Catering Contract Template

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Updated June 14, 2022

A catering contract is between a client that hires a caterer to provide food and drink services for an event. It is common for weddings, corporate gatherings, and birthdays, although it can be for any type of venue. The caterer will commonly require a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total amount in case of cancellation by the client.

A caterer is someone that agrees to provide food and refreshments for a fee. This is commonly a catering business, food truck, or restaurant.

Commonly used for

  • Baby showers
  • BBQs
  • Birthdays
  • Corporate gatherings
  • Group functions
  • Weddings

Table of Contents

Catering Types (3)

1. Food Truck (cheapest)

This is when the host will hire a food truck (or several) for an event with a lot of people. The host will generally pay a minimum fee to get the truck to a specific location, with the attendees being responsible to pay for their food and drinks.

2. Using the Caterer’s Location (moderate)

When the host will be renting an exclusive space in a hotel, restaurant, or banquet hall that will also provide food and drink services. The host will generally get a discount on the catering as a package renting the space.

3. Full-Service Catering (expensive)

The host hires a caterer to provide food and drinks at a specific location. In addition, the caterer usually provides wait staff and bartenders to serve guests. The host will be responsible for the caterer’s travel, labor, and all food and drinks provided.

Commonly includes

  • Buffet (w/food stations)
  • Full course meal (appetizer, main dish, and dessert)
  • Hors d’Oeuvres
  • Tableware

Bar Types (2)

Cash Bar

A cash bar is when the guests are required to pay for their drinks at an event. Although this is a cheaper option for the host, it requires bartenders to handle payments and make drinks which can slow the process and cause longer wait times.

Open Bar

An open bar allows guests to drink as much as they want without having to pay. All costs for drinks are paid for by the host of the event. An open bar can also have a maximum limit to cap its costs.

Getting Paid (Caterer)

The caterer is expected to charge a non-refundable deposit to the client and receive the full amount at the time of the event or shortly afterward. When requesting payment, the caterer should send an invoice and be paid upon receipt.

Catering Invoice Template

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How to Write

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I. The Parties

(1) Effective Date. The date prompting this agreement to become active by exerting its binding effect on the Signature Parties must be produced in the statement made by Section I. Oftentimes, this is the anticipated signature date of this agreement or any time after.

(2) Caterer. The name of the Catering Company or the Independent Caterer who is entering this agreement and will perform the event functions required must be named. Furnish the legal name of the Company or the full name of the Caterer to the first line after “Caterer” then supply the business address for this Party on the line that follows.

(3) Client. The Client who intends to hire the Catering Company (or Caterer) named should also be identified in Section 1. Supply his or her full name to the space after the word “Client” then continue to dispense his or her mailing address to the second space. Naturally, if the Client is a formal Business Entity, then its registered legal name and its business address should be recorded to this area.

II. Event

(4) Event Title. Now that the Signature Parties are identified, the event the Client wishes to commission the Caterer’s services and products for must be discussed. Begin by documenting the formal title of the Event.

(5) Address. The address where the event will take place must be recorded on the second line in Section 2.

(6) Date. The calendar date when the event shall occur must be documented to the third space in Section 2.

(7) Start Time And End Time. The precise time of day when the event commences by allowing its Attendees access to its location must be documented as the “Start Time” of the event while the exact time when Attendees will be expected to vacate the event must be recorded as its “End Time.” Attendees should be considered the Parties who shall physically visit the event space as a Guest (i.e. An Invitee, Ticket Holder, Patron, etc.) between the ”Start Time” and “End Time” reported.

(8) Additional Description. There may be additional details of the event the Caterer will be commissioned to handle that have not been covered by the above list. If so, then furnish the final area (“Additional Description”) with the remaining information needed to clearly define the event.

III. Attendees

(9) Minimum Number Of Attendees. Supplement Section Three’s language by dispensing the minimum number of Attendees expected at the event.

IV. Menu

(10) Menu Deadline. The Fourth Section shall cite the menu the Caterer and Client will agree to (titled as “Attachment #1).” While it should be taken into consideration that some Attendees may not be able to eat or drink certain items, it should be understood that the Caterer may not be able to accommodate such changes when not given enough notice to obtain the alternate items. Therefore, as of a certain number of days before the event, the menu requirements should be considered locked. Name the number of days before the event when both Signature Parties agree that the Caterer will not be required to accommodate changes in the menu to the blank space in Section IV.

