Catering - FAQ


Some clients feel they don't need staffing and that would be true if you friends and family could control themselves around good food. But for those in the know we offer help with controlling portions and whatnot.

Some clients feel they don't need staffing and that would be true if your friends and family could control themselves around good food. But for those in the know we offer help with controlling portions and whatnot.

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Fully staffed buffets include, tables, tablecloths, chafers, serving utensils, etc. Partially staffed events only provide food and limited staffing - e.g. Pitmaster onsite but no servers or tables, etc.

STAFFING - All staffing requires a 5-7 hour minimum. Each additional unscheduled hour, or portion thereof, will be billed at double the hourly rate.

Server (Buffet)—25/employee, per hour (suggest 1 per 25 guest)

Busser/Runner—20/employee, per hour (suggest 1 per 40 guest)

Event Coordinator—40/employee, per hour (suggest for parties of 75 guest or higher)

Carver—30/employee, per hour

Bartender—35/employee, per hour

Grillmaster—55/employee, per hour (you supply the grill)

Grillmaster w/ grill—75/employee, per hour

Pitmaster w/ smoker—125/employee, per hour

Are you insured?

Yes we have general liability insurance for our company.

What is the best way to contact you with questions or to place an order?

Because we're still a small we don't always have someone in the office to answer phones so email is our preferred way of contact. We can get those any and everywhere. If you would prefer calling and we're not in, please make use of the voice mail.

When you are ready to discuss your catering needs, type it out and send via email or use our Request Form. Please let us know what time you would like your guest to eat. As soon as we can, we will acknowledge your request, call you with any questions, and ultimately send you a formal estimate. We require a $250 deposit to hold a date. Once your details are worked out the deposit will be applied to your 25% invoice deposit.

How much notice do I need to give for a catering order?
We always recommend reserving your date as soon as you decide to use us to cater, especially for large functions. Because we're a small company we can't accommodate all the request we receive. Also it cushions you from price changes that may occur before your event. In the case of an unanticipated event, such as a memorial, we try our best to accommodate and respond quickly.

There is a $250 non-refundable deposit to reserve your date. Once your details are worked out the deposit will be applied to your invoice despot.

What does the 18.5% service fee cover?
All catering is subject to a service fee. The service fee offsets labor and administration costs such as dishwashing, packing for your event, shopping for food, additional automotive insurance, etc. There is more to your The service fee is not a gratuity and is subject to state and local tax laws.

Event locations at a park or picnic site may incur additional charges. If there are access challenges (stairs, difficult parking, etc.), additional charges will apply.

Why are your prices higher than your competitors?
We refuse to prep our products and stick them in a freezer until you order. We shop 1-3 days prior to your event and everything is prepared that day or the night before. Meat is carved straight off the smoker and placed in pans, Cornbread is fresh from the oven. And because we shop per event, we can't take advantage of bulk pricing discounts.

Why do you charge for onsite cooking?
We sometimes use multiple smokers depending on the number of events we're doing in a day. When we send a smoker out for onsite catering it is limited to the one function of making sure your event is a success and it require us the use of additional resources.

Should I opt for onsite cooking?
If it is within your budget, then by all means it is highly recommended. Please think long and hard before saying yes. For small events the cost for a Pitmaster onsite can be more than the food. Also some of our larger meats take 10-12 hours to cook but you may not want us around that long. Shorter cook items can still take anywhere from 2-5 hours. That could mean we cook your food and leave. No hanging around to chat or carve. Send the servers home when you're done.

Depending on the logistics of the event we may arrive 30 minutes to 1-hour prior to your event. For a fully staffed event we bring tables, tablecloths, chafers, serving utensils, etc.. For partially staffed where you only want a Pitmaster or maybe a busser/runner, we provide the food and staff while you provide everything else.

What can I expect when I order from Bigmista's ?
Depending on the logistics of the event we may arrive 30 minutes to 2-hours prior to your event. For a fully staffed event we bring tables, tablecloths, chafers, serving utensils, etc.. For partially staffed where you only want a Pitmaster or maybe a busser/runner, we provide the food and staff while you provide everything else.

  • For outdoor or casual events we suggest wire chafers so that any leftover food can be kept hot for say late guest who want hot food after we're gone

All of our food is prepared to order and is intended to be served at appropriate temperatures depending on whether it's a hot or cold dish. We are somewhat unique in that you can simply order by the pound, pan or bowl for delivery. Our prices are published, and are the same for everyone. There are no hidden costs. In all cases, we will make sure you understand clearly what you are getting, and what it costs. Whether you are trying to figure out how much food to order for an event or just a hungry family, we will be attentive to your needs. Let us know what you are looking for, and we will do our best to provide helpful information.

Please note that while we are a full service catering company that provides staffing, we do not provide rental equipment. We can, however, recommend other companies who will help you.

How are the items on your menu, presented, served, etc.?
Food is transported via Cambro hotboxes or coolers. We serve food in chafers, glass and bamboo bowls and bamboo and various type platters.

  • Buffet Style - traditional spread where guest line up (ideal for events that are short on time)
  • Station Style - tables are set up with various foods types per table (ideal for limited seating events)
  • Family Style - bowls and platters are brought to tables and passed by guest (great for casual events with few time constraints

Do your servers wear uniforms?
Our usual uniform is black shorts/jeans and Bigmista Tees. If you want us in the black and white attire, we will accommodate our hire staff who will. But regardless the attire they are professional, neat, and always ready to help.

How many servers will I need?
As a general rule, we suggest one server for every 25 guest at a buffet. However, the server ratio depends on how formal or complicated the event is and may be reduced or increased, depending on these factors. A very simple buffet many only require 1 server for 35 people. Using your event details, we will recommend the minimum number of servers required based on our experience.

Note that at least two servers are required for all events with service. Even for small events, the work required to load in and prep food in a timely manner requires at least two staff members on site.

How are staffing hours calculated?
In general, staff hours include:

  • .5 - 1 hour prior to the event for setup
  • Number of event hours
  • .5 - 1 hour after the event for cleanup

Drive time to and from the event (portal to portal)

There is a 5 hour minimum for staffing offsite events and 7 hour minimum for staffing onsite events.

What are single-service items and how do I get them?

These items include paper plates, eating utensils, and paper napkins. They are available upon request at a cost of $1.25 per guest.

PAYMENT AND CANCELLATION POLICY

Can I change my order once it has been placed?
We are usually able to accommodate changes made at least five days before your event. Let us know when submitting your order if you anticipate making any adjustments. Please note that we consider all orders final five days before the scheduled event date and are not able to make any changes after this time.

What is your cancellation policy?
Please let us know as soon as possible if you need to cancel you event. Events that are canceled less than ten full days before the scheduled event date will be charged 100% of the total invoice. This charge is to cover foods that cannot be used, labor, rental goods, and jobs we may have declined in order to accommodate your event. Full cancellation policy is provided in catering contract.

How do I pay for my order?
You are welcome to pay with cash, check or credit card (we accept all major credit cards). Cash or check payments may be made at one of our market locations before your event. Checks may also be sent to the mailing address on our Let's Talk page. We require a credit card to guarantee all orders. Full payment is due ten days before the event. Unless we are notified otherwise any outstanding balance will be charged to the card on file. If we do not receive full payment ten days before the event a late charge of $25/day will be added. If payment is not received or we are unable to process your credit card for payment, your order will not be fulfilled.

Is a gratuity automatically added to my order?
We do not automatically add gratuities to your order. We are often asked if tipping is customary, to which we respond that some customers do and others do not. The matter is up to you.