Free Printable Catering Agreement Contract Template
It is important for catering businesses to have an agreement that they can have clients sign before agreeing to cater an event for them. An agreement not only offers a business legal protection but is also a good way to avoid confrontation with customers by letting them know exactly what they will be getting for their money.
Remember that two parties have to agree before such a contract is valid. If you stack all of the clauses in favor of your business then you will risk losing clients to the competition. As well as protecting your own interests, give some thought to the reassurances that a client is looking for. Be as flexible as you can to the point that it doesn’t cost your catering business money or force you to take on unnecessary risk.
This page sets out some of the points and clauses that you might consider including in your catering business agreement. You should consult with a lawyer before coming up with a final agreement though.
Details of the Parties Involved
The contract should set out the responsibilities of both parties, the catering business and the client. A specific person should be appointed as a representative of each party and all business dealings and communication should go through them. Include basic details such as names, addresses and phone numbers.
Basic Event Details
The date, time and location of the event should be specified and details should be given about any right that the client has to change these key details. Clarify the duration of the event and have the client agree to additional charges should the event run for longer than expected.
Give some thought to problems that are likely to arise. If you are catering an outdoor event then you will want to be in firm agreement with the client as to what will happen if you are rained out.
Catering Service and Menu Description
The agreement should set out to describe what the catering business will provide in terms of the menu, food preparation, delivery and service.
It should be clear if the caterer is using an on-site kitchen or preparing food off-site. No matter what, caterers will need space to prepare food so it should be made clear as to exactly which rooms they will be permitted to use.
Go into detail to describe the menu that you have promised to the client. You may want to reserve the right to make small changes to the menu should you later find that key ingredients are unable to be sourced for various reasons. Set a clear policy on leftover food and alcohol and who has the right to take them home.
It should also be clear as to which party will be providing cooking equipment, serving equipment, utensils, decorations, furniture and other items for the event.
Specify how many staff you will be providing for an event and what their responsibilities are. The party responsible for cleaning up afterwards should also be specified.
Compliance with Regulations
Include some clauses in the agreement to reassure the customer that your business is reliable. Let them know that you carry liability insurance, are licensed and operate in compliance with all local regulations with regards to the hygienic preparation and service of food.
Make it clear as to what options the customer has in terms of payment and offer them a small discount if they pay promptly.
The price should be set out clearly in the catering contract. If an event is scheduled for a date that is well in the future then you may want to reserve the right to raise your price slightly in the case that prices rise, causing your costs to increase.
Make your clients pay a deposit to reserve your company’s services and set out details of the deposit in your contract. Let the client know under what situations the deposit is refundable and what their obligations are if they want to cancel. You should give the client some flexibility in terms of changing guest numbers but insist that they confirm final numbers at least three or four days before so that you have time to order stock and prepare.
Most caterers charge a small deposit at the time of booking and another several weeks before an event when supplies are being ordered. Finally, the balance is usually due on the day of the event or shortly after.
To protect your catering business you should include some clauses in the agreement that waive your liability for certain situations such as when guests get drunk and inflict damages on property or other guests. You may also want to insist that the client compensates you for any damages to your catering equipment caused by their guests.
Clients may want to organize some of the food or beverages independently for an event that you are catering. Having them sign a waiver that removes your responsibility for these items can save you from being sued in situations where food or beverages cause harm to people.
The contract should specify how any disputes that result between the catering business and the client are to be resolved.
These are just a few ideas that you may consider incorporating into your catering business agreement. A good agreement will let both parties know where they stand while still offering them some flexibility to make changes if necessary.
Free Printable Catering Agreement Contract Form – download