I need a caterer for my event. Where do I begin?
Opting to step away from the kitchen and hiring someone else to prepare food for your upcoming event is a big deal – and we believe it’s a luxury, too!
Follow these steps (in order) to help make the process a smooth and seamless one:
Determine your budget. You might think this isn’t necessary, but prices can and do add up. We don’t want to “sticker shock” you, so it helps if you know and communicate to us how much you want to spend on the food portion of your event.
Develop an event headcount. This goes hand-in-hand with constructing a budget. In the beginning of your planning process, headcounts do not need to be spot-on, but they should be a good rough estimate. For larger events like wedding receptions, a good rule of thumb is to subtract 15 percent from your total invitation list.
Review menus. With your budget in mind, review our menus to see what might fit your event. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, or if you become overwhelmed with trying to devise a menu that compliments your budget, talk to us!
With your budget and menu solidified, it’s time to secure your date! Our event calendar fills up quickly. We are not a stop-n-go restaurant and do not oversell our time to cram in multiple events. Therefore, securing our services through a deposit (50 percent of your invoice total or $25, whichever is greater) and a completed/submitted contract become imperative to ensure we will be part of your special event.
When you book a date with us, this means we are promising YOU will be our priority on that day. Generally, we only take on up to three small parties per day, or one large party. This ensures our kitchen and crew is equipped and ready for YOUR event!
With your budget set, your menu selected, a deposit paid and a completed contract submitted, the last task is to monitor your headcount. A final count must be submitted to Café Jarosz Catering seven days prior to the event. Please review the contract for specific details about submitting a final headcount.
Can you hold my event date without a deposit?
As a courtesy, Café Jarosz Catering will keep your event penciled into its calendar for up to five days from inquiry. However, if during this five-day time frame another client wishes to book a party for the date we are holding for you, we will contact you immediately to obtain a deposit and your five-day hold grace period becomes null and void.
Your hold will not get “bumped” for another person’s hold. You will only lose your five-day courtesy hold if you wish to forego putting down a deposit and signing a contract when we contact you and the next person chooses to put down a deposit and submit a contract.
I need a catering quote. How long will it take for me to get one?
We aim to produce catering quotes in a timely manner, but factors such as time of year, our schedule and quote details can and do impact turnaround time. Our featured menu prices are available online and are up-to-date, so please feel free to personally calculate to determine an approximate estimate. Be sure to include delivery and staff fees, if applicable.
During our initial conversation, we will indicate to you how long it will take to produce a quote. If we have to re-quote your event or produce a follow-up quote because factors or ideas change, please understand that out of respect for ALL of our clients, we may not be able to complete this request immediately.
What are your delivery fees?
Local Delivery: Our local delivery fee is $30. If your event is 30 miles or less (60 miles roundtrip) from zip code 13219, your event is considered “local” and $30 will be added to your invoice.
Out-of-Town Delivery: Any deliveries made more than 30 miles (60 miles round trip) from zip code 13219 are subject to a .50 per mile fee. We use Mapquest to determine exact mileage and always use the website's "suggested route."
Pick-up from Café Jarosz Catering’s commercial kitchen in Syracuse, N.Y. is always free. Please contact us for details.
What levels of service do you offer?
Café Jarosz Catering offers:
Delivery and set up
Pick up: Clients may pick their orders up from Café Jarosz Catering’s commercial kitchen in Syracuse, N.Y. at an agreed upon time and date to avoid a delivery charge. Due to our event schedule, this option is not always available.
Delivery: We deliver to your event location at an agreed upon time. Your food will be hot (if applicable) and ready-to-serve in aluminum serving pans. The catering employee making your delivery will not be responsible for setting up your order. We ask that someone at your event be designated to greet the caterer, accept the order and finalize any payment balances. The catering employee will have a copy of your invoice. Please make sure the caterer has your designated contact person's cell phone number in advance.
Delivery and set up: For an additional fee of $15 (plus the delivery fee), the catering employee will set-up your order. The catering employee will leave your event once the food is set up. Please designate someone at your event to greet the caterer, show them where food is to be set up and finalize any payment balances. This level of service must be requested at least one week prior to the event to ensure availability.
