Wedding Venue Catering Restrictions?
August 28, 2010 6:28 PM   Subscribe

Perfect wedding venue (inexpensive yacht club in perfect spot in RI) wants a licensed caterer to prepare the food- but my good friends want to cook and are not licensed. -Is there a way to get around this? - Is there a way to find a caterer to do part of the meal and have my friend's supplement the menu with their own dishes? (ones that dont need the kitchen) - Any other advice on getting around this dilemma? -Do most venues have this requirement? Thanks so much!
posted by tessalations999 to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You'll have to check with the venue, but unfortunately there is probably not a way around it. Many venues have similar rules -- it's because of liability (in case someone gets sick eating your friends' food -- a problem which wouldn't be mitigated by them bringing pre-made items) and safety (in case your friends cut or burn themselves while preparing food in their kitchen).
posted by hansbrough at 6:43 PM on August 28, 2010

I would check to see if they need to be a licensed caterer, or if they merely need to prepare the food in a licensed kitchen.

If the latter, you or they could certainly find a licensed kitchen to rent from; a restaurant on off hours, or perhaps a church kitchen.
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 6:54 PM on August 28, 2010

Would they maybe let you sign a waiver, stating that you are aware of the potential risks of having an unlicensed caterer and you're willing to assume the liability?

Maybe check around and find out how people are able to have things like potluck suppers, ice cream socials, funeral meals prepared by church ladies, etc., where none of the cooks are licensed.
posted by amyms at 6:59 PM on August 28, 2010

Yeah, higher end hotels have a stipulation that their staff makes the food. Its kinda the reason why the the places are kinda cheap...cuz they make the money on the food.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:59 PM on August 28, 2010

This is very common. Oftentimes the venue will actually offer you only a shortlist of approved caterers, or only one. So if they will allow you to work with any licensed caterer, that's quite flexible.
posted by Miko at 8:05 PM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Could you have your friends do their food prep in the club kitchen, and hire a caterer (one person, not a whole staff) to supervise?
posted by jon1270 at 2:52 AM on August 29, 2010

RI may have different regulations than here in MA, but you might want to contact the RI Dept of Public Health to check on this. In MA, you can apply for things like a catering permit or a temporary food establishment permit at your local health department. Your friends might be able to get a temporary food service permit/license, which might be a compromise to offer the venue. Likely the group of people preparing the food would need to have at least one who is ServSafe certified (knows what temperature foods need to be held at for hot/cold preparations, etc). My hunch is at things like church suppers, you still have a kitchen manager (even if a volunteer) who holds this certification. Talk to the RI Dept of Public Health, or contact the health department for the town in which the wedding will be held, to find out what other options you and your friends might have. Good luck!
posted by pants at 4:41 AM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

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