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Tips on Hiring a Caterer

Last updated: February 18, 2020

Selecting a Caterer

Celebrating a special occasion such as a wedding, gala, holiday party or similar gathering requires a great deal of coordination, and menu planning can be challenging. Obtaining a qualified professional caterer can be of great assistance in providing food and beverage services and ensuring a successful function. An informed consumer should select an individual or company that is properly licensed.

In Anne Arundel County, all caterers must have a license from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health in order to prepare and serve food.

There are four types of caterers available:

1. Licensed food service facilities such as hotels and country clubs may operate from the location of licensure and provide catering services on-site.

2. Licensed food service facilities such as restaurants, delicatessens and carry-outs may prepare food and beverage items on location for a catered off-site event.

3. Licensed mobile food service facilities may prepare food and beverages within their unit and provide services for a catered event.

4. Caterers may lease out a licensed food service facility kitchen for preparation and storage of food, beverages and supplies. They must obtain a license for these business related activities.

Researching Catering Services

Catering services should display the food service facility license number and the identity of the issuer on any and all forms of advertising and solicitations. This includes advertising and printed media, business cards, fliers and brochures, contracts for catering services, telephone directories and vehicles used in connection with catering services. When choosing a caterer from outside the state of Maryland, a report from the caterer’s licensing agency must be provided to the Anne Arundel County Department of Health indicating that the facility is licensed and inspected in the jurisdiction where the food service facility is located. You can call the Housing Protection Services Program at 410-222-7192 to check if a particular catering establishment is operating under a current food service facility license.

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