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Catering Contracts

Discussion in 'Catering & Large Group Gatherings' started by krj, May 8, 2019.

  1. krj

    krj Meat Mopper

    I'm going to start doing more catering gigs, and would like to protect myself and investment. Any other caterers willing to share the contracts they use for events. Or does anyone have any thoughts on how I should draw it up.

    I was considering have a "save the date" deposit, that is refundable up until X amount of days prior to he event. Then have a non refundable percentages of the total due, at various intervals leading up to the event. For example 50% will be due 60 days prior, a remaining 30% at 30 days, then the final 20% at 14 days. This gives me coverage to make purchases as needed, while giving the client chances to back out for whatever reason.

    These time periods and percentages are just thoughts that I had, and are definitely adjustable. Definitely would love to have some feedback, thoughts, opinions, criticism, or examples of how the veteran caterers handle things.
  2. oldsmokerdude

    oldsmokerdude Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    There are tons of sample and "fill in the blank" contracts for catering on the web. Just Google catering contract and you're sure to find something that closely fits how you want to do business.

    I typically charge 50% deposit at the time of signing. For me, I will refund 100% up to 30 days before the event. None after that. It should be way more than enough to cover your expenses (or you are grossly under-valuing your services).

    Make sure your contract CLEARLY outlines what your responsibilities are as well as what the client responsibilities are. For example, who is providing the plates and silverware? What about table cloths? Well, you get the idea. Most of the templates online will help you with this.

    If you really want to protect yourself and your equipment, you should seriously consider forming an LLC. These can help insulate you from most liabilities, can be done yourself, and is not very expensive.

    Good luck to you.
    jcam222 likes this.
  3. krj

    krj Meat Mopper

    So I used a contract creator website to build my contract, and everything looks pretty good I just have a question about a small part of how a section reads. Every catering contract I've found examples of has this same section, so I'm going on the assumption that it is a good part to have. I'm just curious as if someone who is a little more familiar with the law lingo can clarify.

    "Client agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Caterer for any damage, theft or loss of Caterer's property (including without limitation, equipment, plates, utensils and motor vehicles) occurring at the event that is caused by guests attending the event."

    To me it means that if the client or their guests break/steal any of my equipment, then they are responsible for reimbursing me the costs. However I had someone read my contract over just for a second opinion, and the seemed to be under the belief that the "hold harmless" part means that I am responsible for the damages. I somewhat understand that "hold harmless" in more common non-legal terms what that person is saying is somewhat right. But in the context of this contract, and the legal lingo, this is actually a good thing for me? Or am I completely off base? I just can't see how the dozen or so catering contracts I've seen with this in, would be to where the client isn't liable for themselves or their guests.
  4. Braz

    Braz Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Your interpretation is correct.
  5. oldsmokerdude

    oldsmokerdude Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    You're interpretation is correct as Braz noted. I include something similar in my contracts. But just in case, my equipment is insured.