FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make up my own menu or make changes in your menus?
Absolutely! We love to help you create a special menu just for your party! All of the menus on this website are completely customizable, you are welcome to make any additions or changes you prefer.
Can you provide for vegetarian, vegan and special dietary needs?
We have wide variety of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and other special needs menu items. When you are ready to plan your event, we will discuss your dietary needs and suggest a menu that will be suitable for you and your guests. Please tell us if we need to consider food allergies.
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 corporate lunches 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 tastings?
Yes, our Executive Chef is happy to prepare a selection of menu items for your enjoyment when you come in to plan your event. Since we do not keep premium or non-seasonal ingredients on-hand for tastings, we must usually shop locally for ingredients at retail stores. To off-set some of our out-of-pocket expenses, we charge $100 per person for tastings. If you sign a contract with us, we will deduct 100% of the tasting charges from your balance due.
Are you insured?
We are fully licensed and insured. Our staff are covered by worker’s compensation.
Do you have children’s prices?
Yes. Children 5 to 10 years old are 50% of the adult price. Children 4 and under are free, but are counted for seating.
Can you provide rental items for my event?
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, dance floors and more.
Do you provide wine or liquor?
While HandHeld is not licensed to sell alcohol at this moment, we are in the process of acquiring a full license.  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 and even secure and coordinate a liquor license for the specific event.
Do you provide bartenders and servers?
Yes. Our bartenders and servers are trained, professional, and just plain nice! We carry full liability insurance for both food and alcohol service. As a general rule, you need to allow one bartender per 100 guests for beer and wine bars and one bartender per 75 guests for full bar service.
Do you have a corkage fee?
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 with long, black bistro aprons. They are professional, neat, and always ready to help! We do like to blend in with the theme ie: Luau attire, or BBQ Attire.
Do you charge extra to cut the wedding cake?
No, it is included in the price.
Do you setup and cleanup?
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.
How many servers will be needed at my event?
As a general rule, we provide one server for every 25 people at a buffet. We provide one server for every 10-12 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 with additional bussers to clear in a timely manner. Or a very simple buffet many only require 1 server for 35 people. Using your event details, we will recommend the minimum. therefore we have a two server minimum for events.
Besides the cost of food, what charges can I expect for a catered event?
When we provide your personalized proposal, we list of all of our estimated charges in order to provide you with a complete proposal. In addition to the package per person price, we include the following in each proposal: rental upgrades or additions (that we obtain on your behalf), labor charges for service staff, and sales tax.
What does the Service Charge Cover? The Service Charge offsets Labor, Administrative Fees, 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.
What is your “Drop Off” service?
We bring a buffet to you, set it up and return later to pick up non-disposable serving items. There are no servers. A delivery & pick-up fee is charged. This option works best for informal corporate events and informal parties. Delivery/pickup charges without staff begin at $60 for the South Bay area. Outside the South Bay/Peninsula or after office hours, there will be an additional charge depending on circumstances.
Do you provide paper goods, china, linens, or chafing dishes for drop offs?
We can add on quality bio-degradable paper or heavy duty plastic plates and eating utensils. We do provide a linen for the buffet and will set up any necessary chaffing dishes.
For themed events we provide buffet décor. If you prefer china and silverware, we will be happy to make arrangements, however these items require that our staff be present at your event.
How do you charge for labor?
We charge for our staff by the hour, based on a five 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 of your staff?
Event Captain: $40 per hour
On-Site Chef: $57 per hour
Bartender: $40 per hour
Event Staff: $35 per hour
Kitchen Staff: $30-37 per hour
Can you help secure a venue?
Yes we do and also have relationships with these venues which makes it extremely valuable to you the client, to make your event stress free. That means we have catered there before and know what they expect, and honor their rules.
We assist you through the whole process of planning this event. But you will also need to make sure that you have asked yourself all the most important questions about the venue.  You will need to start out with an idea in mind for what you are planning.  What are the goals of your event?  How many people will be attending?  What activities do you want to provide?  What is your budget and schedule?  Once you figure out these basics, you can start evaluating different event venues.
Ask the following questions:
  • Is the space available when you need it?
Check the venue’s schedule for the dates and times you need it.  If there is no availability, you may as well press onto the next option.  You might also ask whether there are discounts for booking at certain times of the year or for X number of days.  Also consider the location of the space and whether guests will be able to get there easily.  Will you need to pay extra to assist guests with transportation?  Is it in a good part of town?  This is also a good time to check out the parking options.  Will the venue be comfortable during this time of year?  Does the event host more than one event at a time, and if so, will the other events interfere with yours?
  • Is the space large enough?
An event venue needs to have enough space to accommodate all the guests you are expecting.  If you do not have a full list or expect you might have additions, remember to calculate that into your estimations.  Also make sure there will be enough space for your activity setups and for eating, performances, and other features of the event.  If you are still pretty unsure about how much space you need, you may want to go with an outdoor venue, which can provide more flexibility in this regard (assuming of course the time of year is right).  The venue will also need to be able to accommodate your electrical needs.  If your event involves any type of music or audio presentation, you will also need to evaluate the acoustics.
  • Does the venue have the right atmosphere?
Also important is the ambiance of a given space.  Ask yourself whether the venue you are looking at has an atmosphere which is appropriate for the nature of the event you have planned.  Also think about the demographics of your guest list and whether the environment will be likely to appeal to them.  Can you augment the atmosphere with lighting and décor which will help you to reflect your company brand or create the ambiance you want?
Amenities and Services at your Venue
Next you need to evaluate whether the venue can provide you with all the services and amenities that you and your guests require.  Can you get catering on-site, and if so, what kinds of menus are offered?  If you do not want to use the catering provided by the venue, are you given the option of ordering catering from outside?  What are the minimum orders for foods and drinks, if you are ordering catering from the venue?  Will they provide the food and staff, or just the food?
If your event is a business event, you also probably want to see whether the venue has a business center which allows participants to send and receive faxes, get online, and so forth.  Some venues may also offer shipping and receiving.  If the venue is a hotel and some of your guests may be staying there, you also should probably look into the hotel amenities.
Be Sure to Visit in Person
Before you book a date for your event, you want to make sure you actually take the time to visit the venue and tour it in person.  While you are there, you can not only double check to make sure that the venue has everything you need, but also that the facilities are in good shape.  Check the condition of the walls and floors, and if applicable, the grounds.  Make sure that the parking is going to be adequate, and see if you can picture setting up your event in the space provided.  Picture your lighting and décor and how they will fit in with the space as it is.  How much natural lighting is there, and how much control do you have over it?  Can you expect a lot of distraction from nearby events, if other events will be taking place simultaneously?  How close is the event to the kitchens?  How far to guests have to walk to use the restroom?
Also explore the electrical layout, and see if you can map in your head how you will set up any electrical equipment you are bringing (audiovisual displays and so on).  Count the outlets and draw a map with their locations in the room for later reference.