Catering FAQs  

Before you call, take a chance to read through our frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you licensed and insured?
Yes, we are. We carry $1,000,000 liability and worker’s comp. We are licensed by the Town of Smyrna and the County of Rutherford. We are inspected by the Health Department at least twice a year.
What was your last health score?
Health Score as of September 19. 2019 = 100
Do you offer tastings?
Yes, food tastings are $125.00 for up to 4 people. Extra guests are $25 each.
Do you provide staffing?

Yes, we do. We have banquet servers, chefs, and bar tenders to take care of all your needs. As a rule, we like to have 1 server for every 12-15 guests for a plated or family- style dinner. We like to have 1 server per 15-20 for a self-serve buffet with china, and 1 server per 25-30 with disposables. Your venue and style of service will ultimately dictate how many servers you will need.

What about To-Go boxes?

We will fix to-go boxes for the Bride and Groom only if we can keep them at safe temperature prior to their departure. They are prepared from the buffet before service starts.

Do you provide meals for people with dietary restrictions?

Yes, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions. Please let us know in advance and we will do our best to take care of all your guests needs.

What are your hours?

Our office hours are 8:30 AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday. Saturdays, we are usually open from 8 AM until 11 AM. Sometimes we must leave early on Saturdays to cater a wedding or make wedding cake deliveries. We will advise you if we will be leaving early for any reason. We are closed on Sundays.

Where are you located?

Our physical address is 117 Spring Circle, Smyrna, Tennessee. We do not have a retail location. We have a commercial kitchen located behind our residence. Appointments are necessary for all consultations and tastings.

Do you do wedding cakes?

Yes, we do wedding cakes, Groom’s cakes and all kinds of desserts and sweets!

Do you add a gratuity to your invoice?

No, we do not add a gratuity to our invoice. A gratuity is a voluntary gesture when receiving exemplary service. Of course, our staff never turns down and does appreciate a gratuity.

Do you have hidden fees?

We try to be transparent with all our fees. We do charge a 20% event fee on catering. There will be a 3% service charge on all credit, debit, and PayPal purchases. All these charges will be shown on your invoicing.

Can I bring my own food to place on the buffet with yours?

No, you may not. We cannot assume the liability for any food we have not been in control of.

How do I book and pay you?

To hold your date, we require a $500 non-refundable retainer. We take cash, checks (three weeks or more prior to your event), credit and debit cards. Final numbers (guarantee) and final payment is due two weeks prior to your event. We can set up a payment plan to fit your budget.

Do you provide alcohol?

No, we do not provide alcohol. We can provide ABC bar tenders to serve your alcohol.

What if I must cancel?

We will work with you to try to reschedule your event, if possible.

Our cancellation policy is:

180 days or more prior to event date; 100% of retainer will be refunded less a $200 admin fee

179-90 days prior to event date; 100% retainer will be refunded less a $300 administration fee

89-60 days prior to event date; 100% of retainer will be refunded less a $400 administration fee

60 days or less prior to event date; No refund will be given.

What type of service do you offer?

We offer pick up, drop off, full service buffets, self-service buffets, stations, plated dinners, and family style dinners. If you have a vision of how you want your event to look and feel, just let us know. We will make it happen for you!

Do you offer discounts?

Yes, we offer a 5% Military discount (Thank you for your service!) We also have a NEW 2% CASH discount.  If you pay by cash or check we will deduct 2% from your invoice before taxes. Checks will only be accepted three weeks prior to your event to give them time to clear the bank.

How far will you travel?

We are only limited by your budget! We have been to St. Louis, Mo.; Pittsburg, Pa.; Chattanooga, Memphis, Fort Campbell, Ky……….

Do you offer discounts for children?
We do offer half price plates for children aged 6-12. We also offer vendor plates at ½ price. Don’t forget to feed you photographer and D.J at your event!
What is your leftover policy?

Let’s look at why your caterer CAN’T or SHOULDN’T leave leftovers for you.

When you hire a caterer, you basically tell them how many to feed and for how long. Most caterers will bump the number up by 10% to cover unexpected guests, second servings, and feeding the staff that is working the event. Most reputable caterers don’t want to have the embarrassment of running out of food, so there is always extra. So, in this case, you didn’t pay for it. The caterer is taking this out of their profit margin.

Then there is the liability issue. The Tennessee food service code states:  (Rule 1200-23-1-.02)

(j) Once served to a consumer, portions of leftover food shall not be served again, except that

packaged food, other than potentially hazardous food, that is still packaged and is still in sound

condition may be re-served.

If you think about it, the food may have been sitting out for two or more hours, and by the time you package it, leave it in your car while you drive home, and get it in the refrigerator, you may be looking at it being out for more than three hours or more. The industry standard is any food left out for two hours must be destroyed, even if it looks good. At that point bacteria are growing at a very fast pace.  This is the difference between taking home food from a restaurant and a catered event. The food you pack up from a restaurant has not been at room temperature for very long. The last thing a caterer wants is for someone to get sick from food that has been left out too long. At one time, we could have the host/hostess sign a waiver, releasing the caterer from liability. That does not hold up in court, as the argument against the caterer is that they must have known the food was no good and that’s why they made you sign a release.

Some caterers will still leave leftovers. Check with yours before your event to know what their policy is. That way there are no hard feelings at the end of a wonderful event. At Jo’s Custom Cakes and Catering we do not leave leftovers- but we would be happy to make you pre-packaged pans that you can take with you that we have kept at safe temperatures during your event.

Why is your tax higher than Davidson County’s?

Good question! Rutherford County’s sales tax is 9.75%

117 Spring Circle
Smyrna, TN 37167
(615) 459-9305
cakelady1@comcast.net

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