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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 09-09-2008, 09:18 PM   #1
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I am needing to detail out out my catering contract more. Everything has gone great for my gigs contract wise until recently. There was a miscommunication. She assumed that I was providing bottled water. I explained to her that comes at additional price. However, my explanation was after the event. In the midst of the event, I went to fetch water for her guests. This what not good as I were in need elsewhere. There were a few other mis-communications based on assumptions. So, I own some responsibility as it was not spelled out completely in the contract. It would be easy to just blame the client, but that would not help enhance my business! Unfortunatley, you got to make a few mistakes to learn and improve.

So, here is a contract I purchased. I downsized this one and I am going to re-institute from this point forward. Truth be told , I am going to hate to have to make it more than 2-3 pages.

Feel free to share a contract. I am sure I am not the only one that needs to do some tinkering, I hope, lol

CATERING CONTRACT
Name:

Address:

City, State/Prov, Zip/Postal:

Contact Person (if company):

Phone:

Fax:

Email:

Date of Function:

Time of Function:

Location of Function:

Type of Function:

Guaranteed Number of Guests (include all persons who will be attending, e.g. ministers, photographers, musicians, etc):

Menu Preferences:





CONTRACT PRICE:
Food Total: $
Liquor Total $
Equipment Rental: $
Linens: $
Flowers, Candles, Centerpieces: $
Bartender (if required): $
Other: _____________________________________ $
Sales Tax (__%) $
[GST (7%)] $
Gratuity (___%) $
TOTAL OF CONTRACT: $####.##
Less service fee (paid) $
Less additional deposit(s) $
OUTSTANDING BALANCE: $####.##




Terms & Conditions

1. Customer understands and agrees that [Caterer] charges a service fee of $###.## to reserve [Catererís] services for the above date. Cancellations must be in writing and must be received no later than _______ [days/weeks] prior to the event date. Any cancellations received after that time will result in the forfeiture of the service fee.
2. The contract price must be paid in full no later than ___________ days prior to the event date. Payment may be made by cash, cashierís check or credit card. The $###.## service fee will be applied to the contract price.
3. Customer agrees that if the actual number of guests is less than the Guaranteed Number of guests entered above, Customer will still be charged for the Guaranteed Number. If the actual number of guests is more than the Guaranteed Number entered above, Customer will be charged at [Catererís] established rate of $##.## per person for each guest over and above the Guaranteed Number.
4. _______ of [Catererís] employees will be provided and will be in attendance from ___________ a.m./p.m. until _________ a.m./p.m. If any of [Catererís] employees are required outside of those hours, Customer will be charged an additional $##.## per hour (or portion thereof) per employee.
5. [Caterer] reserves the right to substitute items (including but not limited to food and flowers) that become unavailable in the market or that exceed reasonable market prices. [Caterer] will make best efforts to notify the client of such substitution(s) if time allows.
6. Any changes to the menu or special requests by Customer must be made in writing no later than _____ [days/weeks] prior to the event date.
7. [Caterer] and/or its agents shall be liable for any damage to or loss of property entrusted to its employees. Customer shall be liable for any damage to or loss of property rented to Customer which may be caused by Customer, Customerís family, guests or invitees.
8. In the event of cancellation due to fire, flood, hurricane or other natural disaster, Customer will be given an opportunity to reserve [Catererís] service for another date within the next ______ months, subject to availability.
9. Refunds on cancellations due to extenuating circumstances will be considered on an individual basis and are made at [Catererís] sole discretion.

I agree to the above terms and conditions.




Signature of Customer Date





Catering Contract Worksheet

Contract Date:

Customer Name:

Name of Organization:

Billing Name:

Billing Address:

Estimated Number of Guests:

Final Guaranteed Number of Guests:

Event Date:

Serving Time:

Event Location:

Menu:





















Check Appropriate Box:

Caterer to Provide:
Customer to Provide:
Tables


Chairs


Tablecloths


Napkins


Centerpiece


Flowers


Candles & holders


Other (specify):








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Unread 09-09-2008, 11:11 PM   #2
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Just noticed my contract is a bit scrambled. Here is the word documemt:
Attached Files
File Type: doc CATERING CONTRACT.doc (57.0 KB, 485 views)
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Last edited by big brother smoke; 09-09-2008 at 11:28 PM..
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Unread 09-09-2008, 11:25 PM   #3
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I'll try the attachment...

Zearing Contract.doc

Zearing Attachment A.doc
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Unread 09-09-2008, 11:36 PM   #4
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That's a good looking contract, very easy to read and understand. I decided to separate the "who provides what" section into a different attachment to the contract. I think both caterers and customers can get lost in the legalese of a contract and miss some details.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 12:12 AM   #5
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I'm not a caterer...and maybe I missed reading it, but should the issue of "leftovers" be addressed? Who owns the leftovers? If the customer owns them...there is a chance they could hold them at an improper temp for hours after you left the premises...folks could get sick. It would probably be best to explain up front that temperature sensitive products that are not consumed while you are in control, will LEAVE with you. You'd have to smooth it over so they didn't think you were somehow going to resale or give the product to your personal friends, etc... maybe go with "I'm trained/certified to provide a professional service to you and your guests, please understand that to honor my promise of professional service it is necessary for me to package up and remove leftovers"...maybe promise to donate leftover meat items to a local animal shelter (if the shelter would accept it?). You could also tell your customer, if he or she wishes, you could call the guests up for "seconds" 30 minutes before the end of your scheduled gig? Just throwing stuff out there...
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Unread 09-10-2008, 06:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caseyjoenz View Post
I'll try the attachment...

Attachment 18968

Attachment 18969
I like the Attachment A letter. Spells out some details.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 06:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butt Ugly View Post
I'm not a caterer...and maybe I missed reading it, but should the issue of "leftovers" be addressed? Who owns the leftovers? If the customer owns them...there is a chance they could hold them at an improper temp for hours after you left the premises...folks could get sick. It would probably be best to explain up front that temperature sensitive products that are not consumed while you are in control, will LEAVE with you. You'd have to smooth it over so they didn't think you were somehow going to resale or give the product to your personal friends, etc... maybe go with "I'm trained/certified to provide a professional service to you and your guests, please understand that to honor my promise of professional service it is necessary for me to package up and remove leftovers"...maybe promise to donate leftover meat items to a local animal shelter (if the shelter would accept it?). You could also tell your customer, if he or she wishes, you could call the guests up for "seconds" 30 minutes before the end of your scheduled gig? Just throwing stuff out there...

Very valid points. Most gigs with no fridge, I leave with the leftovers. When there is a fridge, I place the leftovers in there.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 07:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butt Ugly View Post
I'm not a caterer...and maybe I missed reading it, but should the issue of "leftovers" be addressed? Who owns the leftovers? If the customer owns them...there is a chance they could hold them at an improper temp for hours after you left the premises...folks could get sick. It would probably be best to explain up front that temperature sensitive products that are not consumed while you are in control, will LEAVE with you. You'd have to smooth it over so they didn't think you were somehow going to resale or give the product to your personal friends, etc... maybe go with "I'm trained/certified to provide a professional service to you and your guests, please understand that to honor my promise of professional service it is necessary for me to package up and remove leftovers"...maybe promise to donate leftover meat items to a local animal shelter (if the shelter would accept it?). You could also tell your customer, if he or she wishes, you could call the guests up for "seconds" 30 minutes before the end of your scheduled gig? Just throwing stuff out there...
What i have seen in the past is leftovers getting rapped up and put in either a fridge or coolers if no fridge is available. I would be extremely ticked off if I just paid a ton of money and didn't get the leftovers. I could see putting something in the contract for not being responsible for meet that is left behind.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 07:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigpen269 View Post
What i have seen in the past is leftovers getting rapped up and put in either a fridge or coolers if no fridge is available. I would be extremely ticked off if I just paid a ton of money and didn't get the leftovers. I could see putting something in the contract for not being responsible for meet that is left behind.
From another perspective I could see a caterer having extra to not be cut short if the number of guests increased at teh last minute. Being paid on a per person basis, if there aren't extra persons then the client didn't pay for it.

