Frequently Asked Questions
How far in advance should I reserve my date? As soon as you have one! Many of our dates book early, particularly weekend dates during our busy season (late spring through early fall). We do not “pencil in” dates. A date is considered reserved for you when a contract is issued, and it is not confirmed until the signed contract and deposit are received.
What does “Full Service” include? Full service means we will have both cooks and service staff on location to assist with your event. Chicken and some other items are typically prepared on site. Our service staff performs a variety of activities, depending on the particulars of your event, including setting up and servicing the buffet, and clearing away guest’s plates.
Do I have to choose one of these menus? The menus listed on our website are examples of popular standard menus. However, if you’d like to create your own menu, please do! We’re happy to price a custom menu for you.
What are your set up requirements? These requirements will vary from event to event. Typically, the most important thing we need is space! We need an area for cooking which allows our vehicle to stay in close proximity. We also need a work space to stage and prep your menu items. A kitchen is helpful, but depending on your menu requirements, may not be necessary. It is extremely helpful to have both our cooking and work space within convenient walking distance to your guest area. Our staff may be required to carry and move heavy equipment, and excessively long distances can make this difficult. We will provide our own buffet tables; we just ask that you leave space for them when planning your layout. Buffet requirements will vary, but a buffet is typically made up of two 8 foot banquet tables, placed end to end, with a small space in between and room for guests to go down both sides. Special requirements for outdoor events: When working outdoors, a separate 20′ x 20′ tent may be necessary for Chiavetta’s to use as a work area.
What are the requirements for grilling equipment? Our cooking equipment is placed directly on the ground, and we prefer to cook on grass or gravel. Please note that if we do cook on grass, the grass will be burned out and a scar will remain. The grass will probably need to be reseeded. If you would prefer, we can cook on blacktop or asphalt/concrete. However, there is additional equipment we need to bring in order to lift the fire up off of the ground to avoid damaging the surface. The surface underneath the equipment will still become dirty, though we do try to clean it to the best of our ability. PLEASE let us know in advance on what surface we will be cooking.
How long are you on location? Depending on the requirements of your event, our staff will typically arrive approximately 2 1/2 hours prior to your serving time. Once your buffet has been broken down, it will take us anywhere from one to two hours to clean and pack up.
How long does the buffet stay up? Typically buffet service is one hour. The serving time can be extended for an additional service charge. Leftovers are yours to keep. Our staff will package them up.
What are your payment terms? A non-refundable deposit is required at the time you sign your contract, typically $100.00. We may require 50% of the balance to be due ten days prior to your event. Balance in full is required date of event. Sales tax and gratuity will be added to all prices. Gratuity is 10% for paper service, 15% for china.
How do your fundraisers work? Chiavetta’s will cook chicken at your location; your team is responsible for assembling, serving, and selling the meals. Unfortunately, we do not rent tent, tables, or other equipment.
Is there a minimum? Our minimum to cook on location varies. Most days it’s 360 1/2’s of BBQ chicken. We do offer a 300 1/2 minimum on select dates. If you’re planning a smaller event, please consider ordering on a takeout basis. Click here for our full menu.
What are my options for sides? For your convenience, Chiavetta’s offers a variety of options when it comes to salad packages.
What if we run out? We’ve got you covered! We bring extra chicken (listed on your contract as “protection”) in the event that your requirements actually exceed your order. There is no additional charge for this chicken unless you ask us to cook it. Please note that protection is not offered on any of our salad packages.
What do you charge? What we charge depends on what you buy! Some customers purchase the entire meal from us, including paper supplies. Some purchase just the chicken. Because the price of chicken can vary with the fresh market, please call our office at (716) 549-1700 for current pricing.
What should we charge? The price you charge for your dinners is completely up to you. Each organization’s needs vary, depending on their out of pocket expenses and what their goals are, but at the present time, we see most events charging between $10-$12.
How far in advance should I reserve my date? As soon as you have one! Many of our dates book early, particularly weekend dates during our busy season (late spring through early fall). We do not “pencil in” dates. A date is considered reserved for you when a contract is issued, and it’s not confirmed until the signed contract is received, along with a deposit (if required).
What do we need to provide? You will need to provide your own serving utensils. Paper supplies (takeout containers, silverware, etc.) can be purchased from Chiavetta’s, or obtained separately. We do not rent tents, tables, etc.
What do you need for set up? Space! We need a safe area to set up our grilling equipment, and we need our vehicle to stay in close proximity to our cooking area. Please let us know if you need guidance. The size of the grilling equipment will depend upon the size of your event.
