In Catering Tips, Catering Trends

The average price of catering services can range between $50-$120 per person, depending on the menu and additional services you choose.

But sometimes, caterers may offer even lower, more affordable prices.

Catering can be expensive when you’re hosting a large event with a big guest list so affordable catering can be a good choice. The problem is that low prices sometimes mean low-quality food and poor service—but is this always the case?

Let’s take a look at why affordable catering in Pittsburgh PA doesn’t always mean low-quality.

“Affordable” doesn’t mean “bad”

There’s often a misconception that affordable catering means poor-quality food or poor service from the caterers. This isn’t always the case as most affordable catering companies offer high-quality menu items without cutting down on quality.

Good catering services know how to keep operating and food preparation costs low, while still being able to use high-quality ingredients and preparation techniques.

How affordable catering companies keep costs low

Here’s a look at how affordable catering in Pittsburgh PA keeps their prices low but quality high:

1. Locally Sourced Ingredients

Many catering companies in Pittsburgh source ingredients from local suppliers. These suppliers can offer fresh ingredients to catering companies they have close ties with. Also, these ingredients are usually offered at very competitive prices but at the highest quality.

2. Clever Menu Building

Some caterers build different menus in such a way that they can offer a wide selection of foods while keeping prices low. For example, caterers may offer catering menu packages created for special occasions, like picnics, weddings or seasonal events, like Christmas.

These menus have a fixed number of foods and some have dishes that are only available for a particular time of the year. Also, these caterers may allow you to customize the menu by adding and removing dishes you don’t want, allowing you to reduce the cost even more.

3. Streamlined Operations

Good catering companies often have very streamlined operations that allow them to reduce the need for extra labor. For example, many offer buffets that are self-service; this allows them to reduce their labor costs and also lets them keep their prices as low as possible.

4. Appropriately Sized Portions

Some companies that offer affordable catering in Pittsburgh PA tend to make more food than necessary and this makes them slap a bigger price tag on their menus. Affordable caterers, however, tend to make appropriately sized dishes, which means that they won’t need to put in too much labor as they would have if they made too much food.

This allows them to keep preparation costs down and charge more affordable prices.

What a low-quality caterer looks like

Now that we know how affordable caterers operate, here’s what you need to know about “cheap” caterers:

1. They Cut Corners Everywhere

Cheap caterers will do everything in their power to keep costs low, and this also stretches to buying cheap low-quality ingredients. For cheap caterers, the quality of the food they make isn’t that important—they’re more concerned with getting the job done quickly.

Sometimes, they may even forgo basic hygienic food practices to keep costs as low as possible, and this can lead to medical issues, like food poisoning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 48 million people get sick every year from food-borne illnesses. In some of these cases, people may have contracted these illnesses from poorly prepared food.

Also, some cheap caterers may skip preparing food from scratch completely by just reheating pre-cooked or frozen foods. This can lead to some underwhelming food that your guests are not going to enjoy.

2. They Don’t Prioritize Safety

In addition to unhygienic food preparation and handling, cheap caterers may not always use safe ingredients in dishes, often using potentially harmful ingredients like MSG, which is a low-cost way to add flavor.

Sometimes, these caterers may store allergy-causing ingredients with non-allergy-causing ones. This may lead to dishes that are marked as not having allergy-causing ingredients causing reactions in some people.

3. They’re Dishonest About Prices

Cheap caterers may offer their food and services for surprisingly low prices, but chances are that when you get the bill you may be in for a surprise. Sometimes, cheap caterers have hidden costs that they won’t reveal to their customers until the bill is finalized.

Also, they won’t be too keen on revealing a breakdown of the total cost of their services before you make a contract with them. This is usually a big red flag that means they’re hiding something.

4. Their Staff is Poorly Trained

Often, low-cost caterers may offer some good-quality food, but their staff might not be well-trained. The staff members might not know how to communicate properly with customers, often coming off as rude or they might not know proper serving etiquette.

Also, the staff may not be very good at setting up and cleaning up after the event is over. This can lead to delays that can affect the flow of your event.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some commonly asked questions we receive from our customers:

1. How do I choose a menu for my event?

Consider the type of event, guest preferences, dietary restrictions, and budget. Buffets, plated meals, and family-style options are common choices.

2. Can caterers accommodate dietary restrictions?

Yes, most caterers can provide vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other specialized options. Discuss this during menu planning.

3. Can I taste the food before booking?

Yes, many caterers offer tastings. Schedule one to ensure you’re satisfied with the flavors and presentation.

Try affordable catering in Pittsburgh PA

Affordable catering in Pittsburgh PA, if done right, is a great choice for big events. Contrary to popular belief, a good catering company can offer a high-quality service at an affordable price without cutting costs.

So don’t be afraid to seek an affordable catering company for your next big event!

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Cooked Goose Catering Company 7851 Steubenville Pike
Oakdale, PA 15071

Event Catering: 412-258-5944
Goose Express: 724-695-2322

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