4 Sections Every Catering and Event Planning Contract Needs - Purple Fox Legal

Serving Clients in Tennessee and New York


4 Sections Every Catering and Event Planning Contract Needs


By Purple Fox Legal

June 22, 2022

Operating a successful catering or event planning business can definitely be quite a demanding process. From keeping up with client preferences to managing your time accordingly, there is a lot of preparation that goes into catering and event planning. However, one area of business that can often go overlooked is the contract. Catering contracts are incredibly important for protecting you and your business and ensuring you end up with happy, satisfied customers. 

In this article, we’re talking all about catering and event planning contracts and why you need them. Then, we’ll be covering the sections you should include in your own contracts with your business. 

Why Do I Need a Catering or Event Planning Contract?

As a catering or event planning company, your contract is everything. This puts, in writing, the agreements between you and your clients and helps ensure that everyone walks away satisfied. The catering contract can also be beneficial for protecting you against vengeful clients or failed payments. It’s just one of the necessary components of the job, and carrying a catering contract comes with so many benefits. These include: 

  • The services are in writing: This provides legal protection against difficult clients and also sets the service expectations from the get-go
  • Payment is guaranteed: A well-written contract leaves no room for confusion when it comes to payment.
  • The relationship with the client improves: Clients are much more likely to take a business that provides a contract seriously. Set the tone for your company to ensure a smooth relationship with your client. 

What to Include in Your Catering or Event Planning Contract

Though each catering and event planning company is unique, there are certain elements that all contracts should include. The most important are: 

Services Provided

The services you will be providing should be communicated clearly through your contract. There should be no surprises, and clear expectations should be set. This reduces the risk of a potential lawsuit and can help you meet your responsibilities. In your catering or event planning services, determine whether you will: 

  • Research and book the venue
  • Provide the venue
  • Conduct event marketing 
  • Provide on-site staff

Food Options

Your services aren’t the only important component of your contract. You should also include a detailed section that covers menu-related items and food options. Some ideas for this section include:

  • The Menu and Substitutions

Any food provided by your company should be included in the contract. This doesn’t only mean the main menu, but also any appetizers, snacks, and drinks. Any food substitutions for people with allergies or dietary preferences should also be outlined here.

  • How to Handle Leftovers

You and your client should come to an agreement on the way that leftover food will be handled. Include this agreement in the contract. 

  • How the Food will be Served 

Will guests be enjoying a sit-down meal at the event, or will the food be provided buffet-style? Food-service expectations should also be outlined in the contract.

Payment Terms

One critical component of the catering or event planning contact is the payment terms. This section of the contract will ensure that you are paid on time and accordingly. Most contracts like these also contain a payment schedule, which includes a deposit and specified installments prior to the event date. One final payment is usually taken after the event when all the fees and extra charges have been accounted for. 

Cancellation Policy

Unfortunately, all events don’t always go as planned. You will have that odd client or two who has to cancel, and you should be prepared for this. Including a cancellation clause in your contract will help ensure that you’re paid for the work that you’ve already done, even in the event of a cancellation. 

A strong, detailed contract is an important part of any catering or event-planning business, but it shouldn’t be something to stress about. Remember, this is a part of the business that helps protect you

If drafting an effective contract is something that concerns you, consider reaching out for legal assistance.