Catering is the act of providing food and services or it may be defined as preparing or providing food for someone else to serve; or preparing, delivering and serving food at the premises of another person or event. The aim of this paper is to provide an analytical tool to select the best catering firm providing the most customer satisfaction. The customers of three Turkish catering firms were interviewed and the most important criteria taken into account by the customers while they were selecting their catering firms were determined by a designed questionnaire. The fuzzy analytic hierarchy process was used to compare these catering firms. The means of the triangular fuzzy numbers produced by the customers and experts for each comparison were successfully used in the pairwise comparison matrices. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.