten-free options, but again, this is something you want to check before signing on the dotted line.

    • Who will be helping me on the day of the event?

    The caterer’s representative on the event day (also known as the captain) is someone whom you will want to be able to trust. It’s a good idea to make contact with this person before the event, so you two will have talked and have a general understanding of what you want on your special night.

    Remember – you’re the customer. Ask all of the questions you have – and if you have more when you get home, call and ask those too. Your caterer should want to please you and make your event a night to remember – for the right reasons!

  • Do we have any all inclusive catering packages?

    Yes we do. We have

    • Wedding packages
    • BBQ packages
    • Corporate packages
    • Bar service packages

    At Just Catering, we offer you customization. We do have some menus that other clients have enjoyed, and we’ll show them to you if you would like, but our forte is building a menu from scratch.

    That means that you can have a menu unique to your occasion – and to your tastes. Once you tell us what you want, we will give you a quote that we will stick to – and you will find that we are competitive with other Bay Area caterers that offer our level of service. And you can guarantee that you won’t feel like you’re being herded through like cattle on your special night.

  • What's needed to cater a buffet?

    There are different levels of service that go into providing a catering experience for our clients. Some clients who are having smaller events, in their own homes, just order the food and we deliver it. However, if you want us to cater a buffet for you, it will be a little more involved. Here are some questions that you will have to go over if you meet with our event professionals.

    • Do you want us to drop off the food – and let you use your own buffet setups?

    We can certainly do that, and for some of our clients that want to invest all of their budget in the food itself, instead of the logistical aspects, make that choice. However, that also means that you’ll have to be prepared to keep the food warm throughout your party, so you may have to invest in some of your own equipment.

    • Do you want us to drop off the food and buffet equipment, and then come back later to clean it and pick it up?

    This is a higher level of service, because you are using our equipment to store and heat the food at your venue. We’ll drop everything off and set it up for you – on your tables, or on rentals that you have brought in – and then come back when you are ready for us.

    • Do you want us to provide waitstaff and service your event for the duration?

    This is the highest level of service, and it also requires the least work from you. All you have to do is point us to the spot where you want the buffet set up, and we’ll come in and put everything together. We’ll serve your guests when they come through the line, and we’ll take everything down and then clean up after it before leaving.

    • Will you be needing a kitchen on site?

    This is less likely if you are hiring us to bring your food and either leave it with you or set the buffet up for you, but there are times where on-site preparation may be a necessity, depending on your food choices.

    • Will you need décor items?

    This will vary widely, depending on the venue, the occasion, and your own personal preferences. The bottom line is that, since we offer a full line of services, we can make your event a memorable one. Give us a call today!

  • Finding a banquet facility

    Finding a banquet facility can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of planning a major event, especially if you are putting together a to-do during the peak times of the year, because many of the most popular venues are very difficult to rent, unless you are planning months or even more than a year in advance.

    However, our event professionals know about every banquet facility in the Bay Area, and chances are we can find a venue that will make your event memorable. Here are some things that you might write down before coming in to meet with our event professionals, so that you will already have some of this in mind. This will help your event professional give you a range of choices for your venue for the big day.

    • How many guests? (There are venues that are perfect for 50 but would not do well over 100; there are others that can accommodate thousands)
    • Do you want to serve alcohol? (Some venues prohibit this)
    • What is your budget for the event? (Some venues are very costly and will leave you very little for food and beverages, let alone the entertainment)
    • Do you want an indoor or outdoor event?
    • What part of the Bay Area will be most convenient for your event?
    • What format should the meal be in? Buffet? Cocktail stations? A formal sit-down dinner?
    • Do you want to hire bartenders? How many bars do you want to set up?
    • Do you want to have a dance floor?
    • What is your entertainment going to be? Band? DJ?
    • Do you want audio and video recording?

    Knowing these sorts of things will help your event professional give you a number of sound recommendations for your venue.

  • What is full service catering?

    Full service catering means we handle everything – from start to finish. It’s not just about bringing in your food and clearing it away; it means that we can handle as many phases of the project as you need us to.

    Some of our clients come to us with the details of their big events already pre-planned. They know where they want to have their event; they know what they want to serve their guests; they know which band they want to hire. For these clients, we just handle the food and beverage portion of the night.

    However, we also have some clients who just come in with their eyes as large as dinner plates, with almost nothing in mind except for a date, or an available weekend. Maybe the man just proposed to the woman the night before, and they’ve decided to get married in five months, and they need help (have you ever tried to find a beautiful venue in the Bay Area five months out for a wedding?).

    Our event professionals can sit down with you and walk you through every step of the process. We can find other professionals to handle your other needs – rentals, bands, DJ’s, bartenders, event parking and security, and so on. We can even find the perfect venue for your event. When we say full service, we mean that you can come in and tell our event professionals what you want, and worry about nothing until it’s time to enjoy the big event.

  • Do you cater at ballparks?

    Yes! We do regularly cater at the following ballparks:

    • AT&T Park
    • Stanford Stadium
    • Oakland Coliseum
    • Cal State Berkeley
    • Santa Clara University

    Of course, these stadiums offer their own catering deals. You can arrange for typical stadium fare (hot dogs, barbecue, burgers, and even some healthier options at PacBell and Candlestick). However, the menus that are available are nowhere near as diverse (or delicious) as the ones that we can offer.

    Just Catering has built the relationships with these stadiums so that we can come in and set up our own catering as well. Our BBQ catering services will take your pre-game party to the next level. Also, all of the menus that we offer for corporate galas, weddings, bar mitzvahs, family reunions, and other events are available for stadium catering.

  • What is the catering service charge for?

    When you sit down with one of our event professionals to put together a package for your upcoming event, you may wonder what the “service charge” is for. Other companies call it a “coordination and production fee” or even an “event production fee.” It’s not sales tax, and it’s not a gratuity, because we list those items out separately. So just what is the “service charge,” and what does it pay for?

    Well, it doesn’t pay for the food and beverages for your event and it doesn’t pay for the staff who work at your event. The per-guest fee that we quote covers those items.

    Instead, our 18% service charge covers the back end costs that you don’t see. The service charge is for the event coordinator who handles the following:

    • entertainment
    • photographs – videographers
    • production/lighting
    • staffing
    • rentals
    • valet
    • decor
    • music
    • florals

    Still have questions? Contact one of our event professionals to get more information.