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Here's a good one.. - Page 2

post #31 of 45
>That is interesting advise, but I need to ask...why is that? What is the logic behind it? I guess what I would like to know is, what hard feelings can be had when, say you charge family cost of everything? Meaning, you charge just enough for the food, rentals, employees, etc.<

Goose, sorry for the delay. Somehow, the balance of this thread went right past me.

The problem is, no matter what sort of deal you give family/friends, they think you could have done them better. That, because of the deal, you are providing poorer goods or services. Somebody will always point out, loudly, how you're "taking advantage" of family. Etc. etc.

Rather than being thankful for the discount, they will badmouth you all over the place.

No, it's not logical. But the reality is that people do behave that way. Just ask Lentil.

So I've always taken my friend's advice on that one. I either do the job for free, or I charge my regular rates.

Now, it is difficult to tell family that you're going to charge them full price. They can't (or pretend they can't) understand why you won't give family a break. So, in cases like that, I refer them to professional colleagues who can charge the going rate without getting noses out of joint.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #32 of 45
I ran across this with the last minister of the church I rent my catering kitchen from.....he wanted a party using the old china, glassware, silverware from the church for 250 guests......had no clue what served catering costs dispite menus etc.....I told him it'd take 2 staff 8 hours to wash all the serviceware because alot of it has not been used in who knows how many years......YEARS......

2 years I provided his holiday party catering......at DEEPLY discounted rates, first year was to introduce myself and food to the congregation. Second year he said the budget's the same as last year.......that's what happens.
That was an interesting learning curve. He retired, moved to Florida and is eating early bird specials at Denny's I bet.

Free the first year would have been much more sensible.
Though I still feed my family for free.....their wedding food will be my gift to them. My brother's a chiropractor and takes care of me/my sons.....I feed them. works.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #33 of 45

never get the number of guest right

why is it when a bride sends out 600 invites and says "I don't expect but 150 to attend the wedding reception, so I will pay for 150 guest", and then you prepare for 150 guest and 300 guest show up. Then as the caterer I am expected to have food for 300, or do a big stetch. So many clients think nothing of not being truthful, after all, not having enough food doesn't make them look bad, it all falls on the caterer. I don't experience this problem too much, but I get so angry that I have threatened to pull all food. When they have a band, liquor, tons of flowers, paying a big fee to rent the venue, I just don't understand some of their thoughts. The food is the one things guest always remember.:p
post #34 of 45

never get the number of guest right

why is it when a bride sends out 600 invites and says "I don't expect but 150 to attend the wedding reception, so I will pay for 150 guest", and then you prepare for 150 guest and 300 guest show up. Then as the caterer I am expected to have food for 300, or do a big stetch. So many clients think nothing of not being truthful, after all, not having enough food doesn't make them look bad, it all falls on the caterer. I don't experience this problem too much, but I get so angry that I have threatened to pull all food. When they have a band, liquor, tons of flowers, paying a big fee to rent the venue, I just don't understand some of their thoughts. The food is the one things guest always remember.:p
post #35 of 45
gozahead....does this happen to you often? One of the things my friend does is has 10-20% food backup and states on his contract that if the guest count increases at the party there is back up food at $Xpp additional. I've only encountered that twice....once last night and once for a non-profit that underestimated by 40 guests.....thank goodness there was enough food, though we were washing plates to be able to serve more at the buffet.

Last night was a frugel customer that I have an ongoing relationship with for personal cheffing......his original count was 40 final count 80 and when I left over 90 were anticipated. The food he selected was not "dinner" by any stretch of the imagination and yet the tables were set up looking like dinner would happen. Honesty is the best policy, if hosts want everyone to eat then they should give a good count. I can't wait to hear how it turned out....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #36 of 45

more guests

I definately find people try to give me a lower count and then assume I will have enough food... I always do because the 1 time I didn't ( there were way more people than I had contracted for it was someone who had kept lowering her numbers on me as she changed her menu & prices rose - think she was less naive than me???- )people stopped hiring me for a while because in this tiny community work had spread that I ran out! Now I run into the previously mentioned leftover problem... I have good ideas from all of you on how to handle this now!:chef:
post #37 of 45
As a potential future father of the bride (even though she *is* 24-but still lives at home), I truly appreciate this topic.
I'm "frugal" in some ways (okay, tighter than a duck's butt), and this topic has openend my eyes to the costs of a number of things that go on in the caterer's operaion that I just hadn't considered. Things (if not explicitly explained up front) which would have made me think I was getting shafted by a caterer...
Which raises a question.
How does one convince his daughter to elope???
(no offense to the catering business intended)
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
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I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
post #38 of 45
Menu changes after they've been agreed upon (unless it's a local food deal where you are partners with mother nature) have additional charges.....after stating that in a contract I've found changes just don't occur anymore. That was an early learning curve. If you are prebuying then it costs you money to change the menu.

