Essential Tips to Food Services Contract Agreement Templates

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Delicious food forms the basis of many events and activities we take for granted. Quality service can make these occasions more enjoyable — but a variety of hazards could compromise the safety and comfort of those who enjoy this seemingly convenient cuisine. Meanwhile, food services providers often operate on slim profit margins that can collapse if clients don't uphold their end of the bargain.

The solution? A food services contract, which provides much-needed protection for providers and clients alike. Although essential, however, these contracts can be difficult to understand. They're even more complicated to develop. We're here to help with a guide that explains:

  • Key Clauses to Include in Any Food Services Contract
  • Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Food Services Contract Template 

Key Clauses to Include in Any Food Services Contract

Even the simplest food services contracts may contain dozens of clauses. These can be adjusted according to the preferences of the contractor and client. Typically, however, a solid food services contract template will include:

  • Scope of services. This crucial section should thoroughly describe the full extent of the services that are to be provided. It might begin with a general definition of the services before diving into details. 
  • Clarification on payments. Every food services contract should outline how compensation will be handled. Specifics should include payment periods and the amount to be paid. For example, some food services contracts stipulate billing on a monthly basis, while extra services may be charged at an hourly rate.
  • Instructions for service space. Often, it is the client's responsibility to secure a suitable space in which the food services company can operate. If so, this should be referenced in the contract.
  • Consensus on menus. Will the client need to sign off on the proposed menu prior to the event or date of service? Be sure to stipulate any need for menu agreements in the contract. 
  • Health department compliance. A variety of compliance issues can come into play when providing food services. These should be outlined in the contract. The section covering the health department should explain how compliance with local health department guidelines will be ensured. This may include conducting employee examinations. 
  • Force majeure. A variety of factors can impact the ability to provide requested food services. To that end, it is important to protect the provider via a force majeure clause. This outlines the various circumstances (beyond the provider's control) that might compromise the food services in question.

Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Food Services Contract Template

If the clauses described above are any indication, food services contracts can be difficult to draft and understand. As such, many providers and clients rely on templates to get them on the right path. These resources can be useful, but the potential for the following mistakes must be acknowledged:

  • Not customizing the food services contract template. While a template can provide actionable guidance, it should not be depended on alone to form the contract. Rather, adjustments should be made according to specific services, payment terms, facility requirements, and other factors deemed relevant to the contractor and client. 
  • A vague force majeure section. Precise language is required in all clauses, but this is particularly important when considering force majeure. Ideally, this section will include the phrase "without limitation," as well as descriptions of unexpected circumstances that might prevent the food services company from completing the tasks outlined in the agreement. Examples might include: public health crises such as pandemics, work stoppages such as strikes, or public emergencies such as insurrections.

Completing the Agreement: Use a Secure Signing Solution

Now that you've customized your food services contract template and reviewed it thoroughly, there's one more essential step: signing the agreement. This may seem simple, but it could potentially involve a surprising degree of risk. To safeguard your business and your clients, opt for a secure eSign solution such as Nitro Sign. Get in touch to learn more about your opportunity for a free trial.

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