My initial contact by phone was with the manager, Hal, whose name was listed on the approved caterers list, and I felt great about what we discussed. Hal gave me a reasonable price per head and a breakdown of what we could expect for such a price, namely 4 different entrees, appetizers, sides, and desserts. I was given information regarding the additional cost of service people, the alcohol service and bartender policy, and even approximately what I could expect to pay should I choose to use their china rental provider. I was then instructed to come in at my leisure to discuss menu plans and leave a deposit. My name and phone number was recorded as we secured the event date.
Wanting to expedite the process, I inquired as to his hours today (Saturday), and was told he would be in until 4pm. When we arrived at the restaurant just after 3:30pm and asked to see the manager regarding catering, I was greeted by a different manager, handed a “party platter” menu, and asked what I wanted. No mention of servers, china, nothing that had been previously discussed. My fiancé's phone number and first name only (misspelled, of course) was scrawled across a yellow legal pad that had no additional notations. We were informed that we could call back just one week in advance to place the order, and that no deposit was required.
This was not exactly the development I was hoping to present to the venue on Monday morning. Frustrated that we basically had made no additional progress, I went back to look at the approved caterers list....and discovered that the phone number listed was not the same as the restaurant we had just gone to. A quick visit to Google Maps and an examination of the street view revealed that we had gone to THE WRONG LOCATION. Apparently the RESTAURANT is not the approved catering service, but the CORNER MARKETPLACE, not 50 feet away, was the approved facility.
I look at this as good and bad. The correct caterer is much better organized, helpful, accommodating, and obviously desires our business. However, we wasted our time and there is a sliver of a chance that this slip up may cost us our venue if someone else manages to secure an approved caterer for October 10th first. The lesson to be learned: double and triple check addresses and phone numbers, and ask for your contact by name. Had we asked for Hal and not for “the manager”, I guarantee we would have been informed of our mistake before we ever sat down. Make sure your future spouse checks your work and doesn't just blindly follow your lead. Everyone makes mistakes, and it's bound to happen more frequently with more dire consequences during times of chaos and stress. Taking the time to ensure that every detail is correct will ultimately relieve a lot of unnecessary stress when the big day arrives.