At some point you have final count. 2 weeks is fairly standard.
I've started putting prices based on amounts 150-200 is X 149-100 is x
etc....that way if the numbers decrease and you've given a large group discount you are not stuck with the same price for 25 as you gave for 200......

You know 25 years ago I went to a wedding reception that was in the bride's home and was potluck. It was great. The couple just graduated from doctoral programs at Tulane, had no money and it was casual.....really was a fun celebration. Just because you cook for a living doesn't mean you have to have your daughter's reception catered. Several middle of the road receptions run $15-20,000 easily. Offer a downpayment on a house or a wedding reception, should work out to be about the same.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #39 of 45
Thread Starter 
I also have a daughter who could be married in the not so distant future, so I know what you mean! She as actually said thatshe wants me to cater her wedding. Oh, I don't think so!!!! She revised it to say that she wants my company to cater it. Again, I don't think that would be very relaxing for me. I'm hoping for a small family gathering in the back yard. Of course, if she wants to pay for a destination wedding, I'll go along....
post #40 of 45
:smiles:Thanks for some great advice on how to charge for different numbers of guest. Great idea that I am going to add to my contract. My policy on final payment is 10 days prior to event and at that time they still can make changes. Usually the number is less, so I will start Monday adding the amounts charged for different numbers of people. I tell my clients that there will a small precentage of extra food and that I can cover a few extra guest. Also, I will add to my contract the suggestion that I will have back up for additional $. Maybe when they see they will still have to pay for extra mouths, they won't be too many extras to feed.:lol: Great advice, THANKS:p
post #41 of 45
When my wife and I got maried (33 years ago this coming September - and no, I've *never* forgotten our anniversary), we (she) paid for our reception, which was held in her parent's back yard.

Funds were in short supply at that time in our lives...

The only "food" served was mixed nuts (how come that doesn't seem unlikely), mints, cake, and a punch served out of a carved ice (two intertwined hearts) punch bowl.

Oh, and champagne.

The champagne was such a hit that my parents privately elected to fund an expedition and send somebody out on a "bubbley run" part way into the evening (since we were about to run out), ensuring that most of the party goers would conveniently forget that the "main course" had eluded their mint/nut laden plates...

We were dumb kids, who had no idea what a "proper" wedding reception should entail.

And truth be told, I'm not sure I'd have it any other way...

Celebrate the occasion for what it is, and be glad that you were asked to be included, and if needed, grab a burger on the way home...

We've entertained the idea of offering a down payment on a house instead of forking money out for a one shot deal like a reception (again, no intentional slight to caterers), while holding a small reception here in our backyard. Probably will offer something more nourishing than mixed nuts and mints...

Even thought about cooking for 50 myself, if only to keep me busy, and not turning into a sniffling pile of goo as the reality of my ony daughter getting married sinks in...

Or hire a chef (have a few local contacts - and pay the asking price) to handle the food, while I supervise operations at the bar.

Nah... That bar part ain't gonna work out either. I'll just lock myself in the garage...
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
post #42 of 45
Thread Starter 
DMT, you are too funny...and right on the mark.

When we got married 23 years ago, our plan was to elope because my youngest sister was planning a big wedding for 6 months later. I didn't want to steal her show by having a big to-do. We also had no money and weren't sold on the whole "wedding" thing. Another sister got wind of the pending elopement and threatened to sever all ties if we didnt' do it right. We ended up having 30 people at her house and the family did all the food. It was very nice. If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I do, however, wish I had registered for some nice china and flatware....

If my emotional state at my daughter's departure to college is any indication of how I'll behave at her (or my son's) wedding, they're going to want to elope themselves. I was some kind of sobbing fool! I don't think either one of them will want to suffer the humiliation of having their mom a wailing, tear-soaked mess in the front row....
post #43 of 45
goza "My policy on final payment is 10 days prior to event and at that time they still can make changes."

When you leave the door open to menu changes so close to the event you aren't able to book other events with the same food and it takes more of your time to keep changing. Just my two cents.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #44 of 45
Tell the bride's father the following, "It doesn't seem like we can have an honest arrangement, so here is a check for the monies you have paid my company. I am sure that the wedding will be wonderful, whoever takes care of it."
post #45 of 45
David,
Having an operating procedure in place and protecting their businesses is what seems to be lacking in several of the posters comments. If they have a CLEAR way of conducting business then there won't be a grey nebulus for clients to wallow in, thrashing around trying to get "the best deal" and not knowing what the caterers perameters are, because they are not firmly stated.

I highly recommend Roman's Catering seminars, held at Fancy Food Shows throughout the US....NYC, SF and Chicago. He just repeats.... this is your business you are in control of what you provide.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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