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Catering FAQ


How are you ensuring the health and safety of guests and employees during these times?

We look forward to serving you and your guests in a safe and responsible manner. We are committed to the safety and health of our community members, staff, and patrons. Our team will continue to abide by all applicable state regulations and guidelines.

Learn more about what we’re doing to ensure the safety of our team, our customers, and our community.

Am I able to postpone the catering for my event? What does that process look like?

Yes, you are able to postpone planned full-service catering for your event. Elephants Catering allows you to move your 2020 catering date one time, to any date in 2021. If you are still unable to hold your event on the new 2021 date, due to COVID related reasons, then our Force Majeure clause would be enacted, and we would be able to refund the deposit minus $250.

Otherwise, if you wanted to cancel the event outside of the Force Majeure clause, the following deadlines would apply:

90 day notice – 50% refund of deposit

30 day notice – 25% refund of the deposit

What do catered events during Phase 1 and Phase 2 look like?


  • During Phase 1 in Oregon, our catering staff is available to delivery & drop off your menu items. These items are available to be delivered cold to re-heat or hot and ready-to-eat. As of now, buffet service and bulk beverages are not available due to state regulations. At Elephants Catering, we have re-worked our menu to offer pre-composed meals, individual appetizers, and cocktail kits.
    • Guest counts are limited to groups of 25, which does include any vendors/staff that would be onsite during your event. 6′ distancing must be maintained at all times between those who are not in the same household/family unit. Venues are designating separate doors for entering & exiting the building and are doing hourly sanitation of bathrooms and other high-touch points.
  • Regulations in Phase 2 are similar to Phase 1, though higher guest counts are allowed. In general, venues can host up to 250 people assuming the space is large enough to still maintain 6′ distance between each person (i.e., 36 sq. ft. per person). This guest count also includes any vendors who may be onsite.
​How do your menus work?
  • Our Full-Service Catering Menu is designed for a more elegant setting in mind and contains pre-selected choices appropriate for virtually any occasion. The full-service catering menu requires on-site chef preparation.
  • Our Delivery Menu is for our drop-off and catering delivery services..
  • Please inquire with our staff of professional event planners to receive the current full-service or standard catering menu and note that any prices listed do not include staff, bar service, equipment, décor services or gratuity. These can vary greatly depending on the scope of your event.
​Can you deliver or provide drop-off catering for my event?

Elephants Catering & Events specializes in drop-off catering for any event!

A few notes for clients considering drop-off catering:

  • Only our delivery catering menu is available for drop-off catering.
  • Drop-off catering is delivered fully prepared and ready-to-eat, so we recommend a delivery window as close as possible to meal time.
  • Our dedicated staff is assigned a specified delivery window, which is determined a minimum of 12 hours prior to your event. Any last minute changes cannot be guaranteed. All the items on our current Delivery Menu are sent with disposable containers and platters. For our casserole/entree items, the single serve “Small” containers are microwave safe and the Medium and Large sizes are microwave and oven safe.
Do you deliver to my location?

We deliver throughout the Portland metro area as well as the surrounding communities. You can check your delivery fee by by zip code here.

Do you deliver to my location?


Can you offer buffet style meals and/or send your food items in larger containers for serving groups?

Current regulations do not allow for buffet meals, though, for 2021 Summer-Fall events, we are happy to quote out a buffet-style meal. We are able to deliver and drop of menu items in larger containers for you and your guests to serve, though our staff would not be able to set-up the buffet area at this time.

​Can I substitute menu items if I don’t like something?
  • For our à la carte menus, the choice is yours! If you are shopping our full service menu, we can substitute up to two menu items of equal or lesser value at no additional cost. Substituted items of higher cost (i.e. substituting salmon for chicken) will result in additional charges for the higher-priced item. Simply select any item from the current menu and inquire with your catering event planner for details.

Please note: there will be no reduction in total cost of the overall menu.

Why can’t I just pick a package with a set cost per guest? Isn’t that easier?​
  • While pre-set packages with an all-inclusive cost per guest can be easier for budgeting purposes, Elephants prefers to customize each event we cater. We feel that every client deserves input on their menu and guest experience. No two events are ever the same, and we want your experience to be uniquely yours.
  • Customizing your event also allows us to put your valuable budget to use in areas where it really counts, and makes it easier for you to see where your money is being spent. Simply put, without pre-set packages, we can stretch your budget further and give you control over your guests’ experience.
​I’m hosting my wedding/event at my house, and I like to grill – can you provide side dishes and serving trays?
  • Of course! Our extensive selection of side dishes will perfectly complement virtually any main course. If necessary, we can also provide decorative serving platters, chafing dishes, and utensils for a small fee.

Please note: Because of our strict adherence to Health Department regulations, Elephants staff cannot prepare or handle any food items provided by you.

