The season is in full swing and you have purchased everything needed to cater one of the biggest events you have booked this year. And then you receive a phone call: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are going to have to cancel the event. We’re sorry.”
Again, shiitake happens.
So what do you do when this happens? What steps have you taken to ensure you are not out hundreds of dollars?
When agreeing to cater an event, no matter who the event is for, make sure a contract is created and signed. Having a contract will protect your monies in case the scenario above happens. Fire Within uses Docusign for all of our contracts. Another new legally binding contract service available is AdobeSign. If you have a digital contract service already in place, make sure they can easily accept signatures and changes on the fly with a date/time stamp in place.
When you create a contract, it is important to define the two parties’ expectations – both the client and the caterer’s (you) responsibilities. As a caterer, you need to be very clear about your cancellation and refund policy. While some find this portion of the business uncomfortable, it can save you headaches and dollars in the long run.
State very clearly what your policy is if an event is cancelled by the client, the caterer, or even what is considered “Act of God” (weather or any other situation that makes the service impossible or impractical).