Catering agreement

Catering agreement

A catering agreement is a contract between a client and a supplier regarding food to be provided for an event.

What is a catering agreement?

A catering agreement is a contract between a client and a supplier regarding food to be provided for an event. This can be for a general occasion or a more specialized event, like a wedding.

What a catering agreement should include

In order for an event to be successful, the catering needs to be punctual and have a high quality. In order for this to be ensured, the catering agreement needs to be very precise about the tasks of the caterer, the timeline and all other relevant details.

Some tasks that should be specified include:

  • Menu - the food that is to be set out by caterer needs to be explained in detail. Not only the main course, but also starters and dessert.
  • Alternatives - the catering agreement should allow for alternative dishes or substitute ingredients in case the caterer can not acquire everything needed for the menu that was initially agreed upon.
  • Service - a catering service is usually also responsible for providing the service. However, this should always be specified in the catering agreement. For example, if a client wishes for a buffet style arrangement, but forgets to specify this in the agreement and the caterer brings staff to provide service at the table - that would be a problem.
  • Leftovers - the catering agreement should describe what is to be done with leftover food and beverages.
  • Staffing - every catering agreement should address certain staffing questions such as the ratio of catering employees to guests etc.
  • Additional services and equipment - in case the caterer is required to provide any additional services or use their own equipment, the catering agreement needs to specify these.


Catering agreements should provide a detailed overview over the costs involved in each course, salaries for staff members, fees for extra guests, transportation costs and eventual extra fees.

Other terms and conditions

In addition to the information on food and services, a catering agreement also needs to include a number of common contractual provisions:

  • Basic information - names and contact information of the parties involved, the venue of the event as well as date and time of the event.
  • Deadline for any changes - this serves to avoid any disputes that could arise from changes being made too close to the date of the event.
  • Insurance - most caterers usually have a liability insurance but may sometimes ask the client’s liability insurance to provide coverage for the event.
  • Requirements for health and safety - a catering agreement should include any requirements regarding health and safety the caterer has to follow. If a client requires proof of relevant licenses and permits, it would be detailed under this point.
  • Cancellation - this provides details on the amount of money that will be refunded in the event of a cancellation.
  • Breach of contract - this section of the catering agreement addresses the question of what happens in case one party breaches the contract.

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