Frequently Asked Questions

What type of caterer is Canapés?

a.    Canapés is a highly regarded full-service catering and event planning company serving our clientele for over twenty-five years.  Chef owned and quality driven, Canapés is known for unfailing consistency, organized attention to detail, creative exceptional food, outstanding personalized service and imaginative displays.  This rare combination of elements is what sets Canapés apart from others motivating us to create, conceptualize and complete your most memorable affair.

How can I request and receive a proposal?

Planning an event can be a very overwhelming.  It is our job to make this process and seamless as possible.  Call Canapés at 301.663.8220 to speak with a sales consultant, or submit a Request for Quote on the Contact Us page. The key is information!  Try to have a clear understanding about your vision, needs, guest count, dietary restrictions, but most of all, be realistic about your budget so that we can create an accurate proposal for your consideration.  (Please note that all services in catering are subject to state sales tax including labor.  Make certain that your bottom line includes your sales tax.)   A full proposal will be emailed to you promptly.  Remember this is your preliminary proposal, a starting point.  We know that you will have questions and we are here to assist.  We recommend calling and discussing any questions with a sales consultant; sometimes translations are lost in email.

What styles of service are popular and what are the average costs?

Think about how you want your event to flow...

Buffet ($65-$95 per person)   

  • Casual but can be formalized a bit with a plated first course.
  • Food can be displayed in creative and unique ways.
  • Number of buffets will be suggested according to guest count & venue.
  • Staff: number of staff required is less than other service styles.

Family-Style

  • Semi-Formal, fun and promotes guest interaction with one another.
  • The buffet comes the guest meaning guests do not have to wait for their table to be released or wait in line.
  • Staff: more than a buffet but less than a plated meal.

Plated

  • Semi-formal to formal, organized, elegant.
  • The more complicated and varying the selections will affect speed of service.
  • Staff: more is required to facilitate service; 1:10.
    • Client is responsible for furnishing a list detailing the guests and their selections.
    • Suggest using excel spreadsheet illustrating the guest tables in order of service, the guest’s individual name, their menu selection and any details pertinent for menu service. Do not list just the couple’s name. Auctioning off entrees will detract from the elegant service.

Stations & Action Stations

  • Generally a more expensive option.
  • Staff needed to man/replenish, chefs/servers needed for interaction action stations.
  • Best when there is a more relaxed time frame allowing guests to mingle and graze.
  • Serve a plated beginning course will help to create a more formal atmosphere; dismissing tables will aid with flow.
  • More china/serving vessels are needed.

Tasting Stations

  • Generally a more expensive option.
  • Chefs assemble tasting plates and serve guests.
  • Best when there is a more relaxed time frame allowing guests to mingle and graze.
  • Ideal for spirit pairings.
  • More china/serving vessels are needed. 

Butlered Only

  • Can be cost effective in terms of food expense.
  • Ideal for smaller events or larger events like a corporate cocktail party
  • Requires more staffing.
  • Can reduce the amount of china and silverware needed.

Dessert Only

  • Can be cost effective in terms of food expense.
  • Be courteous to your guests.  Take in to account dietary needs and reception time.  Dessert receptions should be held early in the day around 1pm or late in the evening around 8pm.
Can you accommodate dietary needs and preferences?

Canapés is a scratch caterer.  The chefs of Canapés can gladly accommodate most dietary restrictions and dietary preferences given the proper notice.  Whether you require the entire reception menu to be vegan and gluten-free or just personal portions prepared, it is our pleasure to assist you in making all your guests feeling attended to.
Some dietary requests and substitutions may result in a pricing surcharge.
 
Please advise your sales consultant of the allergies and/or food preferences that need to be accommodated as well as the severity of the allergies.  The culinary staff strives to 
consciously prepare the restricted fare; however, due to the busy nature of our kitchen, cross contamination could occur.   
 
Often clients will request their menu to be produced using local, sustainable and organic ingredients. Canapés caters with a conscious and is fortunate to be surrounded by an abundance of local farms producing high quality products. For local vendor information, please refer to The Frederick Farm Guide.

Canapés kitchen is not kosher approved.
The consumption of raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, shellfish or egg may increase the risk of foodborne illness.

What is your recommendation in serving children?

From our experience, many clients select a kid-friendly menu that is plated and served during the first course.  When notifying your event coordinator of your final guest count, please include all children attending your event in the following groups: children under 2; ages 2-11; and 11 and older.

Do you offer tastings?

Yes! The tasting is a perfect time for you to familiarize yourself with Canapés, taste and critique your selected menu items, share your vision and communicate pertinent details to our event coordinators so that we may execute your wishes to the best of our abilities.  Clients often feel confident and reassured after attending their Tasting. Due to the one-on-one format, food and labor expenses, there is a small per person fee for the tasting.