What are the requirements for grilling equipment? Our cooking equipment is placed directly on the ground, and we prefer to cook on grass or gravel. Please note that if we do cook on grass, the grass will be burned out and a scar will remain. The grass will probably need to be reseeded to grow back. If you would prefer, we can cook on blacktop or asphalt/concrete. However, there is additional equipment we need to bring in order to lift the fire up off of the ground to avoid damaging the surface. The surface underneath the equipment will still become dirty, though we do try to clean it to the best of our ability. PLEASE let us know in advance on what surface we will be cooking.
Should we do presale? Presale varies from events to event, and depends on several factors. It can be an extremely valuable tool in successfully gauging the size of your event. Some organizations have each member responsible for selling a certain number of tickets, or offer a discounted price for presale tickets versus “at the door” sales. Customers also find it helpful to make the presale tickets a different color from those sold the day of the event. This can make them easier to track. Customers are responsible for generating their own tickets, but for your convenience, we have created a sample template for you here.
How should we advertise? This is up to you, but it can be beneficial in letting people know your event is happening! Chiavetta’s will do several things to assist you in jump-starting your advertising campaign. All events are listed on the Calendar page of our website. Several weeks prior to your event, we will mail you posters with the Chiavetta’s logo that you may personalize with your events’ information. You are also welcome to use our name and logo in any of your own advertising. For your convenience, we’ve created a sample flyer for you here. We also strongly recommend placing a sign in front of your event location a minimum of two weeks in advance of your event.
When is the deadline for changes? While we make every effort to accommodate your changing needs, due to ordering and production requirements, it can be very difficult for us to make changes to your order at the last minute. We will let you know the exact date we require final changes, but it is typically about a week prior to your event.
How long do you stay on location? Depending on the size of your event, your serving time will probably run 3-4 hours. We arrive on location approximately 2 1/2 hours prior to the start of your service, and it typically takes us about an hour to clean up after we’re done cooking.
Do I need a permit from the Health Department? Chiavetta’s has Health Department permits to operate in all the counties of Western New York. However, different counties have different requirements when it comes to individual organizations needing their own permits to serve food to the public. If you are unsure, we suggest you contact your local health department. You can find more information here: (Please note that you will be leaving Chiavetta’s Catering’s website by clicking these links)
How far in advance do I need to place my order? We recommend placing your order as early as possible, with a minimum of a week in advance. If you call us with less than a week before your order, you may still be able to place an order with us. While we make every effort to accommodate orders placed on short notice, please note that some items may no longer be available the closer you order to your event date.
Do you require a deposit? Yes. Typically 20% of your balance or $25.00, whichever is greater. The balance is due when you pick your order up. We accept cash, check, or credit card (Master Card, Visa, or Discover).
Do you deliver? We can arrange delivery for you. Rates vary, depending on your location. The delivery fee is included in your total. Please note that if you choose delivery, the balance due for your food must be paid prior to date of delivery. Delivery does not include set up.
How will my food come packed? Hot items are in a standard, food service foil pan, wrapped in paper, and packed into a corrugated cardboard box that is customized to fit the pan. Salads are bagged, and then boxed (you will need a bowl to mix your tossed salad into).
How long will my food stay hot? While we recommend picking your food up as close to your serving time as possible, our hot items will stay hot in their boxes for a minimum of 2 – 2 1/2 hours. You do not need to keep them warm in an oven. If you intend to hold your hot items for an extended period of time, you may want to consider picking your items up cold and reheating them. Just ask us if you need guidance!
Do I need chafing frames to keep my food hot? This is mostly a matter of personal preference. If your guests will be eating at the same time, chafing frames are usually not necessary to keep food warm. If your serving time is going to be extended over the course of several hours, you may want to consider chafing frames as a possibility. You might be able to find these at your local grocery/party supplies store.
What else might I need? Your order will not automatically include any paper supplies or serving utensils. Any salads will need to be transferred into a serving bowl. We do have these items available for purchase. If ordering tossed salad, we provide you with the basic ingredients, but you will need to mix it.
I see that some items are marked “seasonal.” When can I get them? Items like fruit and veggie trays, and our Tomato, Pepper & Onion Salad may not be available year round. We make every effort to bring our customers quality products at reasonable prices, and may not sell these items from late fall to early spring. We only use locally grown corn on the cob. This season typically begins in late July and ends sometime in September.
Do you decorate sheet cakes? Our sheet cakes are single layer, and do not come decorated.