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Tastings before the wedding question!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have not been "hired" yet for a wedding, Feb 09, but they want a tasting done. I wanted to know should they pay for the tastings or do I pay for all the food? If I do the tasting, and they don't like my food, then I'm out of the money I spent for the tasting.
How should I go about this?
They chose:
Roast Turkey
Ham
Mac and cheese
mashed potatoes
green beans
devil eggs
rolls

Thanks guys!
post #2 of 16
I really hate tastings. I have a small cafe, but my event menus aren't the same as the cafe menu. When someone wants a tasting, I feel I have to do them, but it's not easy to pull off. I normally suggest that they choose a couple of selections rather then their whole proposed menu. I explain the limitations of preparing everything since I'm not a "restaurant".

That said, I don't charge for tastings. I figure if I get the job, it's money well spent. Normally, I only do them for the bride and groom, but if the parents are paying, I'll do one for the 4 of them, but they only get one meal to "taste". I'm not going to do a full meal for all of them.

I'm guessing that you don't have a restaurant. How are you going to deal with a sample of turkey? Maybe pick up a small turkey breast and freeze the rest for yourself. Green beans? Who needs to taste green beans? They probably want to be sure that youi're not going to overcook them. I know that's a concern with some of my clients. There's nothing worse than mushy veggies! Deviled eggs? At least it's not a big deal to make an egg, but really!
post #3 of 16
I have worked for hotels and caterers that both do and do not. Some hotels book a function, have a contract then the client comes in 3 or 4 weeks before for a tasting(to decide on final menu) The cost absorbed by hotel or caterer. Some charge cost, lets face it, and it should be explained to the patron if you did 15 or 20 tastings a week, its like catering a small function. Therefore they should pay cost because if you kept doing this you would not be in business. Some dont do tastings at all. So its up to you.
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #4 of 16
What I do is give them small portions for the tasting, not the whole portion, just a tasting. I'm here to feed them not fatten them?

I always eat the cost.(i never understood why people need a tasting?)
For example they need to know what turkey taste like :confused:

Hope you get the sale, good luck.
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #5 of 16
A couple of years ago on this site one of the bigger caterers said that they will do a tasting and charge for it, taking that amount off the event when they book it. I always thought that was an interesting way of doing business.....in the time I've catered there have only be 3 times that I've done a tasting. one time the wedding is already booked and we were going through sauces for the salmon, the other was for a major event where not all the committee members knew who I was.....got the job from the tasting.
The other was long long ago.....

Wedding cake makers go through grief with tastings, so so glad I don't deal with that.

Your menu is pretty straight forward, wonder what questions they have......
hate to lose alot of money over not having a tasting.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 16
Only ever done tastings for weddings once they were booked, and only then because I suggested it. We have 2 or 3 meetings for a big event and if they dont know your food, it's nice and cheap enough to supply a wee taster. Chicken satay and Thai peanut sauce, or pakoras with sweet chilli dip.

I've sealed a catering contract with a local gastro pub by bringing along the above as a surprise. They wernt expecting it and really swayed them. I've been doing their function work now for 2 years.

The way i see it, It's not good to arrive or invite empty-handed and it can make a real difference.


I would suggest you invite them to you for a small sampling, preferably when you are making the food anyway. - Make a point of having it on the menu. either at work or at home. They only want to taste it. You're not feeding them.
If you have to go to them the food wont be at its best
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #7 of 16
I would suggest that doing small amounts and absorbing these costs into every function, because now this is one of your overheads.Shouldnt be to much and it would give you a little bit more profit if you dont to do many of these tastings.
post #8 of 16
Speaking as a person who doesn't have banquet food prepared on a daily basis, it's difficult to put together a tasting. Judging from the menu the original poster outlined, it would be a royal pain in the neck to produce that for a few bites for the bride and groom. Sounds like these folks want a very simple affair but have read someplace that people ask for tastings so they did. Good grief, who asks to taste mashed potatoes and green beans?
post #9 of 16
It maybe the type of cheese in the potato or green beans with or without butter ,can we have a little garlic with them.
Devilled egg with or without to much chilli is it fresh chilli or powdered.
Cannt wait to get to the sweet course.
post #10 of 16
doschef, aren't those the questions easily answered just by talking?

people hire me because they....
1) know me and my work
2) know someone who recommended me
3) find me on line and have read my website

quality of product, pricing and the ability to manage an event are why people hire a caterer. Nitpicking food is not a real part of what I see......that being said I'm catering a vegan, glutin free wedding Sunday with a guest who is allergic to olive oil (separate plate). But the food mentioned in the original post is not fancy, it's very family friendly. They can say they use real butter, fresh green beans, xyz ham, etc.....
And I agree with Bughut, meetings are at my kitchen or home and I cook something.....last time it was a 4pm meeting and I served fresh chevre, apricots, toasted local pecans, fancy crackers, macerated bourbon prunes...had a small plate of ginger shortbread cookies. Nothing that would be on the wedding menu.
Time before it was a breakfast with homemade biscuits, jam, scrambled farm eggs, nuetske bacon, new potato hash browns.....again it was the quality I'm selling not having them dictate how I cook.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 16

Charging for Tastings

We do primarily vegetarian and vegan food for weddings. And we get asked a many times to do tastings. I understand it, because so few caterers do what we do, and our clients are careful about what they eat...they want to make sure we know what we're doing. Often they're trying to get their parents to feel ok about the fact that the food will not include meat.

For awhile I wasn't charging for tastings, but I found that I was making everything from scratch, and it was costing me in terms of food and time. So I've added the following to my contracts:

Tasting Option
If you wish to have a cooked-to-order tasting, we charge a non-refundable fee of $100.00 to cover food and our time for preparing your fresh tasting menu.

They have their choice of what they'd like to try -- usually one or two appetizers, one or two entrees, and sometimes a soup. I don't do the side dishes and some of the appetizers are not an option for a variety of reasons.

My kitchen is small and not set up for tastings, so they either come to the kitchen to pick it up or I meet them and we have a meeting and I give them the food. I package it in take out containers, give them heating instructions and they can share the food with whomever wants to taste it.

We've been having a good response to this policy, and even though it really doesn't cover all my time, at least I'm not out too much money. I think whether you charge or not really depends on your business model and how many events you do in a week.

Chef Andrea
Chef Andrea
Catering by Dinner is Served
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Chef Andrea
Catering by Dinner is Served
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post #12 of 16
Chef Andrea,

Good idea. I can see the wisdom in charging a non-refundable fee for tasting. I also like the idea of giving it to them rather than sitting with them while they eat it. That's always a strange feeling for me. Thanks for the ideas.
post #13 of 16
the sitting and talking over food is where the deal is sealed if it isn't already, by the end of their visit money is exchanged.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #14 of 16
Got to agree with shroomgirl, as uncomfortable as it is sitting with clients during a tasting for me thats were you get the client to agree, that we are the team for them.
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #15 of 16
I do two or three tastings a week. We never charge and always upsale the customer. This is your chance to wow the customer and get them excited about you.
post #16 of 16

Tastings

We charge for our tastings but if they book with us, the cost of the tasting comes off their event bill. If they book their event the day of the tasting, the tasting is free. Gina
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