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No food tasting until AFTER you sign a contract?

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glitterbug

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 26, 2007
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195
Hi ladies! I never introduced myself on this forum (or even posted my ring in LIW or SMTR - bad PS-er!), but I will soon - promise! In the meantime, I''m here to ask your opinions on a dilemma. One of the top venues that we''re considering is offering a food tasting... but only AFTER we sign the contract! I, for one, am extremely uncomfortable signing on for something blindly, and find this to be absurd. I just wanted to know -- is it a regular occurrence or should this be considered a BIG red flag? I emailed them asking if we could pay for a tasting... but no response yet. And that still feels rather odd!

Our desired wedding date is 10/24 so we really need to make a move on booking the place soon! Panic is already starting to set in...

Thanks for your help, ladies!
 

KatyWI

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
755
Nowhere that I looked offered a tasting before booking... it seems pretty standard to me!

I happen to work in a great restaurant downtown in my city, with some people who have worked in the best restaurants in our city, and I have been told by almost all of them that our venue has by far the best food for large parties like weddings.

Basically, I think you''re expected to rely a decent amount on reviews from others. Lots of googling should help you with that, and maybe asking around with a bunch of people you know?

Good luck! I don''t see why they wouldn''t let you PAY for a tasting, so maybe that will work out for you!
 

choro72

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
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1,867
There have been several posts about this. It''s a standard practice. Some will allow you to taste first, most won''t. I think they will let you pay for a tasting; that''s how it was at ours. Good luck.
 

emeraldlover1

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2006
Messages
2,913
First suggestion...call them. Emails easily get overlooked. Secondly ask, like you did, if you can pay for the tasting and ask if you book with them if they will subtract what you paid for your tasting from the overall deposit/bill.
 

bee*

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2006
Messages
12,170
That sounds pretty standard to me. We went for dinner at our venue to see if we liked the food before we booked it.
 

Winks_Elf

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 28, 2008
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1,674
Hey, that's when we're getting married!


We're in NJ, and we did not go under contract until AFTER the tasting. We had to pay for the alcohol and tip for what would have been the entire amount of the bill ($50 for the alcohol, $250 for the food), but not for the food itself, AND there were three of us at the tasting!

I can't imagine blindly signing a contract for thousands of dollars without having tasted the food. What part of the country are you in? Maybe that's standard in some areas?
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
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5,184
Unfortunately, that''s pretty standard within the industry. Just like as a stylist, we make brides pay for a trial.

You have to keep in mind that this is a business just like any other. While their practices may not be in line with your expectations, generally they go off of what has worked in past. I would contact them and see if you could pay for a tasting, or have dinner at their location.
 

cara

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
2,202
While it may be standard, if you care about the food, be sure to get a lot of reviews from other people before signing on the dotted line! And I would offer to pay for the tasting prior to booking, maybe that will help.

Also, if it is a restaurant, going there for dinner might help you gauge the menu/style of the place but may not be reflective of what their catering outfit is like. Both our rehearsal dinner venue and the wedding caterer had an entirely separate chef and menu items for catering, as catering is a somewhat different beast than restaurant cooking. We ate a normal restaurant dinner at our rehearsal dinner venue, and it was good, but the coordinator made a point of telling us that a separate chef would be brought in for our event and the items she could offer us were somewhat different than what was on the normal restaurant menu.

In the case of our wedding caterer, we also ate at their restaurant prior to booking and had a highly overpriced, mediocre meal but decided to go in for a catering tasting based on their rave reviews as a caterer. The tasting was better than the restaurant meal, their prices for catering reasonable, so we ended up hiring them in spite of our bad meal at their restaurant and they were AWESOME. They were doing an off-site catering without a proper kitchen and it involves a lot of stuff different than serving dinner at a restaurant. So maybe we just caught them on an off night, or maybe they do a good job catering but aren''t running the best restaurant. Who knows. But my point is that even though a restaurant and catering operation might be housed under the same roof, they might involve different people/food so just use that to judge accordingly.
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
6,232
It''s such a standard practice that I didn''t even think to ask for a tasting before I signed the contract. However, I had heard several good reviews of the food from trusted sources, so it was OK for me. Good luck!
 

sba771

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 1, 2008
Messages
887
I think this is the norm. My FSIL was not even allowed to have a tasting once they signed the contract! This was a NY caterer and they felt that their work spoke for itself. They were lucky that they happened to go to an affair that was catered by the same company so at least they had an idea.

To be honest, IMO, the food was just eh but looked beautiful, which is the downside to not being able to taste it first.
 

honey22

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 28, 2007
Messages
4,458
I can see Italia''s point, but we are talking a big difference in $$$$ between getting your hair done and your whole reception. I personally wouldn''t put down a non-refundable deposit without finding out the quality of the food.

With our venue, we have eaten at the resort restaurant several times before, and we specifically asked whether the same chefs would be preparing the function menus. Some venues have catering staff come in for the weddings and they ride off the reputation of the chefs from their restaurant - very misleading!
 

Sparkalicious

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 22, 2007
Messages
3,721
I know ... I t''s standard but something about it just isn''t right, is it?

My venue is the same and I was nervous about it so I just researched about their food quality as much as possible and inquired about references etc. Finally, I was satisfied that, based on their reputation, their food would meet or exceed our expectations.

I equate this not being able to have a food tasting before signing the contract to sort of having to buy a wedding dress without benefit of being able to try it on. No fair, but whatcha gonna do?
 

diamondfan

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 17, 2005
Messages
11,016
that is like test driving the car AFTER you buy it.

Hey, I would only agree if you have an OUT if the food is not agreeable to you.
 

kittybean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 2, 2008
Messages
4,125
I paid for a tasting, then they subtracted the cost from my total cost when I booked the caterer. If your caterer won''t do this, and it makes you uncomfortable with signing the contract, do not sign with them.
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,167
Unfortunately it's standard otherwise they would be giving free food to everyone who walked in the door which would get cost prohibitive for them.

BUT that being said, most places have something in place for those who want tastings beforehand. Some will make you pay and some will make you pay only if you don't book with them. But it's worth an ask for something as important as food IMO.

Our reception venue was a restaurant and we had eaten there before and loved it, so we didn't worry. For my best friend's wedding we were allowed to actually come to another wedding they were catering (in the kitchen area only) and taste the food there. They would have charged my friend if she didn't book, but she did.
 

allycat0303

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 19, 2004
Messages
3,255
I booked my venue before food tasting (and without a fixed idea of price either. They just had starting prices and *approximate* I know scary. But I love the place, and figure we''ll pay whatever it ends up being. Or choose cheaper food choices (i.e chicken...). I think this is pretty standard. If you are worried about food, maybe do a search for reviews on the place online?
 
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