V. Food Services

(11) Food Truck. The manner in which the Caterer shall provide or serve the food to the Attendees for this event will need to be established. If the Caterer (or Catering Company) will supply a “Food Truck” for the event, then mark the first checkbox that is presented in the Fifth Section.

(12) Buffet. If the Caterer will provide stations or tables where Attendees may choose and serve their food themselves, then mark the checkbox labeled “Buffet.”

(13) Hors D’Oeuvres. If the Client will expect the Caterer to serve “Hors d’Oeuvres” for the event then mark the third checkbox and record the number of Servers the Caterer must supply for this task.

(14) Full Course Meal. If the Client and Catering Company intend to agree that the Catering Company must supply a “Full Course Meal” to the Attendees (consisting of an appetizer, the main dish, and a dessert) then provide a mark to the fourth checkbox.

(15) Tableware. If all utensils, plates, and cups required by the Attendees to eat and drink at the event must be provided by the Caterer (or Catering Company) then the “Tableware” checkbox must be selected.

(16) Other. There may be food services that the Caterer intends to agree to provide for the event that was not reported in the options provided by Section V. If so, then the checkbox “Other” must be marked. Furthermore, every service not discussed in this section should be detailed on the space provided. Note that this checkbox may be selected and the statement completed regardless of the number of services that have been established through this list thus far.

VI. Drink Services

Select Item 17 Or Select And Complete Item 18

(17) No Drink Services. The source of drinks and beverages available to the Attendees during the event must be discussed. If the Client, and not the Caterer, will be responsible for supplying drinks, then mark the “No Drink Services” checkbox.

(18) Drink Services. If the Caterer will supply some or all of the drinks for the event, then select “Drink Services” from Section VI. Notice that this statement requires that a list of all the drinks the Caterer will be responsible to provide for the event must be listed on a document labeled “Attachment #2” that must be affixed to this paperwork before it is signed. If Item 18 is selected, some definition as to the drink services that will be provided must be documented in the area that immediately follows.

(19) Open Bar. In addition to defining the drinks that the Caterer must supply for the event, the type of bar that will be available should be established. If there will be an “Open Bar” that allows Attendees to freely order drinks then mark the first checkbox available under “Drink Services.”

(20) No Maximum Limit. If there will be an open bar that allows Attendees to freely order drinks then the maximum number of drinks available should be documented. If the Attendees may order a drink whenever they want from the Caterer’s open bar with no limit imposed by this agreement then mark the checkbox labeled “No Maximum Limit…”

(21) Maximum Limit Dollar. If the Attendees may order drinks from the Caterer’s open bar at leisure but will be limited by the dollar amount (of the drinks’ value/price) then mark the “A Maximum Limit” selection and supply the blank line with the maximum amount of money in drinks each Attendee is allowed to order.

(22) Cash Bar. If the Caterer must supply the event’s drinks but will not have an open bar, then select the checkbox labeled “Cash Bar.” This statement will require that Attendees pay the Catering Staff operating the bar directly for each drink ordered at the time requested by the Staff.

VII. Calculation Of Fees

Select Item 23 Or Item 24 Or Item 25 Or Item 26

(23) Flat Fee. The payment requirements of the Catering Company (or Caterer) for this event must be established before the signing of this document. In Section VII, the dollar amount(s) that the Client must pay the Caterer for the services and supplies provided to the event will be discussed. If “A Flat Fee” that will cover all such services and supplies has been determined, then select the first checkbox statement and document the exact dollar amount of the flat fee that must be paid to the Caterer (or Catering Company).

(24) Per Attendee. If the Catering Company will determine its fee by the number of Attendees, then mark the “Per Attendee” checkbox, and define the dollar amount that must be paid for each Attendee.

(25) Hourly Fee. If the Catering Company (or Caterer) will charge an “Hourly Fee” for its services then select the third checkbox. In addition to making this selection, the dollar amount to be paid to the Caterer or Catering Company must be displayed on the space following the dollar sign and the minimum number of hours the Caterer will bill to the Client (even in the event of cancellation) must be produced on the second space.

