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The Caterer's Event Day Checklist

A caterer is a professional cook that provides high quality food to customers who need to provide event guests with appetizers, a meal, or dessert. Caterers are exceptionally talented individuals, and one of their innate talents must be incredible organization skills. Without organization, a caterer's job becomes infinitely harder. Most of this organization involves preparing for the event beforehand. Caterers must make sure that the event location is secured, that the customers wishes and desires have been accounted for, that ingredients have been purchased, and that accessories such as tables, chairs, linens, and dining equipment is ready to go.

The pre-event preparation, though, is not the only part of a caterer's job. The day of the event is usually a chaotic and fast-paced day, so it's important for a high quality caterer to have a detailed checklist of tasks to complete before the event. This example checklist will help you manage all of the tasks that need to be completed so you can focus on making great food for great clients.

The Event Location is Prepped

First and foremost, ensure that the event location is prepped and ready. If you are making the food onsite, this step is even more important. If at all possible, the tables and chairs for guests should have been set up beforehand. If they weren't, make sure to prep the location first on the day of the event. You will likely be cooking up to the last minute, so it's a good idea to get this task out of the way.

The Ingredients are Purchased

Next, run through your itemized ingredient list and ensure that all of the required ingredients have been purchased. You may want to cross-check the ingredient list with your recipes to be sure you haven't missed something important such as cooking spray, aluminum foil, or a specific seasoning.

The Make-ahead Dishes are Preassembled

Be sure that all make-ahead dishes are preassembled. Cold dishes that won't go stale or sour can be made before the day of the event to cut down on event day stress.

Final Communication with Clients and Employees

Contact your client one more time on the day of the event so that you'll be prepared for any last-minute adjustments or changes to the schedule. Next, contact all of your employees to be sure they know when to arrive and begin work.

Detailed Schedule is Accurate

Finally, it's important for a caterer to check that the detailed schedule of the day has been created and is accurate. Make sure that all the tasks you'll need to complete throughout the day are itemized and assigned a specific time at which they need to be completed. Don't panic when you fall behind schedule; this is simply a part of a caterer's day. The detailed schedule is simply a guide to keep you punctual and stress-free.

When you've completed this event day checklist, you can start the actual process of cooking and preparing for the event with a greatly reduced stress level. As unforeseen circumstances pop up during the day, and they likely will, you won't have to worry about this basic checklist of tasks because they will have already been completed.