Now if the client is paying per pound, per tray, etc. then the customer has purchased the number of pounds, trays, etc. and would own any portion of that number reamaining.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 07:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigpen269 View Post
What i have seen in the past is leftovers getting rapped up and put in either a fridge or coolers if no fridge is available. I would be extremely ticked off if I just paid a ton of money and didn't get the leftovers. I could see putting something in the contract for not being responsible for meet that is left behind.
As a caterer you need to bring 10% extra to cover you just in case more guest show than contracted. This food does not belong to the client!

I also find that most clients want no leftovers!
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Unread 09-10-2008, 07:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timzcardz View Post
From another perspective I could see a caterer having extra to not be cut short if the number of guests increased at teh last minute. Being paid on a per person basis, if there aren't extra persons then the client didn't pay for it.

Now if the client is paying per pound, per tray, etc. then the customer has purchased the number of pounds, trays, etc. and would own any portion of that number reamaining.
Bingo!
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Unread 09-10-2008, 07:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
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8. In the event of cancellation due to fire, flood, hurricane or other natural disaster, Customer will be given an opportunity to reserve [Catererís] service for another date within the next ______ months, subject to availability, or be provided a refund (of xx%) at Customer's request.
9. Refunds on cancellations by the Customer due to extenuating circumstances will be considered on an individual basis and are made at [Catererís] sole discretion.
10. Refunds on cancellations by the Caterer due to extenuating circumstances will be made in full.


A couple of suggestions that I thought were worthwhile as noted above.

In all fairness if you should have to cancel, the customer already has a problem and customer should receive a full refund rather than it being at your sole discretion as it reads now. On the other hand if customer cancels that should not be your problem and you may have already incurred costs or turned down other bookings. Edit to 9 and addition of 10 clarifies that.

For natural disaster, are you insured for that? If not, and if you wouldn't expect to issue a complete refund, then you may want to have a source for event insurance to provide to the customer if they wish to alleviate themselves of the risk.

Who provides you a dry place to work? If outside do you provide your own shelter?
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Unread 09-10-2008, 08:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timzcardz View Post
10. Refunds on cancellations by the Caterer due to extenuating circumstances will be made in full.


A couple of suggestions that I thought were worthwhile as noted above.

In all fairness if you should have to cancel, the customer already has a problem and customer should receive a full refund rather than it being at your sole discretion as it reads now. On the other hand if customer cancels that should not be your problem and you may have already incurred costs or turned down other bookings. Edit to 9 and addition of 10 clarifies that.

For natural disaster, are you insured for that? If not, and if you wouldn't expect to issue a complete refund, then you may want to have a source for event insurance to provide to the customer if they wish to alleviate themselves of the risk.

Who provides you a dry place to work? If outside do you provide your own shelter?

Thanks man! This is the type of thing I need. Are you a lawyer or did you stay at the Holiday Inn Express last night?
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Unread 09-10-2008, 08:29 AM   #14
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I never leave leftovers with the client.....I give them a timeframe that food will be available....too many bad things can happen, and only one good thing (enjoying leftovers) can come from leaving the food there.......but, I spell it out to them in advance so that they know......

Now, have I also let them make a "doggie bag" at the end, yes, but, then, though still a risk, it usually goes into the fridge, not into Uncle Fred's car for the rest of the afternoon......gee, no idea how he got sick
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Unread 09-10-2008, 10:08 AM   #15
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If we serve the number of guests the customer pays for, then we don't offer leftovers...food is on the table for a specific amount of time and then it comes down. If the customer pays for 200 and only 150 show up, then we will offer the leftovers along with a piece of paper that details proper food handling/holding procedures (also says by accepting leftovers, you hold harmless the caterer for whatever happens). Leftovers are ALWAYS an issue and it's probably a good idea to have it spelled out in the contract. It's not that I want to take the food home, because most of the time I do not...it's that our insurance doesn't cover us as soon as we leave the site and don't want some schmo leaving chicken on the table for five hours. A lot of gray area there...don't need a lawsuit.
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