A catering contract is a legal agreement between a catering service provider and a client. It outlines the terms and conditions under which the caterer will provide food and beverage services for an event hosted by the client.
The contract specifies various details about the service, ensuring both parties have clear expectations and mutual obligations. This ensures your legal rights as a caterer and helps reduce customer disagreements.
What Is a Catering Contract?
A catering contract is a service agreement between a client and the caterer. It details the services the caterer will provide either as an independent contractor or an employee of a catering company.
This written document outlines the essential details of what the parties agreed to.
Who Should Use a Catering Contract
Anyone who offers catering services should have a written catering contract. These include situations such as:
- Catering a wedding
- Catering corporate events, parties, or meetings
- Catering private functions and family events
- Catering a business lunch
- One-time or recurring catering agreements
Why Should You Use a Catering Contract?
There are many benefits of using a catering contract. It can give you benefits such as:
- Fewer disputes between you and your customers
- Clear guidelines and expectations about the job
- Detailed cost and payment information
- Easy dispute resolution
Every caterer should write their agreement to get these and other benefits. Don’t forget to use a catering invoice to request payment for your services.
What to Include
There are specific essential terms you need to include in every catering contract, including:
State and Date of the Agreement
The catering agreement should include the date it was signed and the state in which it was signed. This is important if there is ever a legal dispute over the contract.
Names of the Parties
Include names and other contact information in the contract, including:
- The parties’ names
- Their business name and official titles, if any
- Addresses for individuals and businesses
Description of the Catering Services
A written catering agreement should include a detailed list of what is involved with the job. It should outline:
- The date the catering will take place
- The food offered
- The cost of food or the sale of goods
- The fees charged
- Whether it is buffet style or requires servers
- How long the event will take
Many caterers miss critical legal protections because they do not know what to add to their agreements. A customizable service contract includes provisions that protect your legal rights.
A written service contract is not legally binding without signatures. It should have a section for the printed and signed names of the parties.
Catering Contract Sample
The printable catering contract sample below can help you build a written agreement. You can download our free template in PDF or Word format:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a caterer?
A caterer is a company or person providing clients with a food and drink service. Caterers typically arrange food preparation, delivery, and presentation at social events and other gatherings.
Caterers are commonly used for weddings, company gatherings, birthdays, and BBQs.
What are the factors to consider before hiring a caterer?
Before hiring a specific caterer, you must consider several factors to choose the right caterer for your needs. Factors you need to consider before hiring a caterer include:
- The quality of the food: As one of the most essential elements of a caterer, you must ensure that the food is up to your standards.
- Customer reviews: Once you’ve narrowed down your options, research customer reviews for each caterer to better understand the service each caterer provides.
- Cost: Caterers vary in how much they cost. Depending on your budget, you want to find the perfect balance between price and food quality.
- Experience and size: You need to factor in the caterer’s size and how much experience they have. A new start-up might not be able to handle a significant corporate event.
- Special requirements: If you have any specific dietary requirements, whether on medical, religious, or health-related grounds, you must ensure the caterer can meet those needs.
How do I cancel a catering contract?
To cancel a catering contract, you should read the termination clause in the agreement and follow the termination terms. This is typically giving notice to the other party or using a notice of contract termination.
Depending on the nature of the termination, the client may not receive a refund for any deposits or payments.