​Do you offer menu tastings?
  • We offer complimentary tastings for up to two individuals with a signed contract. Tastings are conducted at our catering offices in SE Portland and are by appointment only. Additional guests can be accommodated with advanced notice, for $10 per person.
  • All tastings are limited to your proposed menu only, with an option for one additional item if requested in advance. If a menu item is not available, Elephants will make every effort to substitute a similar or suggested substitute.

Please note: all menu tasting items are subject to ingredient availability, and may not be feasible outside of the seasonal menu’s time frame.

​When should we do a tasting?
  • Our menus are updated to take advantage of locally and seasonally available ingredients. We recommend, therefore, selecting a day reasonably close (30-45 days before) to your event date to increase the likelihood that particular menu items or ingredients are available.
​I don’t know where I am going to hold my wedding/event – can you help?
  • Elephants is a preferred caterer at most of the premier venues in the greater Portland-metro area, as well as the Columbia Gorge and Willamette wine country. For more information, please refer to our preferred catering venues page on our website.
  • Elephants also has two private dining rooms at our NW 22nd and Corbett Avenue locations, perfect for intimate to mid-size events.
  • We continually seek to establish and expand relationships with the region’s best venues, and would be thrilled to help you find the perfect setting for your big day.
​Do you sell and serve alcohol?
  • Elephants is a fully OLCC licensed provider of beer, wine and spirits, and will happily provide and serve at your event. We maintain a full selection of regional wine and beer, and specialize in creating custom-crafted cocktails as well.
​Can we bring our own alcohol for you to serve?
  • Elephants clients are free to provide their own alcohol for events, but it must all come from the same source (no BYOB). All events with client-provided alcohol must be pre-approved by the venue (unless it is a private residence), and may result in additional venue-specific insurance or fee requirements.

Please note: not all venues permit client-provided alcohol, and some carry restrictions on the types of alcohol allowed.

  • If alcohol is provided by the client, Elephants Catering charges a per-bottle/drink corkage fee in addition to the per-guest bar setup fee. This covers the cost of bar equipment, insurance and standard mixers.
​Do you provide flatware and serviceware? How about décor and flowers?


  • COVID UPDATE: At this time we are able to offer disposable plates, flatware, and beverage items. For full-service events, we would require that all china, glassware, flatware, etc. be organized and delivered/picked up through a rental company.
  • We work with numerous talented local vendors to arrange for specialty décor pieces, floral arrangements, lighting, draping and props.Our Catering Event Planners can provide recommendations on what items are needed and which rental companies can provide them.
​How about specialty cocktails?
  • Our resident barkeeps live to devise cocktails (from old classics to custom creations) suited to your event. Elephants is also proud to offer a selection of “preferred cocktails” with each and every full bar package. This rotating roster of revived classics and brand new creations is sure to be a hit with your guests, and is complimentary with all full bars.
  • In addition to craft cocktails, Elephants is bringing back the long-neglected party punch. These drinks have a long history (they were a favorite of the founding fathers) and add a surprisingly affordable element of nostalgia and elegance to any event. These batch cocktails also help eliminate the dreaded bar lineup at the beginning of an event. Please inquire with your event planner for seasonal offerings.
Do you offer discounts for non-profit galas and events?

Yes! We extend a year-round discount of 10% off food and beverages for catering and sack lunch orders for our non-profit and B-Corp Certified customers, and can range anywhere from board luncheons to large charity fundraisers.

​When do I sign a contract?

A contract is best generated and signed when you formally reserve your event date. Menu particulars and event details can continue to be updated and modified throughout the event planning process, but only a signed contract and deposit will reserve your event date. Please note that summer, holiday, and weekend event dates book quickly, so a signed contract is best completed farther in advance.

​My venue doesn’t have the necessary tables and chairs (or ones that I like) – can you help?
  • Elephants works with the best in the event rental field, and can procure many styles of chairs, covers, couches, or lounge furniture. Just let us know what you’re looking for, and we will be happy to find it for you. If you are planning a wedding during the summer months, please let us know as soon as possible, as the most popular styles and colors may be in limited supply come spring.
​When do you need my final guest count?

Your final guest count – not subject to reduction – is due five (5) business days prior to your event. Any increase in guest count beyond this date may incur additional charges, as menu ingredients are ordered specifically for your event.

I still have a few of your catering dishes, should I keep them? Or will you be picking them up?

We generally return the following day to collect everything unless the client requests a same day pick up, which we would then schedule. We ask that the client keep all of the equipment in the same location as the delivery so the driver doesn’t run the risk of missing anything. Unfortunately, we do miss things sometimes, especially if it’s at a 3rd party location. If this happens then its best for the client to give us a call with the invoice number so we can arrange for a driver to go back and collect, or if you wish, you can bring any dishes back to our Central Kitchen, located @ 1611 SE 7th Ave. Portland, OR 97214.

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