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Catering Quandry

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hello again, I have a huge dilema!! I have been hired as a event coordinator/planner/caterer for a wedding in my small town...the MOB wants the wedding reception to be the event of the year..the venue is outside about 10 miles from town, in a field by the river. We are having passed apps, several stations, hauling people in by golf carts, 40x60 tent area, 2 bars and building a field kitchen in a 100x80 storage shed...will have hot water and refrigeration....I am starting to freak out...about 200-275 people....she is owner of the local grocery so all foods are being purchased thru and by her....I just tell her what I want/need. I have been working on this since April...taking care of rentals, suppliers, tents, cooking equipment, etc....the week of the event I will also be helping to prep foods and making sure the lanterns and lights are placed in the oak trees, staging the lounge areas (3) and hauling all the supplies out there. I am so excited about this event because she has plenty of money. BUT, I don't want to take advantage of that but I do want to make something off this. She is a fairly powerful person in town, a bit crazy to say the least, and she is a kinda sorta friend. We don't hang out but we tend to run in the same circles..How do I charge for this since I don't have the food to mark up? I figure I'll have about 300 hours in when all is said and done...any ideas or advice? Thanks for any suggestions.

Renee
post #2 of 13
Did I read this right? You've been working on this since April? Almost half a year, and you haven't discussed money yet?

Are you asking to be ripped off?
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 #3 of 13
Renee! I would suggest you sit down with this person prior, dont wait till the day before do it now. Discuss your fee > since you have kept track of hours figure your worth by the hour. I assume you are not paying other help but that she is. whatever figure you value on yourself add 15 to 20 % for your gas and other extras that you will forget. Keep in mind you already have 6 monthes into this gig.
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
I know, I know, we should have discussed this a long time ago....but it isn't like she doesn't know about what this will cost her....another of her daughters was to get married last year and I worked on it for about 2 months.....then the girl eloped....she paid me quite well...but I really cann't figure out if I should charge by the job or by the hours,,,,I really don't think 15,000 is too much...that's the figure I keep coming up with.....I am not an event planner....I have always caterer and know how to figure my rates for that. The planning is something new for me:suprise:
post #5 of 13
I go by the old addage TIME IS MONEY I would go by the hour assuming that you are not supplying any product or additional paid labor.
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post #6 of 13
wow. $15000 is not too much, initially when you wrote 300 hours, double that came to mind.....
So, who's cooking for the wedding? who's lining up and paying staff?

Seriously, the guys are right.....it's time to talk $. You may not come to a mutual acceptable arangement and to continue working without a deposit is not good business. I'd also put whatever is agreed upon in writing.....and I'm not a hardcore contract person, but misunderstandings are just not pleasant...an email with basics is good......who does what/when.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 13
$227,000 plus food
post #8 of 13
Chicago-New York-parts of Fla-DC-CA.......then there's the rest of us....I was going for $30,000....Dave added a zero....I like new math.:smoking:
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

UPDATE on Quandry

Okay......things just keep getting better!!! LOL....I knew the mother of the bride was a bit off but...the bride, Whitney called me last night to tell me that her mother, Daphne, had gotten mad at her because she was going to hand deliver about 15 of the invitations because she had no address for them. MOB went ballistic and threatened to wear the wedding dress around the grocery store and to model it for her husband. Then she told her that she would not pay for the wedding that the bride was on her own. It's nuts!! Thankfully the grandparents are willing to step up and help out. They also have gobs of money but I don't think they want to shell out as much as the mom...so I am back at square one. I am redoing the proposal and m,eeting with them on Thursday evening. It dosen't really matter though because since the wedding is out in a field and the field kitchen still has to be built and the same amount of work is going into it...the price is really the same...I just need to get it together and have a number to give the grandparents and try to explain it to them....while they have lots of moolah...they are on the cheap side. But they love Whitney and want her to have a beautiful wedding. Also I think I will be able to purchase all the food and not have to put it on the account at the grocery store that the MOB was wwanting me to do....so now I can put some of the profit into the food expense. I'm kinda freaking out here and feeling like I'm not sure where to start...Thanks for listening to my ranting...I'll keep you posted on the next adventure...and thank you for all your suggestions....
post #10 of 13
DEPOSIT.......non refundable DEPOSIT.....contract......with signitures

I've not had a bridezilla experience most of mine are pretty straight forward, one contact person that makes decisions and pays the bill.

Umpteen years ago when I was starting out I had some nightmare clients that would ask for menus within a certain price point then want to play with adding and altering what I'd proposed.....after a few of those negative experiences, I realized it was my business and it was up to me to manage the way it functioned, not letting pushy customers dictate terms/menus...
After changing to 50% estimated non-refundable deposit, customer alterations stopped.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 13
As I read your post I was reminded of a "tryout" I gave to two prospective prep cooks. I told both that I insisted that the cabbage for my cole slaw be hand sliced. I gave each a 2 lb. head of cabbage, a bowl, and free reign in my kitchen. One chap carefully selected a knife and began slowly and methodically slicing; the other took a mandolin off a shelf, set the blade height and within seconds had completed the task. I cannot imagine, personally, spending 300 hours (7.5 forty hour weeks) on one event. Now, if what you mean is 300 TL hours for you and your complete staff, that's a horse of a different hue.

If, indeed, you're planning on billing out 300 hours for your personal time and this woman is prepared to pay it, I'm prepared to unretire.

(Hey, Ed Buchanan...how many weddings did you cover within 7.5 weeks?):lol:
post #12 of 13
When I was in New York at Terrace on the Park Includeing on and off premise in season 7.5 x 30 = about 225 give or take a few. That was when it was in its hayday. This does not count midweek social functions. Averaged in season 10000 covers a week or 17 million gross. i WAS MUCH YOUNGER THEN
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post #13 of 13
well oiled machine vs small independant.......
dem is alot of folks to feed.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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