Can I provide a recipe for a favorite menu item or provide my own special menu item?
Many of our clients have family dishes with sentimental significance or favorite recipes.  Please provide your recipe(s) along with significant notes to your sales consultant as   soon as possible. To emulate your vision, a prepared version of your recipe will be required to be provided for our chefs and sales consultants to taste.   
 
Generally, Canapés will not permit foods prepared from outside sources to be served.  Providing your own dessert is acceptable.  A small sign indicating such is requested.   Refrigeration or storage may not be available.
Can you provide our dessert/wedding cake?

Yes.  Please inform your sales consultant of your desire to do so, the provider, and what any special arrangements for the set and service of your provision is to be.

Canapés is fortunate to have an extraordinarily talented and creative pastry chef on staff.  The possibilities are limitless!  Please refer to our Cakes & Desserts page.  Our one-stop-shop has its advantages for clients with busy lives.

What do you do with leftover food?

A good caterer always offers a little something for the client to remember them by. It is Canapés’ policy is to pack up a bridal box for the bride and groom, as well as any leftovers that are safe to send home. Consuming leftovers is expressly at the client’s risk.

What methods of payment do you accept?

There are three methods in which you can pay your invoice: check, credit card or cash. Payments made by written check, bank/cashier’s check, certified check and wire transfers are not entitled to any discount, nor are they subject to a processing fee. Credit card payments over $1,000 are subject to the bank fee that is assessed on our company for this type of transaction. The convenience fee is 5%.

What is your payment schedule?

A deposit of 20% is requested at the signing of your contract. 50% of the remaining balance is due 60 days prior to the event. Your final guest count is due two weeks prior to your event, at which time your final balance will be calculated. Payment in full is required two weeks prior to your event. 

What is your cancellation policy?

For corporate express contracts, please call our office at 301.663.8220. Cancellation requires a 48-hour notice. After this time, cancellations may incur fees due to the customized nature of our food products.

For weddings and large social events, the client must notify Canapés in writing at least one hundred twenty (120) days prior to the event or Client will forfeit his/her deposit. If Client meets the cancellation requirements, the deposit will be refunded less a cancellation fee of ten percent (10%) of the deposit. In the event Client elects to terminate the contract within one hundred twenty (120) days of the event, the initial deposit will be forfeited. If Client terminates the contract less than (30) days before the event, the client must pay the entire agreed-upon fee set forth in the contract.

What is your inclement weather policy?

Canapés’ inclement weather policy will be activated whenever severe weather conditions arise.  Inclement weather conditions constitute any conditions which create unsafe or hazardous driving conditions.  These conditions may include, but are not limited to snow, ice, flooding, road closures and poor visibility. In snow conditions, roads or parking lots that have been unplowed or that require snow tires and/or chains will be considered an unsafe driving condition.

When inclement weather impacts the normal operation of our delivery service, we will make every attempt to safely provide our services for our guests. We will also make every attempt to contact our guests to confirm the status of their event and notify them in a timely manner regarding any changes in our services. During these challenging weather incidents, it is necessary for us to assess the safety of our delivery team and our delivery fleet, while giving the utmost consideration to our catering guest’s orders.

Canapés monitors local television and radio stations for information regarding unsafe conditions to include community closures, weather alerts, news warnings, and public safety alerts. If severe weather conditions should affect a scheduled event, pick up or delivery, the cancellation and rescheduling fees will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

What is your holiday schedule and are there any surcharges?

Canapés will not be open on Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day.   January 1st, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day are considered premium holidays; labor surcharges will apply.  Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day and St. Patrick’s Day are not considered a premium holiday.

Is there an overtime charge?

It is advised to understand your venue and vendor overtime policies and rates.

For Canapés personnel, your dedicated time is outlined in your Exhibit and the overtime fee is detailed in your contract.  Most clients adhere to the contracted agenda, but on occasion a client wishes to extend.  Your event coordinator will consult with you or your assigned point person regarding your desire to stay on schedule or to extend.  At the time the request is made, payment for the overtime must be made in order to continue.

Do you have a tipping policy or suggestions?

Canapés charges a labor fee, not a percentage service charge on your invoice.  Our personnel charge covers the staff members’ wages, taxes and insurances.  Gratuities are gratefully accepted and appreciated, but not required.  If the client wishes to offer a gratuity, please do so by contacting our bookkeeper directly so that she may equitably distribute your generous gift. The success of your event is due to the hard work and dedication of the entire Canapés staff.  Canapés’ bartending staff is not permitted to display a tip jar.  If guests generously offer a gratuity to a staff member, they will graciously and discreetly accept it.