(26) Other. In cases where the Caterer and Client wish a customized method to be used to calculate the amount of money that will be paid to the Caterer for the event services that he or she provides, the “Other” checkbox should be marked. After placing a mark in this checkbox, detail how the billable dollar amount for the event will be calculated. A space has been provided for this task and, if needed, additional lines may be inserted or an attachment with the pay calculations may be affixed to this agreement and referred to by title in this space.

VIII. Deposit

Select Item 27 Or Item 28

(27) Deposit Required. If the Caterer (or Catering Company) will require that a predetermined dollar amount be submitted to hold until the contract is considered complete then select the “Deposit Required” and supply the dollar amount that must be submitted on the space provided.

(28) No Deposit. Select the second checkbox from Section VIII if the Catering Company does not require a deposit submitted in order to enter this agreement.

IX. Terms Of Payment

Select Item 29 Or Select Item 30 Or Select Item 31

(29) Receipt Of Invoice. Continue to Section IX where the allowable term of the Client’s payment to the Caterer will be established. If the Client must pay the Catering Company (or Caterer) within a certain number of days after receiving an invoice for the event, then the “Receipt Of Invoice” statement presented in Section IX must be selected and the maximum number of days allowed to the Client to submit payment must be dispensed to the blank space preceding the words “Days To Pay.”

(30) Specific Date. If a predetermined date will be established as the due date for the Caterer’s bill for the event, then mark the “Specific Date” checkbox. Conclude making this selection by documenting the exact calendar date that the Client agrees to submit the funds owed for the event.

(31) Other. If the Caterer and the Client have determined that the payment should be made during a specific time or through installments that cannot be defined accurately by the choices in Section IX, then select “Other.” The space provided by this option will allow for a detailed record of when payment(s) should be submitted to the Caterer by the Client.

X. Methods Of Payment

(32) Common Method Of Payment. The way the funds are paid to the Catering Company to satisfy its invoice for the event will need some definition. In Section X, the acceptable method of payment should be established. A checkbox list has been supplied to define an appropriate payment method as one made by “Cash,” “Check,” “Credit Card,” and/or “Venmo.” Every method of payment that the Caterer (or Catering Company) will accept to satisfy the invoice amount must be selected by marking the appropriate checkbox on this list.

(33) Other. If the Catering Company will accept a method of payment that is not noted on the list above, then select the final checkbox. Once done, define each acceptable type of payment the Catering Company will accept on the blank space following the word “Other.”

XI. Late Fee

Select Item 34 Or Select And Complete Item 35

(34) No Late Fee. At times, there may be a delay in the receipt of payment for the event. If the Catering Company or Caterer behind this agreement does not intend to charge a late fee should the Client be unable to submit a payment on time, then select the checkbox “No Late Fee.”

(35) A Late Fee. If the Catering Company (or Caterer) entering this agreement intends to charge “A Late Fee” to its Client for a payment that is not received by the due date, then mark the second checkbox. Keep in mind, unless a grace period is established, a payment that is not received by its due date will be considered late and subjected to the late fee imposed by the Catering Company. In addition to making this selection, the late fee will need to be discussed using the area that follows.

(36) A Flat Fee. If a late fee that consists of a one-time charge will be imposed on a payment submitted after the due date, then locate the “Flat Fee” statement (in Section XI). Place a mark in the corresponding checkbox and document the dollar amount making up the late fee in the space provided.

(37) Based On Interest. If the Catering Company or Caterer will calculate a late fee using a predetermined interest rate applied to the late or unpaid amount, then select the “Based On Interest…” checkbox found in this area. This statement requires that the percent (of the overdue amount) that will be charged to the Client be documented in the space preceding the “%.”

XII. Event Changes

Select And Complete Item 38 Or Select And Complete Item 43

(38) Event Changes Permissible. This agreement shall seek to handle the potential of any changes required for the event. If the Catering Company will allow changes to the requirements of the event (or even cancellation) then select the first option in Section XII (“Can Be Made”). In addition, to making this selection the minimum number of days before the event when any changes or cancellations may be considered permissible should be supplied to the blank line in this option and one of the choices this statement option presents must be selected.

