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Need caterer in OC for trial team, 30ppl a day for 3-4 months, 3 meals a day plus snacks

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Chowhound community...I need your recommendations for caterers who can handle the food needs of a large law firm on-site trial team, three meals a day plus snacks for a three to four month trial on site for upwards of 30 people a day.

Would prefer recommendations from caterers you have experience with, preferably experience with caterers over multiple days so you can confirm that the variety of food was interesting and consistent.

Thank you all CH.

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  1. Can't help out at all with actual recommendations in that area, but as someone who works in a field that uses a lot of caterers for long stretches of time on projects, I strongly recommend that you book multiple caterers and cycle through them quite a bit. I've never once had a caterer that doesn't get old very fast, like a week or two, especially if you're doing both lunch and dinner. Mind you, I fully appreciate the tough job that they have. It's just that all caterers have a certain "style" to their food, and that style tends to not waver very much even over dishes that are seemingly different on paper. Also I've rarely if ever seen one that had more than two weeks worth of unique dishes. So after eating the same caterer for a week or two you tend to really start longing for something different. Plus you'll want to keep open the possibility of one or some of them being a total bomb with your staff and dropping out of the rotation. I'd say start with at least 4 or 5 for 1-3 day stints each on a cycle, and don't commit to longer than a month for any of them. You should also schedule in a couple of "fun" food nights like a food truck stopping by or whatnot.

    Sorry if what I'm saying is already obvious to you, but figured I'd mention it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: QualityMart

      As a seasoned (salt, pepper and assorted herbs) litigator, I have to agree with QualityMart's suggestion of some sort of rotation--variety is the spice of life, after all!

      Beyond that point, it would be difficult and/or expensive to tie up a really good caterer for three-four months, particularly with that sort of schedule. You might even be better off hiring a private chef and having him/her staff up for the job. I also like the idea of bringing in the occasional food truck just to break things up...even if it is just the parking lot, the trial team should get outside once in a while.

      Of course, one of the issues you will need to address for any caterer or private chef will be whether your office space has a real kitchen or you will need the food to either be pre-made or cooking apparatus brought in (might be Code issues depending on how extensive).

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        1. I agree with Quailty Mart's assessment that the palate becomes jaded very quickly so it might be better to switch your caterers or restaurants. A few years ago for a 4 week shoot, we used Alex's Gourmet Catering (based out of the valley) but our shoot was in LA. They have their own truck where they cooked out of and set up meal tables as well. They were professional and delicious, fed everyone ON TIME and the menu changed daily (1 fish, 3 meat, 1 vegetarian mains and extensive sides) including a full craft services (snacks). On our last day of shooting, we ate surf n turf, lobster and filet. I don't know what your budget entails but they were not cheap because we wanted to take care of our crew. Sidenote - In N Out has a catering truck too that you can order from if you want to do a fun lunch. I have done it as a fun thank you to my staff and it was always well received.

          2 Replies
          1. re: tissue

            Thanks All! Will report back on who we end up with and how the food is.

            1. re: Food_destroyed_my_life

              I'd like to recommend Auntie Em's catering as well. All the events I've been to catered by them have tasted fantastic although I've never hired them. Sorry I can't be more OC centric.

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