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Catering Contract Template

This Catering Contract is entered into between [CATERER] (“Caterer”) and [CLIENT] (“Client”) (together, “Parties”) and sets forth the agreement between the Parties relating to catering services to be provided by the Caterer for Client for the event identified in this Contract.

1.  Event details

Client is hiring Caterer to provide food and beverages, and related services, for the following event (“Event”):


Event start time (for guests): [EVENT START TIME] (“Start Time”)

Event end time (for guests): [EVENT END TIME] (“End Time”)

Location:  [VENUE] (“Venue”)

Estimated number of guests: [GUEST COUNT ESTIMATE]

Panda Tip:  The Caterer needs to have some gauge of the size of the event at the time of signing so that appropriate resources can be allocated.  A more precise guest count is routinely given closer in time; that will be addressed in a subsequent paragraph.

2.  Menu to be served

The Parties have agreed to the menu attached to this Catering Agreement as Exhibit A.  Caterer reserves the right to make small changes to the menu if key ingredients are unable to be sourced due to reasons beyond the control of the Parties.  The following limitations will apply to this reservation of right — [LIMITATIONS ON MENU ALTERATIONS].

Panda Tip:  This is a good place to insert details such as keeping the menu vegetarian, or avoiding certain allergens, or other preference unique to the event.

No alcoholic beverages will be served without a separate agreement relating thereto.

Panda Tip:  Serving alcohol involves a number of local and state laws wherever you are located, as well as liquor licenses, and there are also often venue restrictions on alcohol.  Thus, if alcohol is being served, it is better to use a separate document outlining the details of that service.

3.  Coordination with venue

Caterer will need to have access to the Venue no later than [PREP ADVANCE TIME] hours in advance of the Start Time for the Event, and [CLEAN UP TIME] hours after the End Time for clean up.  Client will make all necessary arrangements, at Client’s expense, to get this access arranged.

4.  Payment terms

In exchange for the services of Caterer as specified in this Catering Contract, Client will pay to Caterer $[PER PERSON CHARGE] per person attending the event, but in no event less than the Guest Count provided by Client to Caterer one week in advance of the Event.  As of the signing of this Contract, the total amount is estimated to be $[ESTIMATED TOTAL COST] (“Estimated Total Cost”).

Panda Tip:  A total estimate here makes sure both sides have in mind the approximate total value of the contract; that will be used later for cancellation fees.

Payment will be made to the Caterer as follows:  $[DEPOSIT] deposit due on the date of signing, and the balance of approximately $[APPROXIMATE SECOND PAYMENT] will be due one week in advance of the event.  The exact amount due will be determined, and provided from Client to Caterer in writing, one week in advance of the Event along with a Final Guest Count.

5.  Responsibilities for related costs

Client is solely responsible for all costs and/or deposits relating to use of the Venue, and for obtaining any necessary permissions, authorizations, or other requirement of Caterer providing services at the Venue.

Panda Tip:  Some venues have restrictions and rules relating to what catering companies can be used, or require certain types of insurance, or other things.  This makes clear that all of those details are the responsibility of the Client, not the Caterer.  The Caterer just shows up.

6.  Insurance and indemnification

Caterer has, or will obtain, general liability insurance relating to Caterer’s services at the Event.  However, Client will indemnify and hold harmless Caterer for any damage, theft, or loss of Caterer’s property occurring at the event, causes by any of Client’s guests.

7.  Cancellation

If the Client needs to cancel the event, Client must provide written notice to Caterer along with any required cancellation fee described in this Catering Contract, to effect cancellation.

Client understands that upon entering into this Contract, Caterer is committing time and resources to this Event and thus cancellation would result in lost income and lost business opportunities in an amount hard to precisely calculate.  Therefore, the following cancellation limitations will apply.  If Client requests cancellation of this Contract 90 days or more before the Event, Caterer shall be entitled to [PERCENT FOR 90 DAY CANCELLATION] percent of the Estimated Total Cost.  If Client requests cancellation 45-89 days before the Event, Caterer shall be entitled to [PERCENT FOR 45 DAY CANCELLATION] percent of the Estimated Total Costs.  If Client requests cancellation 31-44 days before the Event, Caterer shall be entitled to [PERCENT FOR 31 DAY CANCELLATION].  After 30 days in advance of the Event, Caterer shall be entitled to 100 percent of the Estimated Total Cost.

The Client’s deposit will be credited against the cancellation fees owed.  Any balance will be payable upon the notice of cancellation.

8.  Legal compliance

Caterer will work in compliance with all applicable local health department rules and regulations relating to food preparation and food service.

9.  Assignment

This Contract cannot be assigned by either Party without the other’s written consent, with the exception set forth in paragraph 10, below.

Panda Tip:  Who does the catering and who runs the events are very personal matters.  Thus, if there is any need to assign any rights or responsibilities to someone else, for example, another catering company, or another host for the event, the other party needs to agree.

10.  Limitation of remedies

If Caterer cannot fulfill its obligations under this Contract for reasons outside of its control, Caterer may locate and retain a replacement catering company at no additional cost to Client, or refund Client’s money in full.  Caterer will not be responsible for any additional damages or compensation under these circumstances.

11.  Resolution of disputes

The Parties agree to not post any negative information about the other arising out of this Contract or Event on any online forum or website without providing advance written notice of the intended content thereof, and providing the other party with an opportunity to resolve any issues between the parties amicably.

Panda Tip:  With various online forums for posting reviews about companies, one negative review could have adverse effects on business.  It would be better, if the client is unhappy, to have a chance to let them tell you what they are unhappy about and give you a chance to make it right, than for them to adversely affect your business reputation.

12.  Jurisdiction and Venue

This Contract will be interpreted according to the laws of the State of [STATE] and any legal action must be filed in the County of [COUNTY] in the State of [STATE].

13.  Entire Agreement

This document, along with its exhibits and attachments, constitutes the entire agreement between the Parties.

Executed on [SIGN DATE]

Caterer                                                              Client

___________________________________ ________________________________

[CATERER]                                                  [CLIENT]

[CATERER ADDRESS]                              [CLIENT ADDRESS]


[CATERER PHONE]                                   [CLIENT PHONE]