Whether you are working with a boutique catering and event planning company (like LUX Catering & Events) or not, tastings (or taste tests) are a common part of the catering and event planning process. Almost all caterers provide either paid or complimentary tastings as part of the event planning process, allowing there is still plenty of time between when you start your event planning relationship with your caterer and your event. While it’s unlikely, if your caterer doesn’t offer you one there are several important reasons why you should request one or choose a caterer that offers one.
While each company has different policies or experiences with their tastings, at LUX Catering & Events we see our tastings as an integral component in the road we share with our clients in the event planning process and consider our tastings the pre show of our boutique catering experience that will culminate in their stunning event! Here is what you can expect from your boutique catering experience when working with Utah’s premier caterer and event planner as well as why all catering clients should request a tasting before they book a caterer.
Boutique Catering Tastings – What You Should Expect
After you have had your initial, and possibly second, consultation with your coordinator and after a menu has been agreed upon and locked down, as a client of LUX Catering & Events you are welcomed to our facilities for a complimentary tasting. This is an important step in the boutique catering planning process as it is another crucial step for us to build an engaging relationship with each individual client, another opportunity to really listen to their wants, desires and concerns, and to thoroughly understand the client’s vision and dream for their event or wedding.
Each tasting is a custom experience tailored to each client and the initial ideas and details we have gathered from our consultation(s) and communications. This is truly a unique and special part of the LUX Catering & Events boutique catering experience as it makes every one of our clients feel important, special and as an extension of our company family. It also gives us a starting point on which to fine tune and improve a client’s dream event. Our clients absolutely love it when they walk up to our front door and see even little details like a hand drawn sign welcoming them into our offices and inviting them to this unique experience!
However, the most important part of the tasting is just that – the actual tasting of the menu! The client and each guest is seated in our intimate and comfortable tasting room where they are offered a complete serving of each item on their menu. This includes professional and impeccable table service from our awesome event staff as well as a relaxed atmosphere where they are allowed to fully enjoy their meal and the company of their guests. We want each tasting to be a mini experience of flavors, friendship, and happiness and a true “taste” of the LUX Catering & Events experience. After the meal is complete, clients are then encouraged to discuss all their thoughts, opinions, concerns they thought of the menu, the china, linens, etc. with their coordinator and to suggest any tweaks they would like done in order for us to ensure each clients’ expectations for their actual event are achieved.
Our boutique catering experience also means that tastings can be tailored to each individuals client’s needs as well. Some of our favorite tasting have been when we’ve transformed our entire facilities, including our offices, kitchen and bakery, into a temporary event space where we are able to set up event layout mockups alongside fun menu tasting stations.
Why tastings are so important – and why you should insist on one
While it isn’t appropriate to have a tasting for every single type of event – a corporate lunch, for example, that includes a traditional charcuterie board or a simple boxed lunch delivery – are generally not open for taste tests for the vast majority of caterers because of their straightforwardness and simplicity. If you are planning a wedding, a large corporate event or gala, or a personal soirée, you should insist on having a tasting from any caterer you are seriously considering before booking.
While not all caterers provide complimentary tastings like we do, most caterers do provide a paid tasting option.
Here is why we believe it is so important to have a tasting with a potential vendor and why we we make it a fundamental part of our client’s boutique catering experience at LUX:
- To Ensure You are Getting What You are Expecting – a tasting is a way to guarantee you are getting what you are expecting from your menu and from your event overall. Guests may remember your lighting, your flowers, or your entertainment but guests ALWAYS remember the food. If the food was amazing, they will remember what an incredible meal they had and brag about what a fantastic event you threw. If the food was not so amazing – guests remember that even more so!
A tasting, especially tastings from a boutique caterer, is also a way to ensure all elements of the event (food, linens, china, silverware, glassware, etc.) all cohesively blend to create the style, image, and ambiance you are hoping to achieve.
All caterers can write a beautiful menu; because of the industry standards in language and menu description, every menu you will receive will sound lovely. But does it taste as good as it sounds? Or does the presentation do the flavors justice? Tastings are a critical means of ensuring your guests will have a tasty, impeccable meal a well as top notch service. At LUX Catering & Events, we make our tastings complimentary because we know we will stand out from our competitors; we see tastings as the an extension of our desire to perfect every event for our clients, down to the last detail, as well as #2…
- Confidence in the Product – we have confidence in our product and our service, confidence in what we bring to the table (figuratively and literally). Our boutique catering tastings are our way of proving to clients that they will have the best caterer and event planners working for them and their event. We have nothing to hide in our products or service but everything to celebrate – a tasting is a the pre show leading up to the event that captivates and convinces our clients that we are Utah’s premier caterers and event planners.
You may get a lot of information or intuitively may know how a caterer will work for you and your event depending on how they feel about tastings – if they are happy to provide you one or they have one automatically as part of their client relationship process, you probably have a company that has confidence in the quality of their product and service. If a caterer you are considering is hesitant or does not offer tastings, you may want to better understand why. Do they have confidence in the quality of their products and service?
- Hallmark of the Service you will Receive – tastings are a way to better understand the level of service you, but more importantly your guests, will be receiving on the day of your event. We provide complimentary tastings complete with full table service because we hold each of our events to a Standard of Excellence in our service. Is the service you are expecting for your event being displayed for you at the tasting? And finally…
- Brand/Image or Theme Consistency – this is one of the most important reasons why you should be having a tasting before you book your caterer. If you are a professional who is throwing an event for your company or business or if you are an engaged couple with a very important and heartfelt theme to your wedding, it is vital that your event best reflect your professional image, your brand, or your theme and love story. A tasting is the best way to ensure that your caterer is on board with ensuring your event will stay true to your image, your brand, or your wedding theme.
A caterer and/or event planner should be your #1 team mate in promoting and maintaining your image, your brand, or your theme throughout your event. Their service and their product should reflect that level of commitment to you and who you represent or what the feeling and story you want to evoke for your guests. If you forgo a tasting, you will not know for sure that what you are expecting on the day of your event will be a continuation of your branding, your company, or your love story.
So there you go! We are going to leave you with the delicious tasting we held for our cute couple featured in our Wedding Journey series – their tasting was one of the most decadent and regal we’ve ever done – so far: