Catering is very hard work! First, there are cooking classes to learn your craft and then taste testings with potential clients before you even book the job. Then there is: the preparation of the menu; shopping for the ingredients; preparing the food; loading the food into a delivery van; delivering the food; setting everything up; serving the food; and, finally, cleaning everything up and putting it all away. If anyone deserves a tip, a caterer definitely does! Caterer tipping is completely expected. So much so that most catering companies include a 15-18% “service charge” in their contracts. To put it simply, that is the tip! It is divided up amongst the workers who contributed to your event.
Now, if you have a service charge in your contract and the service the caterer provided was below par, not only should you discuss with the caterer that your expectations were not met and you want to knock down the tip percentage, but, you have every right to ask that the price of the event be amended, too!
As stated above, caterer tipping is usually included in the contract. However, if it is not, and you were thrilled with the fabulous job your caterer did, discreetly presenting them with an envelope containing about 15% of the cost of the service when the event has concluded is totally acceptable. I would stick with 10% if they just met your expectations and did not exceed them, and, for anything less than that, you need to give the caterer nothing more than an earful!
Photo: stock.xchng/Joe Zlomek