Frequently Asked Questions
How many service personnel will work my event?
Your style of service (cocktail reception, buffet, full sit down dinner, etc.) will determine the personnel needed to service your event. We schedule a normally sufficient number of event personnel, and if you would like additional staff, this option is always available. We will gladly discuss the number of staff required and arranged duties for each scheduled person who will work your event.
How is your service personnel trained and how much experience do they have?
Your event will include a supervisor with a minimum of two years’ off-premise catering experience. From greeting your guests to properly cutting a wedding cake, our staff is fully trained and provided with a detailed training manual, employee handbook and training session, before they are scheduled to work an event.
How much will my event cost?
This can be a complicated question to answer before a personal consultation, because factors other than food price must be taken into consideration. Your need for china, linen, tables, chairs and special service equipment, the number of service personnel required to properly serve your event at your location, and the degree of serving difficulty (serving distance, amount of space, etc.) are all factors which will be reflected in your final cost. To ease your budgeting preparation, we have designed menus for casual and formal events which list “all inclusive pricing” with china, linen, glassware, custom decorating, labor, service charges and sales tax, should you opt for these items. Although the menus are still an estimate until we have met with you to determine your special requirements, they will give you a reasonable preliminary estimate of cost.
Will I be able to try your food before I book an event with you?
We understand the importance for a first-time buyer to try our food. All potential clients will have the opportunity to schedule a complementary tasting with one of our friendly event designers that will allow them to sample a number of our most popular culinary creations.
Why do so many caterers prices vary with what seems like the same menu?
We realize that we charge more than some caterers in Milwaukee... but when we started Irene's Catering we quickly realized that we could charge less by giving less as some other caterers have chosen to do, or we could charge at a realistic and fair price that would allow us to maintain a catering business that offers only the finest quality in order not to embarrass our clients, their guests or ourselves.
The recipes we have created call for the finest and freshest ingredients available. For example, raw chicken can be purchased in several different quality levels. We have chosen to purchase the highest possible GOVERNMENT INSPECTED poultry from purveyors who care about how they handle and ship products to us. Concern for quality and safety costs us more than if we would purchase our meats, produce, etc. based on only the lowest price.
Try to ask as many questions as possible when comparing catering prices. Many of these will help you make an informed decision and receive all that you envision from your caterer. For example... What are the portion sizes of all my foods? When I have two or three entrees do my guests receive one or all? What are the names of some of your purveyors? How many staff will service my event and how long will they be there? What type of equipment do you use during transportation and during service to insure food quality? Do you allow for seconds on a buffet? How are all my foods presented? It's important to associate caterer to caterer and not always food item to food item since many other details that affect your final price come together.
If my facility has limited kitchen space or none at all, how will I be assured of proper handling of my food?
The safety of your food is our Number One priority. The safe handling begins at our kitchen, where all of our supervisors carry ServSafe Certification, a comprehensive exam that covers all aspects of proper food handling. We have spent thousands of dollars purchasing proper service equipment to assure that your food is kept at proper temperatures from our kitchen, during transportation and until presented to you, even if no electricity is available. This can be discussed in detail during your consultation.
Are you fully insured?
We carry all necessary food licenses, liability insurance and worker’s compensation. These certificates are available at your request. You can rest easy, knowing you and your guests are protected.
When is my final guest count due?
Ten business days before your event, we will need to have your final minimum number of guests to be served. This number will be used to purchase fresh ingredients for our kitchen production, to order equipment and arrange for the proper number of event personnel. Once you give us your final guarantee, you may increase your count.
How much of a deposit is required to reserve my date?
A deposit equal to 25% of the value of your event is required to secure your date.
What happens if I need to cancel or postpone my event?
We will retain all of your deposit if the cancellation occurs more 7 days prior to your event. If the cancellation occurs less than 7 days you will responsible for the entire guaranteed amount of the event. If you need to postpone your event, you can use your entire deposit amount toward your new date as long as it is rescheduled within one year. Many hours go into the planning of your event to ensure its success, often months before it occurs. We have most likely refused additional events for that day and cannot recoup those we have turned away.
What happens to my leftover food after the event?
Since running out of food can be a traumatic experience, we usually carry more food than we expect to serve. We also have extended food temperatures and holding conditions to a point that, in cooperation with the health department, we will not release leftover food to you or your guests. Under certain circumstances, you may be allowed to take meals that haven’t been consumed. In that case, your meals will be provided to you in proper containers. This option can be discussed in detail during your consultation.
Are you able to help me with special rentals?
We work with several rental companies to allow us to get the best possible prices and services available to you. We are well known for providing the unique, from the drama and elegance of a full gala event to the casual intimacy of soft candle light dinners.
Can you provide me with references?
References and post event evaluations from client follow-ups are readily available upon request.
Can you help me locate a banquet facility or any other special site?
Being a preferred caterer at many of the top facilities in Southeastern Wisconsin, we can assist you in obtaining the perfect site or unique setting of your choice. A complete listing is available within the web site. We now have a private banquet hall available for parties and special events of up to 100 people at Crocus Polish Restaurant. For more information, please contact us at (414) 465-4469.
How many events do you perform each day?
This depends solely on the type of events being booked. Each event is examined on many factors, such as size, style of service, equipment required, etc. We do restrict the number of events performed each day to ensure that you receive the most pampered and attentive service possible.