Full service: For an additional $15 per hour fee (plus delivery fee), this level of service includes all of the above AND one catering employee who will stay until the food service portion of your event concludes. If the food service portion runs longer than three hours, you will be charged $15 per additional half hour. The catering employee's responsibilities include setting up and monitoring the food station. If your menu includes a food station, his or her main priority will be to operate this area. If your menu does not include a station, the employee’s responsibility will be to ensure the serving line remains clean and organized, replenish food (if applicable) and be present for any food service-related questions. The catering employee will also tear down and clean up the food service area once this portion of the event concludes.
**The employee will NOT be responsible for clearing trash from tables, individually serving guests or doing anything other than what is outlined above.
For menus featuring food stations, you will need ONE employee PER food station. We recommend hiring an additional catering employee to operate the station so that the primary employee can oversee all of the food service operations.
Additional catering employees can be contracted for a fee of $15 per hour, per person.
If your menu includes passed appetizers, you will need to hire a catering employee in addition to your primary catering employee to manage this aspect of your event.
All catering employees working your event will wear chef jackets and/or black attire with identification. Employees will dress according to the nature of the event.
Can I use your employees as servers or to help with other aspects
of my event?
The short answer is No.
We want your guests to have the very best experience, which is why Cafe Jarosz Catering spends a great deal of time planning the best execution for the food service portion of your event.
The catering employees who will be present at your event each have specific job tasks they will be performing and these tasks will be determined by the chef prior to your event. If catering employees are asked to perform tasks unrelated to food service, such as directing or greeting guests, checking coats, serving drinks, etc. this could negatively impact the event schedule as it reduces culinary manpower and disrupts an intensive dining plan. We strongly encourage you designate a point person at your event, such as an event planner, friend or relative who can help navigate some of these tasks.
If your event does require servers (wait staff, bartenders, table bussers), please discuss this with the caterer before signing a contract. We can provide this service for an additional fee ($15 per hour, per employee).
We prefer you do not offer up your own rookie staff members (friends, family members, a neighbor, etc.) for serving or bartending at your event. These individuals likely do not have food service experience and our "behind-the-scenes" operation is extremely fast-paced and high-pressure. We do not have time to train individuals and even though these jobs may appear to be "easy," we promise you they are not.
The number of catering/service employees you need depends upon your event size, selected menu and the menu's service style (buffet, family, plated). Sometimes, the venue's logistics can also also play a role in needing more or less employees.
Do you supply linens, dinnerware and chafing dishes?
If you are interested in enhancing the food service portion of your event by renting china dinnerware, chafing dishes, butane fuel, linens, etc., please discuss this with Café Jarosz prior to signing a contract. Please note - some rental items will need to be returned to Cafe Jarosz Catering post-event.
Unless you request our full service catering option, your food will arrive ready-to-eat and in aluminum pans.
How much food do I need for my event?
Let's start with this general rule of thumb:
A half tray accommodates up to 20 guests.
A full tray accommodates up to 40 guests.
For larger or more complex events, we suggest you work with our executive chef to determine how much food should be requested.
Please note: Food is our forte and our executive chef/owner is a seasoned caterer. We will not agree to prepare less than what your final headcount is in an effort to reduce costs and hope it works out. Hospitality means ensuring all of your guests will be taken care of, whether they are first in the buffet line, or last.
Cafe Jarosz Catering prides itself on offering high-quality food and service and will not contract with anyone who cannot guarantee that each event guest will have to opportunity to be satisfied. While we realize this is not standard practice for some caterers, it is our mantra.
Do you offer more than what’s featured on your menu?
Yes! Our featured menu is just a glimpse of what we offer. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, please tell us what you’re interested in and we will work with you to create a menu that fits your event. Please understand that quotes for custom menus can take up to 10 days to construct.
Is my deposit refundable?
Due to time, effort, kitchen staff organization and the fact that we possibly declined other events for your date, we cannot refund deposits for any reason. This includes family emergencies (including death), weather, change of mind, event cancellation, or lack of financial preparation.
Are you bringing your food truck?
Food truck events are separate from regular caterings and have a separate fee associated with them. We do not use our food truck for caterings unless your contract specifically includes it. To inquire about hosting an event with our food truck, please contact us directly.