In my experience, mostly anything with a crust. Pastries wraps etc. They bulk out well and the client is often happy with volume. Especially vegetarian, as its often cheaper to produce.
Also if its different. If the client gets the wow factor it doesnt matter how cheaply you made it he/she will happily pay for innovation. Ie. if they think you must have spent hours preparing your masterpeice they will hopefully be awed by your obvious talent and willingly pay the due.
Most folk are unaware of how easy the most seemngly complicated dishes are. I stress this only in my experience
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
There comes a point where you stick by your prices and give lower cost options. A couple lean times I took jobs that in the end made me feel that I was giving away the profit, not a good way to work.
There's a reason why many caterers have a guest minimum or $ minimum.....if it's a regular client and they are willing to buy what you have on hand that's one thing. But when you walk out of a long day and find little dinero in your pocket it's like banging your head on the wall.
Cost of raw product is just one part, labor is another......veg. springrolls are fairly inexpensive to make but they are labor intensive.
Family style. ?? Be specific in terms of amounts otherwise they will say "Oh we ran out". These people sound like what we call snorers(cheap) Sell it by the portion. pound, or unit gal, quart pint etc.
very good points, i think maybe a lil pricing restructuring may be in order... i think that would be easier for me...
funny side note, i made a dinner several weeks back it was a chicken dish and it was 2lbs of chicken breast but the breast was thick, plump and juicy... the client complained that it was a small portion, so the next time i made another chicken dish but thinned out the breast and made thinner filets which actually came out to 1lb of chicken but several portions. this time they said it was more than enough. go figure.
Ed, you know darn well that's not the way it works. When you run out of an item, it's always the caterer who takes the heat. Do you really think the client is going to say to one of his guests, "Geez, I'm really sorry you didn't get any shrimp. I instructed the caterer only to make XX amount." No, it's more like, "I told the caterer I didn't want to run out of anything and the guy doesn't seem to be able to count. You can bet we'll be discussing the shortage when it's time for him to get paid."
And your reputation goes right down the crapper.
It is your responsibility to yourself and the client to be certain that the quantities are correct and ample for all the client's guests.
If they dont want to listen to you or me as pro's .Then it is their fault. For years I went the other way. but times and economics change. The same as they are looking to save it must be emphasized to them that in order to maintain your competitive priceing structure it Must be done this way.The better clients understand the cheapies I dont want anyway.
It may, in fact, be the fault of the client, but they will never admit that they instructed the caterer to prepare an insufficient quantity of the item. My standard response to a request that I didn't feel was workable, "Neither you nor your guests will be happy and my hard earned reputation will come into question. No, I will not produce an item of insufficient quantity that I think is necessary for your event. You either need to rethink your menu selection or look to another catering firm for this event"