This is a difficult review to write because I have mixed feelings about this catering company, and there are always two sides to each story.
Firstly, the service I received in the lead-up to actually receiving the food was pretty terrible, so much so I was feeling like I should cancel the order and lose my money. But then the food was okay and the party ended up being a success.
A few months ago I purchased a catered meal for 10 people from one of those coupon websites that are now very prolific on the internet. It seemed like a great deal – choice of three meats, six salads (or four vegetable dishes), bread rolls and four desserts. It was valued at over $320 and I purchased it for $190. It seemed like a great solution for my two year old's birthday party – I'm very pregnant and didn't want to cook, someone else would do all the work for me.
My first mistake was assuming that the deal I would receive bore any relation to other deals advertised on Red Hen's website, or at least that is what I was told. Before I made my first phone call, I looked at their site and made a few choices of what I wanted. From their 'Number 1 Gourmet Spit Roast' menu, which sounded closest to what I had ordered, there was the choice of three meats from roast pork, lamb or beef, BBQ chicken and ham.
You also had the choice of 6 salads (from a choice of 12) or 4 vegetable dishes from a choice of 7. Some of the choices included Thai noodle and vegetable salad with sweet chilli and lime dressing, Waldorf salad, baby jacket potatoes with butter and parsley, cauliflower cheese and watermelon and red onion basket. Dessert options include profiteroles, fruit salad, mud cake, pavlova and cheesecake.
I made my choices and called Red Hen to let them know I was using a voucher and when I wanted to redeem it. What followed was a series of conversations - awkward at best, to downright rude at worst. I was told that many of the standard options were not available to me because the voucher only catered to 10 people. That makes sense, when you think that many of the events you get a spit-roast can involve 50 or 100 people, and bringing serving sizes down to 10 people can cause some logistical issues. I quickly understood that. It was a pity that the man on the phone did not change his attitude, and I probably haven't been spoken to so rudely in a very long time (unless you count my four year old when she is having a tanty).
I then went online and searched for some reviews of this establishment. I was horrified by what I saw. Red Hen had released some Christmas catering specials and by early January, people were online talking about insufficient food, poor quality and terrible service. Especially the terrible service.
I also found a number of news stories about 'coupon' websites bullying businesses to release deals at 50% or even 70% discount in order to 'bring in new customers'. The website would then take 50% as a fee, leaving businesses earning perhaps 25% of what they would normally. Perhaps for a hairdresser or other service provider this might be tolerable, but for restaurants and caterers, they would still need to purchase food, and their suppliers would not be giving them any discount. I began to understand why this man might be so grumpy, although this in no way excuses poor service.
When I rang to confirm my order and pick up time I was told my call would be returned in 5 to 10 minutes. They called the next day – at 7am. Again, the conversation was so rude I began to think I should cut my losses and order some pizzas.
When the day arrived to collect the food I was nervous and angry. Luckily my husband stepped in to collect the food, and he said that the woman he dealt with was very pleasant and polite. Lucky him. I am ambivalent about the quantity of food we received, because even though we certainly had enough to feed everyone at the party, we had also filled up on a lot of snacks and starters beforehand. This is the meat we received for 10 adults.
Meat provided for 10 people - chicken, ham and roast pork
The salads were plentiful and satisfactory. One – the potato curry salad proved so popular there was none leftover. Each meat came with its own sauce: the marinated chicken breasts (three for 10 people) came with sweet chilli sauce, the roast pork with apple sauce and the ham came with gravy. Or maybe the gravy came with the chicken, it was hard to tell. The fruit salad came with close to a litre of thickened cream, which was extraordinary.
Overall I was not impressed with Red Hen Catering, but this came down more to service than the food itself, although I would not have wanted to pay full price (over $300) for the quantity of food we received. In all, this is perhaps a cautionary tale against purchasing from voucher websites. Do your research beforehand, and keep in mind that what the business is prepared to offer may not be what is represented in what the voucher company advertises.
We hired Red Hen catering for our wedding. We called some 4 months in advance and had a menu sent to us. We were told we could chose from a few items from each section and swap and chage what THEY had suggested. Now when your hiring someone and paying over what came to $3700 to feed 60 people you would expect to get to chose your own food... 2 weeks before the wedding it all blew up when we called as we were told to 2 weeks before ad give our choices... The owner would not except our choices and told us if we wanted our food we needed to come up with another $1000? Now $3700 divided by 60 is already $61 per head? For buffet food, finger food at that. Then after the wedding this man sent an invoice for 1 extra staff persons, the extra that got up and helped was my friend because of the 3 staff he was meant to send he only had 2. Totally not happy with this company and I see if I had of read reviews about them first neither are most people who have to deal with them.. 2 weeks before telling people to cough up more money? $61 for finger food what a joke.
Hiring Red Hen Catering was one of the worst decisions I have ever made. My husband and I booked them for a function last month and they were a total disaster and ruined our day. 1. they turned up late to the event and guests were hungry and annoyed. 2. Two of the hot dishes were luke-warm (at best!) 3. When I expressed my disappointment to the manager of red hen catering. He was downright rude and told me that I got what I paid for. I'be never been so shocked in my life, I paid what was quoted and that entitles me to cold food, late staff and a poor attitude? Please - take my advice, do yourself a favor and avoid red hen catering at all costs. Regards, Nancy