How To Hire An Outer Banks Caterer With Confidence

Hire a Local Catering Professional That Will Please

Hire a Local Catering Professional That Will Please

We’ve had such a great response with the tips for the perfect outer banks wedding and to a great obx catering party that we’ve decided to share some more tips.

This time, we’ll offer you a valuable guide when hiring any catering professional, whether in the Outer Banks or not. Following these tips, you’ll be 80% more confident in your catering, we guarantee.


1. Friends’ referrals are your best bet in the initial stages.

2. If you’re at a catered party and you like what you see, get that caterer’s name and number.

3. Before you interview anybody, make sure they have the date of your event available. In the summer, outer banks caterers require a minimum 3 months to properly prepare for your party.

4. Ask each prospective caterer if there’s an upcoming event you can visit to see the kind of work they do.

5. Ask for a list of references. Go online and check their reviews on Yelp!, CitySearch, and see if they’re on Facebook.

7. Call references to gauge satisfaction with caterer’s work.

8. Only talk budget with those professionals that really triggered your interest. But try at least two.

9. Give each caterer your estimated head count and budget. Have them provide a sample menu for your budget. (Chef Wes is currently offering free catering menu tastings here)

10. Ask each potential caterer their policies regarding guaranteed minimums, services they will provide for you, specific hours for the event and any extra costs besides food and beverages (such as table linens). Be specific, ask if they will clean up after or not.

11. Once you’ve selected a caterer, plan a meeting to work out all the details of your event that they will handle including menu and beverages, and possibly facility, centerpieces, decorations and favors. That means coming down to the beach – dont try working out the details over the phone, it rarely works out.

12. Confirm the details regarding number of wait staff, their dress code, taxes, gratuities and payment schedule.

13. Have all agreed upon details put into a contract.

14. Follow-up with caterer the week before your event.

15. Contact the caterer the day before your event.

It’s a Party, But You Still Need To Be Tough

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You have every right to know exactly what will be provided for your money.

Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable with that caterer, you won’t have a good working relationship with him or her, no matter how good his references were.

At the Red Sky, we encourage you to ask those questions, because we work really hard to maintain above-average quality levels in all aspects of our services.

Give us a call to get a list of our references or click on the yellow square to the right to schedule your tasting.

See you soon!

Beyond Catering – Tips For A Perfect Outer Banks Beach Wedding

Outer Banks Weddings - Beyond Catering

Outer Banks Weddings - Beyond Catering

The fantasy of a beautiful beach wedding in the Outer Banks is shared by many brides-to-be, and making it come true for them is what our catering team’s main goal.

But an Outer Banks wedding involves more than amazing food – and here are some tips we gathered for an overall unique obx wedding experience:

Location: Think about booking a private beach. This allows you time for your wedding and your reception – so you and your guests can dance into the night under the stars. In the Outer Banks, some hotels will reserve their beaches exclusively for your party, and several of the bigger rental homes have private beach access.  If you can’t find a private beach have a public beach party. But the best is that even though only a small portion of your family and friends can make the trip, and you’re at the beach, you can always invite a few new-friends in the way of other hotel guests and well-wishers?

Invites: How about sending the invites on an old glass bottle for that message-in-a-bottle feel? Or for an easier and less expensive alternative, find stationary with sand dollar or tropical floral designs.

Decor: Make use of the Outer Banks natural beauty and design 3 heart shapes in the sand with shells, pebbles or driftwood – one for the bride and groom, one for the officiant, and a big one for the guests . Or, have your vows written in the sand for all to see. Watch as the entire decor fades aways as the tide comes in and the party goes on!

Flowers: There are several florists in the Outer Banks who can help with wedding flowers perfect for the beach, but why not wear Hawaiian-style lei flowers instead of a bouquet? Or carry a shell encrusted candle. For a more traditional approach but still keeping to the beach theme, why not encrust shells on the bouquet and flower decor?

Bridal Attire: Here’s a very contemporary approach: wear a grass skirt with a bikini and Hawaiian garland. Or, a floral dress or a sarong and bikini is equally “beachy” and it will definitely fit the Outer Banks lifestyle. Look for shell jewelry (or pearls)! Go barefoot (that’s a must at the beach – at the very least, wear one of those simple yet fashionable Hawaianas flip flops .)

