FAQ

Do you provide bartenders and servers?
Yes. Our bartenders and servers are trained, professional, and just plain nice! We carry full liability insurance for alcohol service. As a general rule, you need to allow one bartender per 80 guests for beer and wine bars and one bartender per 60 guests for full bar service.

How many servers will be needed at my event?
As a general rule, we provide one server for every twenty-eight (28) people at a buffet. We provide one server for every twenty (20) people at a sit down dinner.  However, the server ratio depends on how formal or complicated the event is and may be reduced or increased, depending on these factors. A lavish six-course, sit-down dinner may require one server per 10-12 guests or a very simple buffet many only require 1 server for 35 people. Using your event details, we will recommend the minimum number of servers required based on our experience. Our goal is to make your event run smoothly.

How far in advance should I reserve my date?
Wedding receptions typically book 4-12 months in advance. Corporate events usually have a shorter lead time. If we’re available, we can provide service with a 48 hour notice. We suggest reserving your date as soon as it is confirmed. Summer weekends and all dates in December fill very quickly.

Do you provide rental items such as linens, silverware, glassware, tables, and chairs?
Yes.  Not only can we arrange for the rental of the usual party items such as tables, chairs, linens, china, glassware and silverware, but we also have access to fine china, crystal, and specialty linens. We can also arrange for larger items such as canopies, stages and dance floors. 

Do you provide wine or liquor?
While Top Shelf Staffing is not licensed to sell alcohol, we do maintain the necessary liability insurance to serve your guests if you provide the alcohol. We can provide you with recommendations on where to find the best buys and offer suggestions on selections. 

Do you have a corkage fee if we supply the beverages?
No.  We will open and serve beverages you supply at no additional charge.

Do your servers wear uniforms?
Our trained, professional staff are attired either in black and white uniforms or in all black uniforms. They are professional, neat, and always ready to help!

Do you charge extra to cut the wedding cake?
No, it is included in the price.

Do you set up and clean up?
We will dress and set the tables, clear the tables, and clean the service/kitchen area, leaving it as we have found it. If you wish us to set up and breakdown the tables and chairs there is an additional fee.

What other charges can I expect for a staffed event?
When we provide your customized quote, we list of all of our estimated charges in order to provide you with a complete proposal. In addition to the per person price for food we include the following in each proposal: 
 20% service charge fee
 Cost of rentals (that we obtain on your behalf)
 Labor charges for service staff
 Sales tax 

What does the service charge fee cover?
The service charge fee fee offsets labor and administration costs such as dishwashing, packing for your event, shopping for food, clean up, site visits, working with rental companies, etc. The catering fee is not a gratuity and is subject to state and local tax laws.

Is a gratuity included in your bill?
Gratuities are not itemized in the bill (unless directed to do so by the client), nor are they required. They are, however, graciously accepted by our staff for a job well done. A gratuity of $25-60 per staff member or a percentage of the total is customary. We do not put tip jars on bars for private parties and weddings unless approved by the host.

Do you have a price list?
Most of our event quotes are custom designed for a specific event and a particular client. After a brief conversation with an event coordinator, we will prepare a personalized proposal for your budget.  The factors that affect the price of an event include the number and kind of menu choices, number of guests, length of the event as well as number of servers required.  We try our best to accommodate your budget.  Our goal is to give you the fairest price based on your specific needs.

How can I compare quotes from two different caterers?
In the catering industry there are a variety of ways to present a bid to a client.  For example, some caterers include only the price of food in the per person cost, others include food and service, others include linens and/or china in the per person charge.  It is important when comparing bids from two or more companies that pricing for all of the necessary items are included in both quotes for an accurate comparison.

How do you charge for labor?
We charge for our staff by the hour, based on a four hour minimum per staff person.  We do our best to estimate the amount of time that our staff will be needed for your event.  However, since many variables exist, the final cost is based on the actual time worked.   For large full service events, we require an Event Manager to oversee staff and ensure the coordination of a successful event.

What are the Hourly rates for your staff?
Event Manager @ $40.00 per hour
On-Site Chef @ $40.00 per hour
Bartender @ $28.00 per hour
Server @ $25.00 per hour
Kitchen Staff @ $25.00 per hour