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sayings we hear all too often.......

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
One of my favorite from a low budget (as in how low can you go) drop-off:

"I'd like to get you business from the guests attending, they have children wedding age and will need a caterer"

"Good Food, Nice but cheap"

"we don't need staff, people know I'm inedpt in the kitchen and guests will help clean" !!!!!

"6:00-9:30, but not dinner just inexpensive aps"

All I keep thinking is WHY are you planning a party? Do you think vague referrals will decrease the cost of your already LOW budget event? When you keep bouncing around on guest count it really does no one any invite 75 and anticipate 40....ok we go with 40 count but that will not feed 75.

Anyone got more?
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #2 of 13
The bride from my recent cheap-o wedding told me that she didn't want to pay shrimp to feed all the guests because she knew that some didn't like it. When pressed, she wanted shrimp enough to feed maybe 50 (out of her 200 invited guests...)
post #3 of 13
Brides become so self absorbed that they always think "no one remembers the food." Very, very wrong, it's the center of the event for the guests.
It's only unmemorable, when it's awful to mediocre.

Guest spend an hour getting dressed, spend 20 minutes watching the ceremony and two hours setting around over plates of cheap apps????

Good food, (it doesn't have to be fancy) and everyone thinks it 's a wonderful wedding.

Here's a Slate story "Why is what's served at weddings so wretched?"

Why is the food at weddings so bad? - By Regina Schrambling - Slate Magazine

A caterer should be able to print it and hand it out..... especially to the wedding planners!
post #4 of 13
I turn down more caterings than I accept these days- I stick to what we do and let the cheapos go elsewhere. That is especially true for me and weddings. The first thing out of my mouth when I meet for a wedding party is to say "I'm not going to be the guy who screws up YOUR BIG DAY!!"... And for people on a very tight budget I offer to sit down and help them line out how to do it themselves. I don't compete with grocery store deli trays or Costco appetizers. I'd rather have the client do that stuff themselves!
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
post #5 of 13
Out of curiousity, did you always follow this philosophy, or did you begin doing it after you established your buiness?

I ask becuase as a new business, I am not sure which would be the best practice...from an ideal standpoint, I am sure your way of doing things would be best, but from a practical stand point, I am not sure one can survive the first few lean years...just curious as to how you got to where you are now.
post #6 of 13
<threadjack apologies shroomgirl!>
Goose, it's the hardest thing in the world to do in any business...but start as you intend to go forward! Never sell yourself short or people will gleefully pitch in to help you! Make it known that your service has value attached to it and that it is not commoditized. Be nice about it and never snooty or with an attitude and never be apologetice but still, stand your ground.

If you have lean times, hire yourself out per project to make up for it. You will thank yourself later. But my guess if you are great and I do mean great with terrific management and business skills, you will make money and people will flock to you.

Ask your client, "Would you rather have cheap? Or the wonderful memories of a smooth, seemless and delicious event? Cuz a client's bitterness from disappointment lingers long after the event has faded from the guests' minds.
post #7 of 13
Thanks, Zebra. Sorry for the hijack, folks...I am just absorbing a lot of information from all of you on this site and just had to ask!

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread...
post #8 of 13
Excellent article, nowIamone! I intend to print it out and frame it! Even if I'm the only one who sees it.
post #9 of 13


here are a few

" we're on a tight budget, how much less would it be if we served stale crackers?"

"We have a crowd ranging from all aspects of the culinary galaxy. We like true gourmet ,but a lot of the folks wont appreciate it and we need to cater to everyone"

it takes all types to make the world go 'round!!

auntie of two
post #10 of 13
OMG, as the Cake Designer that no longer does wedding cakes ( but don't hold me to I can sooooo understand what you are saying.

They spend thousands on the dress they and only they get to wear one day. On the Venue, flowers and then they want to scimp on the food and cake!

But the cake people get it worse, in my opinion... It seems that we are an "AFTER THOUGHT" My prices are my prices for a reason, I have a 2g's rent that has to be paid, every month and all the business expenses that running my shop creates.

So, If I tell someone that my Buttercream cakes start at $3.00 ( and I use Meringue buttercreams exclusively) and my fondant cakes start at $5.00..I'm NOT Bob Barker and I do not want to play "LET'S MAKE A DEAL!"

I give staff almost 50% discount on their orders because they work so hard for their money, but then so do I. I used to offer a ham and cheese and turkey and cheese and an 8 ounce cup of coffee..I'd put the sandwich in the pannini machine to warm it up for $2.50 just so they would have a cheap alternative to take out orders of chipping in for pizza's.

but, get this...One of the staff memebers approached me with a referral, ok. She tells me that is a cake for a QUINCEANERA. ( Like Sweet Sixteen party ) and that she wants to pay the cake. ( she know I don't have the heart to charge her full price)

The woman send me a link to this cake:

15th Birthday Cake on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

The changes were to make it 3 tiers instead of 2 and more flowers for less than 1.35. I told her to purchase the cake from the one giving her that deal.

If you start selling cheap, you will be training your customers not to value your work.

When I give a discount, I and only I chose to who an how much.
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
post #11 of 13
My only daughter got married the first of June this year. We had 250+ guests; a location at the river; horrible, lousy weather, it dropped to 47 degrees, whipping winds, and drenching rain. We had pop up tents everywhere and heaters, but it was still cold.

But, everyone still talks about the wedding in our community, ....not the weather, not the flowers, the location, or the beautiful bride...but the food!

We had a dinner buffet, grilled steaks and shrimp, had split crab legs, deep fried halibut, salads and a 16' long table of Italian cookies. The cake was delicious, but I baked and decorated it. And no I will not show you pros; I'm a cook, not a baker.

Our guests felt so special and felt as if they were part of the celebration. After all don't people celebrate special occasion with special food??

My little bride had the attitude that her guests were special not just her... it made a huge difference, in the outcome. Sure wish I knew how you could pass the attitude on as I would find many weddings more tolerable.
post #12 of 13

sayings we all har to often

Thank you all for these... it was a much needed reality check for me. I get all of these and more. I have been catering for 7 years and a lot of my work is for Bar Mitzvah luncheons in the synagogue I belong to. This should be really good work. However, I am finding after 7 years some people still say things like: "Oh I thought this was a hobby for you". Everyone wants a deal... many tell me they have no money for it but then have $15000 parties at night at local hotels:mad:
Don't get me wrong, I have many wonderful satisfied clients and get many wonderfu compliments about food and the display - it is the expectation that everyone is my best friend and should get a deal and that I am not viewed as a professional by some.

My response about starting out is have policies and stick to them from the beginning! You can see from my other thread that the leftover issue is a part of all this. BTW, I told the client that I would send any NON-Perishable items that had never been on the buffet if they existed... this really only left brownies if i don't put them all out... She was thrilled, but started talking about how that way I could hold some back frmo the buffet for her to have (no mention of the perishable issue!!!) I am going to be very sure there are NO leftovers! And i will not compromise again!!!
Thanks for the support!
post #13 of 13

I recently had the problem with left over food from the buffet. I overheard the woman who was working with me tell the hostess that she'd pack up all the food and leave it in the fridge for her. I pulled her aside and told her that we can't do that (not to mention the fact that it wasn't her place to tell the client ANYTHING!!!). Her response was that the client paid for it and was entitled to it. I asked if I was also entitled to a lawsuit should the client get sick from food left out too long.

I don't know who it was that said that the client pays for us to serve a finite number of people. We, as caterers, bring extra in the event that that number of people eat more than anticipated. The food belongs to us until eaten. Once I explained that to my employee, she understood and then had the proper response to the next client who asks for the leftovers.
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