How do I get started? - Poke around our site for a bit, check out the suggested menus, read a little about what we do and where we provide service and when you're ready, either give us a call at 941-467-2802 or drop us a line. We're always happy to chat with you! There are some basic questions we'll ask during the initial conversation so having an idea about at least of few of the following will go a long way in getting things started:
-Type of Event?
-Number of Guests?
-Date of Event?
-Duration of Event?
-Name/Location/Type of Venue?
-Thoughts on Food Style?
What, exactly, is 'Drop & Go Service'? - Drop & Go is the most economical way to handle the food facet of your event. We prepare all of the food in our licensed & inspected facility at Hometown Grill & deliver it to you, ready to serve. We set everything up and provide all the chafers, chafing fuel, serving utensils, cutlery, napkins ,and condiments. Once everything is set-up, we answer any questions you might have and provide written instructions for back-up food and then we exit, leaving you all to enjoy yourselves at your leisure. Everything is disposable and you simply discard everything at the end of your event. You are free to keep the serving utensils, racks or anything else you may find useful for the future, it's your call to make.
What type of disposables do you use? - Included with the cost are sturdy plastic plates, usually either white, clear or black, white paper napkins and heavy-duty plastic cutlery which are typically white or clear. Chafing racks are wire, the inset pans are aluminum and serving utensils are either heavy duty plastic or plastic and metal.
Can I upgrade the disposable serving ware or do a theme? - Yes, absolutely! For an additional $5 per person, we can provide faux China (white with a silver rim) and faux silverware (high chrome polish) as well as embossed white napkins. We can also provide eco-friendly disposables like bamboo or palm leaf or follow a theme with specific colors or patterns; those costs vary and we can provide an estimate once we know the specifics. If you wish to use real China & glassware, we recommend contacting Do All Rental of Port Charlotte for those needs.
Do you offer tastings? - Sure! While we can't create one of everything off all of our menus, we're happy to provide samples of two or three of the dishes in which you have the most interest and for no more than three people for a flat fee of $50. This fee covers the cost of product, transport and the time required to prepare your selections. If you require additional selections or have a larger group, please let us know and we can advise the cost for your particular needs. We do not do tastings more than six months ahead of the event.
Can you do themed menus? - We can and we LOVE doing them! We'll do any holiday party or themed event and we'll make the presentation AND the food match!
How much advance notice do you need? - The more the better, of course but for events of 50 guests or more, we prefer at least 30 days notice. However, we will always try to accommodate even short-notice events. If you're in a pinch, you can always call us and we'll do our best to come to the rescue.
What if my date changes? - The sooner we know, the better. Pushing a date back usually isn't a problem unless we're already booked for the alternate date but moving a date up can present an issue.
What is your cancellation policy? - If your event is cancelled within 48 hours of signing the contract, there is no charge and your deposit will be refunded less a $25 flat paperwork fee. If your event is cancelled more than one week prior to the event date, your deposit will be forfeited. (The deposit is 50% of your total invoice and is due at the contract signing.) If your event is cancelled one week or less prior to your event, the entire amount of the contract will be due as food and supplies would already have been purchased and in varying stages of preparation at that point.
When is payment due? - 50% of the total is due upon signing the contract. The balance is due on our arrival at the event. You're also welcome to prepay the entire cost, of course.
What does the catering fee include? - All of the menu planning, cost of food and supplies, all necessary serving equipment such as chafing dishes, platters, serving ware, administrative fees, fuel surcharges and set-up.
What geographic area do you serve? - Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Englewood, Arcadia, North Port, Boca Grande, Gasparilla, Venice, etc... We can also provide service to Fort Myers, North Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Lehigh, Sarasota and beyond. A nominal travel fee may apply for events out of the area.
Is a gratuity included? - No and we would never presume to expect one. We don't have a 'no tipping' policy and of course we'd be flattered if you choose to offer a gratuity but we would never incorporate it into your bill.
Do you offer sit-down event service? - No, but if your event is formal and you wish to have plated service, we can work with you to contract service staff, China, glassware, linens, etc... We'll provide the food, the service staff can take it from there. We recommend Do-All Rental of Port Charlotte for all of those needs.
Can I keep the leftovers? - Yes; everything we deliver to you is yours from the point of delivery. Part of your contract is a 'food waiver' which simply means that once the buffet is set up, you're in control and our responsibility ends with the delivery. For safety, we recommend not keeping food out longer than 4 hours.
Do you offer bar service? - No, we are not licensed to provide liquor or beer & wine service but we can coordinate to provide a professional bartender. Typical rate for a bartender is $50 per hour with a four hour minimum.
Can you work with dietary preferences or restrictions? - Yes, of course! Whether it is a lifestyle choice or a medical need, we can make a full menu within your requirements or simply provide for individual guests with special dietary needs. If we're providing individual meals beyond the selected menu, we do ask that you let us know the number of selections and the type of restrictions at least two weeks prior to the event. It is important to note that if the restrictions are allergen related, a waiver must be signed during the initial contract set-up. We take allergy issues very seriously and will prepare food for those guests with the utmost care and caution but because other food being served may be allergy-inducing, we cannot be responsible for any issues that may arise. While we have complete control over the products while they are in the kitchen area, once service has commenced and guests are handling serving ware at the buffet, we no longer have that control.
Can you provide linens, tables & chairs and decor? - No, but we can recommend Do-All Rental of Port Charlotte. We've worked with them extensively and they always do an exceptional job!
Can you provide the wedding cake or specialty desserts? - We don't do elaborate cakes but we have worked with several in the area and would be happy to make a recommendation. Black Market Cakes, Cake Concepts, Just a Bite Gourmet Cake Pops, & Krista's Cheesecakery are some of our favorites.
Do you provide event insurance? - No, we are not able to provide event insurance but we do strongly recommend it, particularly for weddings. Most insurance providers can quote a policy for you and there are websites devoted specifically to this type of insurance as well.
Do you do in-home catering? - We sure do! As caterers or personal chefs, the goal is the same... to provide wonderful, memorable food and create a delightful culinary experience for you and your guests. We can do dinner parties, luncheons, family events or even do pre-prepped meals for the week with once-a-week drop-off service.
How flexible are you on menus and pricing? - In a word? Extremely. We believe that every event is unique and no matter the budget, we want to create the best possible dining experience for you and your guests. We can swap items, create new items, add-on, pare-back, whatever your particular event needs, we'll adjust our menu accordingly and always remain reasonably priced. There are no substitution charges for like-priced items, there are no 'menu-change' fees and if you choose to substitute an item on the menu with one from a more economical menu, we'll actually lower the cost of your overall menu accordingly. We'll likely be the most down-to-earth (yet awesome!) caterers you'll ever work with.
Have a question that has not been answered here? Drop us a line!