How to create a Request for Proposal for catering

Are you planning your wedding or another large party? Do you need to order food for the reception? Is the prospect of ordering catering causing you stress? Then read on...

Ordering catering for your event, whether it be a wedding reception, bar/bat mitzvah, or big birthday bash, is actually a very simple process. In short, all you are doing is telling a caterer that you are interested, providing some basic information about your event, and then letting them do the hard work of composing an appetizing menu for your guests. Below is a simple template for a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will work for almost any event; it outlines your needs and expectations to the caterer while allowing them the freedom to try to impress you with the proposal they create for your event.

Name of Event - Type of Event (Reception, Seated Dinner, etc.)

Provide a brief description of the event, including who your guests are and what the overall goal of the event is. This will help the caterer come up with a menu that compliments the overall feel of your event.

Date: 01/01/09

Time: 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Location: 1060 W. Addison

Number of Guests: 50 - 60

Budget: $1,500

Menu/Beverages:

Light hors d’oeuvres (including dessert selections) to be passed and on a buffet. Beverages to include coffee, tea, water, and a selection of sodas.

Set Up: TBD

Catering Preparation Area: TBD

Other Requirements/ Notes:

Equipment delivery/pickup requirements TBD

Linen & floral arrangements will need to be discussed and determined.

Tables & chairs must be provided by the caterer.


After filling in the information specific to your event, send the RFP via email to at least two or three caterers. Set a due date for the proposals (I typically give 10 - 14 days for a simple request for a small event, more time for a larger, more complex request), and be sure to set aside some time to review all of the proposals. At that point, you have successfully created and submitted your requests for catering proposals!

Comments 1 comment

Katie Sims 4 years ago

Very simple ideas explained for a novice, but I wish you had included some templates at least 3 different types. I like this web page

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