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Do you specialize in certain types of food or service? Can we sample your menu before choosing?
We are a full scale catering operation providing events from simple box lunches to elegant plated meals for small groups to buffets for the entire campus community. We work with a variety of menus, specializing in customized solutions based on event needs and budgets. Our offerings include all natural items, organic and locally grown items and vegetarian & vegan dishes. Advance menu tastings can be arranged (additional charges may apply).

What size of events do you cater?
You name it, we do it! From two-person plated meals for the Chancellor to 8,000 employees at the Annual University Employee Appreciation Day buffet each October, there’s no event we cannot do.

What makes you different from other catering companies?
A few notable things come right to mind…

  • We are a department of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Auxiliary Services - when you use our services, you are working with the University itself. This also means for University Departments, we can bill inter-departmentally to ease the payment process.
  • As a department of the University, the campus community is our only customer. We do not cater events that are not related to campus departments or University-affiliated individuals or organizations.
  • We have a dedicated staff of classically-trained chefs with over 100 years of experience, led by our Culinary Institute of America-trained Executive Chef.
  • We are the exclusive caterer at the William & Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.
  • We cater over 2,000 events per year all across campus and have experience in a full range of catering – from simple box lunches to highly customized receptions and plated meals.

How far do you travel to cater an event?
For no additional charge, we provide catering anywhere within 15 miles of campus.  Additional charges may apply for catering at locations further than 15 miles from campus.

Will you handle all settings of tables? Can your staff put out place cards and favors? 
Yes. In planning your event with you, we can customize service so we can set up everything just the way you want it.  Additional attendant charges may apply.

Can you provide tables, chairs, plates, special linens or silverware?
We have a list of rental companies that we work with on a regular basis and can assist you in selecting and coordinating any needed rentals. Additional charges may apply for any rentals requested for your event.

I may need a tent. Can you provide one?
We can arrange a tent rental for your every need. When a tent is used, we plan and diagram its orientation at your site, table placements within, etc. Typically, rental companies for tents bill the client directly and require a 50% deposit before installation.

Do you provide flowers?
We can order appropriate floral arrangements within your budget or can assist you in coordinating all floral decisions. We work with many prominent florists in the area. Most florists bill directly to the client.


    How do I go about planning an event? When do I need to reserve a date on your calendar?
    As soon as you have a specific date in mind, contact us to reserve that date on our calendar. Some events are booked a year in advance! Normally, we need 10 days advance notice to properly plan an event, although some can be arranged in less time. In all cases, we will need 72 hours advance notice in order to ensure we have the proper food and staff to execute your event. With that said, it something pops up on your calendar inside of 72 hours, please contact us as we may be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat depending on what we already have going on. Also, when you contact us, we can assist in getting you connected with the right person on campus to reserve a space for your event.

    What is the process for planning an event?
    After your initial contact with our office, we will have you review our catering guides to get a general idea of the types & nature of our offerings. Our catering staff will then work with you to understand your catering needs and assist as needed in planning your event, culminating in a customized proposal for your event.

    Who will oversee the catering operations on the day of the event?
    The catering manager and staff will oversee the event.

    Do you have a standard staff-to-guest ratio? If so, what is it?
    For buffets, we usually provide one server per thirty-two guests. Plated meals and receptions may require more staff depending on the nature of the event. Such staffing may fall into the pricing listed in our catering guide or additional charges may apply.

    How long before the start time of the event will you need access to the room?
    Depending on the menu and nature of the event, we like to arrive one to three hours prior to the start of the event to ensure adequate set-up time.

    When do I need to decide on a final guest count? What happens if that number goes up or down shortly before or the day of the event?
    We require your final minimum guest count (3) business days in advance of your event. This number will be used to establish ordering quantities for food, rentals, staffing, etc. After this final guaranteed minimum number is given, we will make every effort to accommodate increases to your final count made within three (3) business days of your event, but we cannot lower your final count for billing purposes after the first deadline.

    I would like to have an event with a specific theme. Do you supply decorations and other items to suit the theme I have in mind?
    Our event planner can coordinate all aspects of your party to suit a particular theme you have in mind. Our approach is all-inclusive. From a custom menu to style of food presentations, from table settings (chairs, linen, china, serving pieces, flowers, etc.) to site development (enclosures, props, walkways, lighting, plants, etc.). Obviously, additional charges may apply but we are well-versed in working within a budget.


    Some of my guests are vegetarian. How will you accommodate them?
    We are happy to provide vegetarian or other dietetic menu choices as needed to please your guests. In addition to our CIA-trained Executive Chef, we also have a Registered Dietician on staff to support in catering planning.

    When having a catered event by Carolina Catering are we allowed to bring in our own food and beverages?
    Carolina Catering does not allow any outside food or beverage to be brought into your event unless it has been pre-approved in advance by our Catering Director.

    What beverage services do you provide?
    Since we are a department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Catering does not maintain an ABC license. However, customers are able to provide beer or wine for serving at their events. In those situations, all alcohol must be poured by our TIPS-trained staff. Additional service charges will apply in these circumstances at the rate of $2 per person. In regard to non-alcoholic beverages, we can provide a wide variety of beverage service, from bulk beverage service to individual bottled beverages.

    Can we have alcohol at our event? If so, are we allowed to pour the alcohol ourselves?
    Since we are a department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Catering does not maintain an ABC license. However, customers are able to provide beer or wine for serving at their events. In those situations, all alcohol must be poured by our TIPS-trained staff. Additional service charges will apply in these circumstances at the rate of $2 per person.

    Are we allowed to take home any leftover food from our event?
    For safety reasons, all food is provided for consumption on premises at the event only and may not be taken home.

    Can you provide wedding cakes? Is there a cake-cutting fee?
    Absolutely! We have a full-time pastry chef on staff. Cake cutting fees are $25 per hour per attendant.


    How does your pricing work?
    Unlike most caterers who apply a standard service charge or additional line item charges to the listed price for items such as attendants, linens and service wares, the prices listed in our catering guides reflect the full price for the food and standard service of the event (linens, attendants, set-up and break-down of the event). Additional charges may apply for service or wares beyond our standard set-up (china, specialty equipment rentals, additional or specialty linens, additional attendants, etc.) and for orders that do not meet our minimum order thresholds.

    What can I expect to see in your proposal?
    Our event proposals itemize cost estimates per person for food and beverage in addition to cost estimates for any service beyond our standard service model (china, specialty equipment rentals, additional or specialty linens, additional attendants, etc.). Changes in the final guest count as calculated on our proposal may affect stated cost estimates.

    Can I get a refund if not all guests showed up or if there is leftover food?

    A guaranteed attendance is required for all events at least (3) business days prior to the event date. Carolina Catering prepares food and provides staffing based on that count. Therefore, refunds are not given if guests do not attend or if all of the food is not consumed.

    What are your standard payment terms?
    We accept Visa, MasterCard, and University Departmental billings (Chartfield string). For Visa & Mastercard payment, 50% is due three business days before the event with the balance is due the day of the event. University Departmental billing is handled after the event by UNC-CH Auxiliary Services.

    What is your event cancellation policy?
    Given the preparation of food and staffing for your event will have already started, any order cancelled within 48 hours of pick-up incur a 50% charge. Orders cancelled within 24 hours will incur 100% charge.


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