Welcome to Sadlergates Catering’s guide: When Your Caterer Drops The Ball. This comprehensive guide is designed to help you navigate the challenging situation of dealing with unreliable corporate caterers.

At Sadlergates Catering, we understand the importance of reliable corporate catering services and the stress that comes with organising a corporate event. This resource provides insights and advice on contingency plans and other options available to you. Whether you’re planning a business meeting, a company retreat, or a large conference, our guide will help you make informed decisions and ensure your corporate catering goes smoothly.


A Survival Guide For Dealing With Unreliable Corporate Caterers

The food at a corporate event is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it helps to fuel attendees and keep energy levels high. Secondly, it helps to build your corporate image and show your guests, employees and collaborators what your business is all about.

Unfortunately, not all suppliers are as good as they should be. To help you avoid disasters when things go wrong, and get your menu just right, we’ve put together the ultimate survival guide for dealing with unreliable corporate caterers.


Why It’s Important To Have Reliable Corporate Caterers For Your Event Or Meeting

Being able to rely on your suppliers is essential if you’re going to plan successful corporate events. Not only will reliable caterers make organising an event easier and less stressful, they’ll also help you make a great impression on your attendees.


Create A Positive Experience

The food at an event or meeting has a big impact on the guest experience. Having tasty, attractive food on offer will help to create a positive experience and get things off on the right foot.



Reliable caterers will deliver food on time and provide all of the utensils and extras you’ve agreed on. This will help you stick to your schedule and get your guests fed on time.


Dietary Requirements

Dietary requirements are now very common, and it’s essential you cater for attendees’ allergies and preferences. A reliable catering company will be able to meet these requirements without compromising on the quality of food on offer.



Having someone you can trust to handle the food will reduce your workload and allow you to spend time building your working relationships. This can be invaluable when it comes to networking and raising your company profile.



A reliable catering supplier will add an extra layer of professionalism to your event or meeting. If you’re working to make a good impression on your attendees, this can be a real bonus.

How To Identify If Your Existing Corporate Caterer Is Unreliable

No one sets out to use an unreliable caterer. In most cases, businesses get caught out by suppliers they believed to be trustworthy. In order to avoid disasters, you need to be able to identify unreliable caterers. Here are some of the warning signs:


Poor Communication

Poor communication is one of the clearest signs that something is wrong. If your chosen caterer doesn’t respond promptly to emails, fails to answer calls and doesn’t reply to messages, it’s probably a good idea to move on and find someone else.


Lack Of Attention To Detail

Details matter, especially when it comes to corporate events. If your caterer shows a lack of attention to detail, such as errors in the menu or a failure to accommodate dietary requirements, it could well be a sign that they’re not to be trusted.



A company with a history of late deliveries or cancelled orders is likely to be unreliable. Check online reviews, and speak to others in the industry, to find out about the reputation and professional history of your chosen caterer.



Most reliable caterers will place a lot of emphasis on appearance. If staff look scruffy, or if operations seem disorganised or unprofessional, you’re probably not dealing with a reliable supplier.


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In this guide, we provide you with insights and advice on:

→ Why it’s important to have reliable corporate caterers

→ How to identify if your existing corporate caterer is unreliable

→ What you can do if your caterer has let you down last minute

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What You Can Do If Your Caterer Has Let You Down Last Minute

Sometimes, even if you look out for warning signs and do your best to select a reliable caterer, things can still go wrong. Here’s what to do if your caterer lets you down last minute.

Communicate clearly and directly with your caterer. Ask them to explain the problem and tell you exactly what has happened.

Request A Refund
If your caterers are unable to deliver the service they promised, you should be entitled to a full refund.

Choose An Alternative
It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Then you can switch straight to your preferred alternative if your caterers let you down.

Other options you can consider are:

  • Hire another local caterer
  • Order food from a nearby restaurant
  • Take clients out for a meal
  • Provide the food yourself

If you decide to hire new caterers, you’ll need to start looking for a replacement supplier as soon as possible. This will give you time to discuss your requirements with your new provider and get everything sorted.

Ordering food from a nearby restaurant, or going out for a meal, can work well for small groups. However, if you’re hosting a larger event, this may not be practical or affordable.

Providing the food yourself is the most labour intensive option, however it’s also the cheapest. It will mean shopping for ingredients, plating up and washing up, while also hosting your meeting or event.

How To Source A New Corporate Caterer

If your original caterer has left you in the lurch, you’ll need to ensure the new supplier is reliable and up to the job. Sourcing a trustworthy caterer second time round will alleviate stress and help you make the most of your upcoming event.


A great way to find a reliable local caterer with a good reputation is to ask other businesses or industry contacts for recommendations. Using tried and tested caterers should ensure a good service and a good result.

Look Online

If your industry contacts don’t provide any leads, have a look online to see what you can find. Make sure you check reviews on platforms like Google and Facebook. This should give you an idea of the quality of the service on offer.


Networking is another great way to find catering contacts. Attend industry events, and join professional groups like LinkedIn, to start connecting with hospitality providers.


What To Look For When Sourcing A New, Reliable Corporate Caterer

Now you know how to find good catering contacts, you need to understand how to narrow down your options. Of all the qualities to look for in a reliable catering company, these are the most important:

Sadlergates Corporate Catering Guide Image


Reputation is a very good indicator when it comes to selecting a catering company you can trust. A supplier that’s known for its high-quality food and reliable service is likely to deliver a great product at affordable prices. Checking online reviews and asking for recommendations are the best ways of finding a well-respected catering provider.


Look for catering companies that have a proven track record providing food for corporate events and business meetings. Talk to potential providers about the relevant experience they have.


Take a look at the menu to see if your prospective caterer offers a variety of food options. It’s also important to check they’re able to meet different dietary requirements. If possible, do a sampling session so you can taste exactly what’s on offer.

Customer Experience

Just as poor communication can be a red flag, good, responsive communication can be an indicator that you’ve selected a reliable supplier. Think about how professional their communication style is, how responsive they are to your requests and how keen they are to help you to put on the perfect event.

How We Can Help


If your caterer has dropped the ball and let you down, we can help. Our team of highly experienced professional caterers will work with you to create a fantastic event and make your life as stress-free as possible.

Get in touch today to find out more.