Handheld pimped out sweets......
for example rice crispy treats with chocolate and sprinkles or nuts or jimmies or white chocolate or ........at an indecent upcharge. you are out nominal amount.....
bottled drinks you can return if not sold
I'm leaning on Buba's answer.....he's been around the block a bunch, but as you are a startup and want experience, this is a good opportunity. Just play it smart so it's advantageous for you.
I'm assuming families but heavy on women.....is there a place for them to sit and eat?
I'm also assuming you don't have a restaurant or catering business to use leftover food......correct me if I'm wrong....
So, it's OK to run out of one thing.....if you can freeze leftover unused food that's a bonus.
Western PA......do you have an apple cake or apple butter bar or you get the point.....covers breakfast and dessert....stays moist & bonus made on a sheet pan...
Rentals (equipment etc)
Remember, you don't get filet on a burger budget....but you can get some good budget food.
I don't agree with Lagom on letting them choose how many of whatever.......running out of food is not cool. Being able to come up with a menu that reflects their budget/event/demographics/venue/your style....is what makes catering fun.
if it's buffet have staff serving proteins
If it's plated have a food count walking in if they want reduced costs, that way you know who's having what.
just cus.....break down your fee to rentals, staff, food.
Food alone apps $21+
dinner buffet $55-65
100 guests 7 staff @ $25 per hour per staff, at least 2 hours prior and 1 hour cleanup
Rentals....whatever they need + xx% over the rental fee