Do you charge a corkage or cake cutting fee?

Absolutely not! Fees such as these are absurd.

Am I expected to proivde a meal for your staff and other vendors?

Even though these individuals are working, the gesture of providing something to eat is appreciated.  Please inquire with your photographers, musicians and any other vendors regarding their requirements for meal provision.  Canapés offers a significant discount off the meal being served or you can order from our corporate menus.  Keep in mind that the caterer is hired to serve you and your guests first.  The vendors will be fed after everyone.  Sometimes this is not convenient due to agenda obligations. Please advise your sales consultant if this should be the case.  Another alternative is to provide a boxed meal – usually a room temperature meal – that can be consumed at the vendor’s convenience.  

How do I secure your service/reserve my date?

Canapés is a catering firm in high demand.  Dates book up quickly.  If the initial customized proposal appeals to you and fits within your budget, the next step would be to schedule a tasting.  After the tasting is completed, and the revised proposal has been submitted, you will then need to decide if we are the caterer for you.  To reserve your date, a contract will be created using the tasting revision as the initial exhibit detailing outlined services to be rendered.  Please review and indicate your acceptance with your signature, and return it to our office along with the requested deposit.  An executed contract copy will be returned to you along with receipt of payment. 

When is my final guest count due?

Your final guest count is due two weeks prior to your event, at which time your final balance will be calculated.  Payment in full is required two weeks prior to your event.   Once you have given us this number, you can add to your guest count, but you cannot decrease the count.

Can you provide all the rentals we need?

Canapés is a full service caterer.  We can provide tables, chairs, linens, napkins, bar and tablewares, as well as all the service accoutrements you should need to facilitate your event.   If Canapés does not have a particular item in our inventory, we can arrange for the items. However, an upgraded fee may apply.

Can I provide my own rentals?

Canapés is a full-service caterer that strives to make the planning and execution of your event as easy for you as possible.   We are experienced in providing the necessary rental equipment and wares to seamlessly execute your event.  If you should elect to provide your own rental equipment, please review your rental inventory with a Canapés event coordinator to ensure that the appropriate number of items has been reserved.  We will also need to review the rental company’s return instructions and guidelines.  It is so important to order the appropriate quantities. Our staff will assist in facilitating the return requirement; however, depending on the scoop of work involved, additional personnel may be required.  Canapés will not be responsible for any damage or breakage to rented equipment.

What is your suggestion for handling the serving of alcohol?

The service of alcohol will depend on your selected venue.  If your venue holds a liquor license, sales and service will be provided by the venue.  If the venue does not hold a liquor license, you are generally allowed to provide your own alcohol.  Discuss with your venue the policy regarding alcohol service.  You may be required to carry an additional insurance policy and service may be required to stop at a certain time.  Canapés will provide trained and insured bartending staff to triage your selections, service your event, and pack up your unopened inventory for return. Open bottles are given to the client at the conclusion of the event. Providing your own bartending staff is not advised.   Canapés cannot facilitate cash bars.

Canapés can recommend a select list of liquor stores that will provide your alcohol.  We strongly advise that you review the selections and quantities with your event coordinator.  Because most liquor stores will accept the return of unopened bottles and cases of beer, it may be our suggestion to adjust your quantities.  Inform your event coordinator of the provider, delivery date and approximate delivery time.  Some liquor stores will deliver cold products in coolers. If not, Canapés will gladly provide the necessary equipment and triage your selections accordingly.

You have many options with the provision of the bar sodas and mixers. You, your liquor store or Canapés can provide your supporting beverages.  Please refer to Canapés A la Carte Menus for pricing regarding Canapés providing non-alcoholic beverages.  If you decide to serve specialty drinks (ie. Mojitos, etc…), we recommend that Canapés provide a quote for providing all support beverages and garnishes.  As with your alcohol inventory, please consult with your event coordinator to review your beverage needs.

What are the roles and responsibilities of your staff?

A successful event starts with proper staffing.  Canapés employs a professional service and culinary staff. Many members of our team have worked for Canapés for a number of years.  Our staff is very familiar with the many venues that we are recommended to serve.

One of the key elements for your event, whether it is a corporate or social event, is the number of staff required. The venue, décor, food and beverage are all enhanced by service staff who add to the ambience and enjoyment for your guests. Polite, courteous and efficient service can often be the most memorable aspect to the event.

These guidelines are general recommendations.  We treat each event as unique with its own special needs and requirements.  For most events, staff will arrive two hours prior to the event start time. The staff will be instructed and managed by the event supervisor.  

