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How to calculate catering a dinner

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am a culinary instructor, mainly I teach Latin American Cuisine, I do this as a hobby., but lately I have had
requests to cater dinners for 4 to 10 people. I have a pretty good idea
of how to calculate the food, what I need help is in calculating a fee
per person (of course taking in account type of dinner chicken, vegetarian, seafood, etc.)
need help in:

calculate food cost, food quantity my time and services, how much should
I charge per person.

My services will include:
buying all groceries for the dinner (groceries from Whole Foods)
preparing the dinner where dinner will be held (some dishes I could make at home)
serving dinner
and clean up
dinner will include
2 small ordeurs tohave with cocktails or wine
1 appetizer
small salad
main dish

wine or alcoholic drinks not included.

Also if you can recommend a book I can buy to use as a easy guide., please remember that I am not a chef book needs to be easy to

thank you.
post #2 of 5
These are the dinners most caterers avoid like the plague.
Say you have 4 guests.....even at $100 a person at the end of the evening it's $400 minus food costs, prep time, etc......say food costs $150youare left with $250for approx 12-15 hours work.

The last time I did a small party it was for 10 guests I charged $750 and they paid for 2 waitstaff.
Planning the menu so that it was not extremely labor intensive. All in all, not my idea of a good time.....at the end of the day you've spent alot of time with small return.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #3 of 5

Well, how much do you think your time is worth?

Do you teach at home (as in an inspected commercial kitchen), a University, at your students homes or...?

My red flag warnings:
#1 - Making ANY food at home that you intend to get paid for. Unless you have a commercial kitchen.

Which leads me to #2:
Getting paid for anything food related:
Have you looked into product liability, business licenses, etc. ?

I agree with Shroom about the bottom line cost. You also have to take into account your time to buy the provisions, the depreciation of your vehicle, gas, menu planning. How much do you get as a teacher per hour and go from there.

There are a lot of good catering books out there. I would try the library as a start.

post #4 of 5
Usually in giving a quote the first thing you need to come up with is your anticipated food costs- figure out what you need to purchase and in what quantities, then divide that total by you number of diners. Working with that base, then calculate the total $ value of your time, divide that by your # of diners also and you have a total per person. Don't forget that you will need to have everything prepped at home and be sure to ask your host what utencils, equipment, tableware, etc is available or need to be provided. Have fun!
Bon Vive' !
Bon Vive' !
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Tks so much for your input, I do not teach at home, I teach for 2 organizations, all is covered such as food handler permit, etc.
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