In order to efficiently have their clients taste their many different big-day food options, some wedding caterers will offer group tastings as opposed to private ones. More often than not, a catering company that provides communal tastings will hold them a few times each year, often during the changing seasons, so that couples get a good idea of what their menu choices will be. While it's definitely about the food, a group tasting is also a good opportunity to see the catering company in action, as well as check out their presentation style when they're making a high quantity of dishes. There are pros and cons to this style of tasting, which we'll take a look at here.
Pro: You'll see your vendors in action.
A group tasting is often the only opportunity you'll have to see the catering company in action at an event other than your wedding. This is a great opportunity not only to taste the food, but to see what the service is really like, how the food presentations stack up, and to get an authentic feel for how they run an event.
Con: You'll have fewer opportunities to discuss your actual wedding.
A group tasting will always have multiple other clients in attendance. That means you're probably not going to get a lot of one-on-one attention or be able to ask a lot of questions about your wedding. You might need to schedule a follow-up call or meeting if you need more information to make decisions about the menu you're planning or to ask any questions you have about how things will go on your big day.
Pro: You'll likely get to taste more.
While attending a group tasting, you'll probably have a chance to taste multiple dishes that are part of the company's repertoire. During an individual tasting, you're usually asked to select only a few dishes in advance; it's just not practical for a caterer to make a full selection of dishes for two people to try, but it's much easier in a group setting (as an added bonus, there's less food waste). This means you can try just about everything, ultimately making it easier for you to choose the big-day menu you really want.
Con: A group tasting may not be representative of what your day will be like.
Though a group tasting is a nice way to see how the catering company handles a crowd, it's not always the most accurate display of what your celebration will be like. Your wedding venue may be completely different from this space, and your guest list significantly larger. Will the same level of service still apply? If the tasting was plated, but you're having a family-style meal, how will the service differ? It's hard to know without getting some references and asking past clients about their experiences.
Pro: You'll probably get to meet a number of people from the catering team.
It's not uncommon that you'd hire a caterer and not meet with anyone from the team in person until months later. A group tasting is a great way to put a face to a name and start to establish a good relationship in a more casual, relaxed setting. You may even get to meet the servers and bar staff who will be working at your wedding.