Select And Complete Item 39 Or Select Item 42 To Complete Item 38

(39) Payment Is Required. Naturally, an event change or a cancellation initiated by the Client (or by changes to the Event itself) can be costly to the Caterer behind this agreement. To aid in absorbing such a loss in revenue and/or product, this agreement may call for a minimum payment to be submitted by the Client to the Caterer should any changes or cancellations to the event occur through no fault of the Caterer. To place this safeguard in effect, select the first checkbox statement presented under the “Can Be Made” Option. Keep in mind, that the payment must be defined using one of the statements that immediately follow.

(40) Non-Refundable Deposit Amount. If a deposit is required and a percentage of this deposit will not be refunded should a change or cancellation of the event be made by the Client, then select the first checkbox option provided and document the percentage (of the deposit) that will be considered non-refundable.

(41) Non-refundable Payment Amount. Select the second checkbox (in this option) if a portion of the total amount due for the event will not be considered refundable to the Client as a result of an event change or cancellation. Produce the appropriate percent that shall be applied to the total amount due when determining the nonrefundable amount on the blank space provided.

(42) No Payment Required. Select the “No Payment Is Required” checkbox if the Caterer will not obligate the Client to submit any payment or relinquish any part of a security deposit (submitted prior to and held only for this agreement’s lifespan) should the requirements of the event change or if the event is canceled altogether.

(43) Event Changes Not Allowed. If the arrangements made between the Catering Company and Client may not be altered or canceled as per this agreement, then the “Cannot Be Made” checkbox (found in Section XII) must be selected. This will require further definition through the options presented by this statement.

Select Item 44 Or Select Item 45 To Complete Item 43

(44) Non-Refundable Deposit Amount. Even if the Client agrees that after a certain point he or she will not change the event requirements or cancel the event catering altogether, circumstances beyond his or her control may force this to happen. Even so, the Caterer can set this agreement to require that a certain amount of the deposit be considered non-refundable in the face of an event change or cancellation by marking the second checkbox presented under the “Cannot Be Made” area, then supplying the exact percentage of the deposit that will be kept as payment should the Client change the event requirements placed on the Caterer or cancels this catering job on the blank space following the “%” symbol.

(45) Non-refundable Payment Amount. In some cases, it is either more appropriate for the deposit to be left untouched even if the Client and Caterer agree that some form of payment must be submitted to the Caterer even if the event is changed or canceled by the Client, the Event Venue, or some other circumstance not initiated or caused by the Caterer. To accommodate this preference, this agreement may place a minimum non-refundable payment requirement on the Caterer, regardless of whether the Client changes or cancels the event by selecting the second checkbox statement under “Cannot Be Made,” then furnishing the percentage of the total payment that will be considered non-refundable on the blank space provided.

XVI. Additional Terms & Conditions

(46) Remaining Conditions To Catering. If the Catering Company and Client have made any other arrangements that should be considered part of this agreement but have not yet been covered by the content above, then the Sixteenth Section should be used as an area to document these additional items. While some space has been reserved for this presentation, it should be mentioned that additional space may be inserted if working on-screen or an attachment (that is properly titled) with the balance of the agreement desired by the Catering Company and Client can be named and included with this paperwork.

XVIII. Execution

(47) Caterer’s Signature And Name. This agreement will not be considered complete unless the Caterer signs his or her name, then prints his or her name to the spaces displayed in the “Caterer’s Signature” area provided at the end of this document. Naturally, since this will be considered a binding agreement once it is signed, the Caterer should take an ample amount of time to review and confirm the details supplied to this agreement as well as the presence and content of every attachment affixed to this agreement before submitting his or her signature. If there is any attachment not presented with this document at the time of signing, it will not be considered part of this agreement.

(48) Client’s Signature And Name. The Client (or an Authorized Signature Representative of the Company commissioning the Caterer) must sign the “Client’s Signature” and print his or her name. If he or she is representing a Company who will be the Client of the Caterer, then the Signature Representative of the Client should also report the title or position he or she holds with the Company when printing his or her name.