5 Criteria to Find the Right Answering Service for Your Catering Company


The catering business is a fast-paced industry that requires a lot of dedicated time and attention. Caterers are busy planning, preparing, menu consulting, and making sure that events go off without a hitch. All the while, the phones are ringing with new inquiries, potential leads, and existing clients with last-minute worries about their event. How can you handle it all? 

The good news is that you don’t have to. Not all on your own, anyway. With hospitality-focused answering services, including those for catering companies, you’ll be able to ensure that everything is covered even when you’re not the one doing it. Answering services also come with several other benefits, many of which are similar to the criteria that you use to choose them. 

There are a lot of options out there today for a modern answering service. That can be a blessing and a curse. For a busy caterer like yourself, figuring out the best option can seem like it’s far too time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. You will need to think about what you want from an answering service and which features would make it the most cost-effective option for your needs. 

To help you with that, we’ve compiled a list of the five most important criteria for catering companies seeking a professional answering service. Bear in mind that your exact needs might vary, but these five main areas will definitely help you focus your efforts. 

1. 24/7 availability 

As a catering professional, you know how important the details are. You also understand how people are tight on time, have random requests, and how sometimes, even in catering, emergencies happen. That’s why it is very important for you to first find an answering service that delivers 24/7 availability to answer your calls with a live person. People have a lot of choices for professional services in the hospitality industry. If they get a message when they call your business, they’ll go to one of those other choices rather than waiting to hear from you. 

Just because your business needs to be available 24/7 doesn’t mean that you have to handle the load on your own. With an answering service, you’ll never miss a client call or potential opportunity, and you’ll know that it’s done professionally by someone that you can trust. 

2. Transparent pricing and plans

As you know, you can’t beat around the bush when it comes to getting paid. Answering services are the same, or they should be. With so much competition, the best companies are the ones that offer information on plans, pricing, and other details readily for their visitors. Check to see what the standard plans include, what kind of information they have on pricing and their services, and more. 

This is also a good time to make sure that you understand what “getting a quote” entails. Some companies demand it as a way to force people into communication, but the best companies will only tell you that a custom quote is required if it is, for the sake of pricing accuracy. Otherwise, everything should be up front. 

3. Customization and scalability

Your needs are going to be different than those of the next catering company. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you have an answering service that can grow and scale with your business. What kind of features and services are included? How much can you tweak or modify plans to suit your needs? Are you able to customize greetings, voicemails, and even scripts for certain parts of your services? 

Think, also, about how well the company will grow with you in the future. Some businesses don’t look forward only to hire a small-time service to help field calls, only to realize that as they grow, they have to change providers because their existing provider can’t keep up. Choose an answering service that delivers the level of scalability and customization that you need. 

4. Features 

The features included with an answering service are among the most important criteria on your list. If they don’t have the features you need, virtual receptionists cannot possibly be “right” for your needs. Consider their communications solutions, availability, admin services, and other ways that they can help you communicate with and take care of your catering clients. 

Even if you’re not familiar with answering services, a little research on this aspect will help you see all the different features that you can get so that you know how to plan accordingly moving forward. There’s no need to pay for extra features or things you won’t use, but take advantage of those features you do get that make the entire partnership easier than ever. 

5. Professional experience 

When you choose an answering service, you have a certain expectation level when it comes to the service that you receive. Fortunately, you can find answering services that deliver to your expectations and beyond. Consider a virtual receptionist team or answering service that is professionally trained and experienced. See how much they’ve worked with catering companies in the past. 

Make sure that these professionals have meticulous attention to detail so that your catering events and clients get the dedicated focus that they deserve. Without this level of professionalism, nothing else on the list really matters. 

Speaking of professional, ask about a partnership with Smith.ai

At Smith.ai, we have a team of virtual receptionists ready to heed your every need and provide the solutions that your catering company needs for communications and admin solutions. We’ll answer every call to ensure that you don’t miss a single opportunity, thanks to our 24/7 answering service. But it’s not just that—we’ll also work with you to create a solution that includes lead intake, appointment scheduling, live website chat, and other features. 

Plus, it all comes with a custom strategy to ensure that we’re taking care of all the details while you take care of the details of your events. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.

Business Education
Food Delivery and Catering
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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