Groom’s Attire: Floral shirt and Bermuda shorts with a Hawaiian garland round his neck. Or he could pull a David Beckham and wear a sarong and vest top. Barefoot or sandals.

Catering: Of course, catering for an Outer Banks wedding is our specialty, and we have several different menus. But how about this classic: White and milk chocolate shell decorations make for a beautiful beach-themed cake. Plain sponge cake is light and luscious in the beach humidity. Consider a seafood spread – prawns, lobster and other seaside favorite. For those looking for authentic cuisine, our specialties include more exotic seafood like delicious ceviches, calamari, and even an aromatic paella.

Favors: For a destination wedding, even if the Outer Banks is not that far from home, it’s not uncommon (and thoughtful) to give guests their favors upon arrival. A goodie bag containing sunglasses, sunscreen and flip-flops will be just what any beach-tripper needs. Consider including some classic OBX t-shirts and shot glasses 😉

5 Tips To A Perfect Outer Banks Catering

If you’re planning any kind of event in the Outer Banks, whether it is a corporate meeting or a wedding, hiring a local catering service will save you a ton of work.

But how can you really know which company to trust?

Here are 5 tips to help you hire an OBX caterer with confidence:

The Perfect Catering in the Outer Banks

The Perfect Catering in the Outer Banks

1. Start looking for professionals very early. The good ones, specially in the summer, are booked solid, sometimes a year in advance. And they will need at least 3-6 months to properly prepare for your event. The further ahead you can book your catering, the better your choices of professionals will be.

2. Sometimes bigger isn’t better, specially in the Outer Banks. Large catering companies will often rely on canned products to sustain their operations, while many smaller caterers prepare everything from scratch. At the Red Sky Cafe, our catering services use the same fresh, local ingredients found in our menu, and we maintain the highest quality standards no matter how big or small of an event.

3. Doing your homework includes coming down to the beach for a visit. Go to their place of business, ask to sample the food, see if everything is up to your standards. If they have a regular restaurant, order from the menu. Most chefs will try to adapt their cuisine to your menu, but if their style doesnt please your taste buds, it’s possible you won’t eat at your event.

Taste a sample of the menu before your event

Taste a sample of the menu before your event

4. Go further on your homework and check references. Call previous clients, talk to diners at the restaurant (if they have one), and most important, find out their health score. In the Outer Banks, the score should be posted conspicuously, and it’s a pretty accurate measurement of their sanitary procedures. Also, politely ask to get a tour of the kitchen – it will give piece of mind knowing how your food is handled.

5. Understate your budget by 10%. Even the most professional catering services have a hard time predicting seafood prices in the Outer Banks, and that may affect your final budget. Or you may need to add 10 guests to the party at the last minute. It’s better to have a little wiggle room.

We hope these tips help you when organizing your next catering in the outer banks. There are many more things to consider, but ultimately, you should hire somebody that you feel comfortable preparing your food.

For more catering tips, read our last post: secrets to a successful outer banks wedding menu.

Wedding Catering At Its Best – The Red Sky Cafe Catering Team!

We’ve all heard funny stories about the food served at weddings: blend, unappealing, boring… And the usual excuse is that we’re not really suppose to be worrying about the food, we’re there to celebrate the joyful union a couple in matrimony.

Blah blah blah… Read more

The Red Sky Cafe On The TV – Remarkable Outer Banks Cuisine

Chef Wes Stepp was recently interviewed by the “What’s Cookin'” show, a program of the Culinary Institute of Virginia.

On the interview, Chef Wes goes over the importance of seasonal fresh ingredients for the Red Sky Cafe menu, and prepares a scrumptious Yellowfin Tuna (straight from the Oregon Inlet) dish that is beyond mouth-watering.

Chef Wes also explains the Red Sky’s personal chef service, which he calls “Chefs On Call”, where customers experience the same gourmet meals in the comfort of their homes, anywhere in the Outer Banks.

The personal chef service arrives with all of the ingredients, cooks it all from scratch at your house, while a professional server takes care of your entire party. At the end, they clean it all up – and BAM! You just had the best restaurant experience without bothering with noisy rooms, waiting lines, or traffic.

Next time you’re in the Outer Banks, let us bring the Red Sky Cafe experience to your door.

Chef Wes is currently offering a free 3-course tasting for all caterings in the outer banks – just click on the link to reserve yours.

See you soon!