Our staff will set up, facilitate, and clean up your event. A supervisor is assigned to your event and will be your point of contact for the duration of the event.  This person will facilitate your pre-determined wishes and make necessary adjustments real-time.  

Please note that your event supervisor may not be the sales consultant that you have been working with in planning your event.   Clients often form strong bonds with their sales event coordinators, so naturally we understand that you want this person to be present at your event.  This is not always possible, but many times your sales event coordinator will touch base with you to ensure that you are enjoying your event.

Executing an event takes a small army of talented, hard-working, well-trained people who work together to fulfill your wishes and to create the most memorable event.

What is your server-to-guest ratio?

A successful event starts with proper staffing.  While each party and event is unique, there are some general industry guidelines in terms of staffing requirements.

Buffet:  1:25/30

Plated (Informal):  1:18/20

Plated (Formal):  1:10

What is your bartender-to-guest ratio?

A successful event starts with proper staffing.  While each party, event and venue is unique, there are some general industry guidelines in terms of staffing requirements.

Beer & Wine: 1:75

Limited Bar: 1:50

Full Bar: 1:50

What is the standard attire for your staff at events?

Event

A cleaned and pressed uniform consisting of a black dress pants, pressed white dress shirt, black tie, black dress shoes and Canapés bistro apron.

 

Set Up & Casual Events

A clean uniform of a Canapés logo t-shirt or polo shirt and presentable jeans, shorts, or suitable substitution may be worn during event set up.

What do I need to know when starting to plan my event?

Educate yourself!  Refer to websites and bridal publications on how to build your budget prior to contacting a caterer.  So many factors come into play: style of service, food selection, venue requirements and restrictions.  Not all caterers are alike.  Caterers’ methods can range from heat and eat to scratch production. Ask your friends, neighbors and colleagues about their experiences. Discuss whether they have attended a public event, social gathering or wedding where the food and service were particularly memorable.  Refer to your event venue’s preferred vendor list and get feedback from the hostess of the sight.   

Do you have an outline of your planning process available?

Initial Meeting

  • Tour the facility, discuss the various event options offered.
  • Inquire and note client’s budget, vision, theme, traditions, preferences, special requests, etc.
  • Discuss food and beverage options, dietary and religious concerns.
  • Offer advice for recommended vendors.  

Submit Customized Proposal

  • Submit a preliminary customized proposal to client.  
  • Follow up with client to discuss proposal and execute revisions.

Tasting & Event Consultation

  • Tastings are conducted in a one-on-one fashion and generally take two hours.  
  • At the tasting, the client will meet with an event coordinator to review the food selections, outline event aesthetics, special requests, preliminary agenda and time line.

Walkthru & Event Consultation

  • The “walkthru” is customarily scheduled one month prior to the event date.
  • The “walkthru” is key to all parties involved being on the “same page”.
  • Finalize agenda and time line, including vendor selection, contact info, arrival times, needs, etc.
  • Coordinate rehearsal date and time, if applicable.
  • Determine bridal space for getting ready, if needed.  

Rehearsal

  • Ensure space is set to client’s specifications.
  • Direct participants to rehearsal.  Assist client as needed.

Event

  • Set space according to client’s specifications.
  • Direct bride and bridal party to space for getting ready.  
  • Attend to bridal party needs. Emergency Kit Available: hair spray, feminine products, baby powder, deodorant, bobby pins, sewing kit, nail polish, shoe repair kit, double-sided tape, etc.
  • Direct vendors as they arrive.  Contact vendors who don’t arrive at pre-designated time.
  • Coordinate with vendors and synchronize agenda.
  • Direct and assist with place cards, guest book, favors, centerpieces, décor items, etc.
  • Direct guests to ceremony and / or reception, gift and restroom locations.
  • Direct service staff – review agenda, menu comprehension, and information pertinent to event.
  • Assist bride, groom and parents with food and beverage.  
  • Obtain the bridal box from the kitchen and get it to the pre-designated destination.
  • Obtain any leftover samples from the kitchen and get it to the pre-designated destination.
  • Assist client with moving gifts and personal effects to designated vehicles.
What is a walkthru?

The “walkthru” is customarily scheduled one month prior to the event date and is a key element in helping you executing your event to your wishes.  The client is responsible for coordinating the availability of the venue with that of our sales consultant so everyone can meet at the venue and review all event details.  At this meeting, you will finalize your agenda and time line, provide vendor information, assign contact persons and communicate special instructions.  It is important to note that your sales consultant may not be the event supervisor assigned to your event.  At the walkthru, you will be introduced to your event supervisor.

Please understand that your walkthru is normally scheduled during the work week due to our heavy event schedule.