Catering & Alcohol

Alcohol is central to any catered event. Without it, a party is simply not a party. As a guest, liquor service looks easy, but with this service comes responsibility, by-law and liability issues. Hosts and caterers alike are bound by strict obligations.

Guest safety is the ultimate issue, and certain procedures are put in place to protect guests at a party. If the event space is not licensed, then a Special Occasions Permit may be necessary (the only time it is unnecessary is if the party is being held on private property or is in a private space not accessible to the public). If your event takes place in a mall, under a tent or at a public venue, you will need to apply for an “S.O.P.” at least two weeks prior to the event at a Government Liquor Distribution Store. You will be asked to designate someone who will ultimately be present and take responsibility for the event, and will be asked questions about the event itself (i.e. “Are persons under 19 years of age to be admitted?” and “Are you serving homemade wine/beer?”). If you are refused a Special Occasions Permit, you may not serve alcohol!

One way caterers can protect their guests and their clients is to hire only “Serving it Right” staff, which have completed training in responsible drinking. You should have only “Serving it Right” staff present that will assist your guests to drink responsibly. They will inform the host if they have to “cut off” service to someone who has reached their limit. Often a host will say, “Oh, they’re okay, just serve one more.” Realize that the servers are present to protect both you as the host and your guests from hurting themselves or others due to intoxication, and the “just one more” could put your guests in danger. They are the sober ones at your party and their judgment is unimpaired. Let them look after you!

Caterers do provide bar service, and usually at reasonable rates, offering competitive rates based on consumption, and the service of bringing the alcohol to you, then removing it at the end of the evening, all with a low handling fee. If you have ever supplied alcohol, mix, garnish, ice, etc. for an event, you know that it’s a lot of back-breaking work, as well as the added stress wondering “Have I bought enough?” Event catering services provide bar service all the time and are proficient in making sure that they have a sufficient supply. Also, if they find they are running low, they will make a special trip out to supply more liquor, with your permission.

Event catering services want to provide a wonderful service for your event, but as you can see, it is almost a science, as well as a lot of work! But as we do it all the time, we know what needs to be done and look after all the running around so you, the client, can enjoy you party. Remember, always hire “Serving it Right” staff, and let them take good care of you and your guests!