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How much to charge?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I used to own and operate a gourmet restaurant (the only nice restaurant here in my small town) and we closed a little over a month ago. One of my good customers has now asked me to do her son's graduation brunch. She wants fresh fruit, doughnuts, coffee, juice, and an omelet station with all sorts of fillings which I would run.

My question is, how much should I charge for all this? I've never done a setup like this before. I don't want to screw myself out of possible future catering jobs with this woman because I charged too much, but I don't want to screw myself out of money, either, as times are tight and I can use every penny.
post #2 of 13
how many guests?
how many staff?

are you making the doughnuts?

I have a regular client that I charge $7pp for continental breakfast.....coffee, green tea, 2 fruit juices, fruit, baked goods....that are scratch. But there is at least 130. And setup is about 30 minutes.

Omelets, what kinds of fillings?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
About 100 guests, and I will be the only staff. Linda (client) wants all the fruit and doughnuts and beverages set up on tables for guests to help themselves. There will be an omelet station in the kitchen (this is at her house; she has an amazing kitchen) where guests will choose their fillings (sausage, peppers, ham, cheeses, artichokes, onions, all sorts of things) and I will make the omelets to order. I'll be buying the doughnuts.
post #4 of 13
The "buffet" portion" should be fairly straight forward; the omelets, on the other hand...

So, you prep and pre-cook all the fillings, two questions: how long does it take YOU to cook an omelet and how many can you handle cooking at the same time?

If you have your "omelet egg mixture" premixed for "ladling", you can probably save some time, say 30 seconds to break, season, and whip.

Pan on burner, say what, 30-45 seconds to reach first set? Fifteen seconds to fill, then another 15-30 seconds to fold, finish and plate? That totals 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per omelet pan or 100 to 150 minutes for 100 servings.

Double the pans and you're down to 50-75 minutes.

Get four pans going (now you'd better have pre-mixed egg mixture) and your serving time drops to 25-38 minutes. For me, that's the fastest I could handle alone. With another skilled omelet cook, we could cut serving time to 12-20 minutes, assuming we had 8 to 10 burners available.

Good Luck!

Been there, done that, I'd charge about $1,500 for the event at a minimum, probably closer to $2,000, maybe even $2,500, especially with an extra cook or two.
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the mathematical breakdown...it puts things in perspective. :) I know several of the guests will be small children, so I actually think I'm talking about 80 omelets or so. All the fillings will be precut/precooked and laid out for the guests to choose from; the guests will take what they want and put it in a ramekin for me to put in the omelet. I definitely planned to have my eggs precracked/premixed...I cannot imaging cracking and mixing for all those omelets!

She has a five-burner stove (a stove I'd kill to have; I swear the people with the nicest kitchens are the people who never use them) but I think I'll use 3 burners for most of the time.

I've gone back and forth about calling up one of my old employees to come help out, but Linda hired just me, so I think I'll do it alone. It's a casual affair and we discussed the fact that people will just sort of be milling around, taking things from the buffet tables (which will be set up outside), so I think one cook will do.

Thank you so much for your input! I truly appreciate it.
post #6 of 13
If all 100 of these guest order eggs, your dead meat. You wont even remember who gets what . Charge enough so you can bring someone with you and afford to pay them.
You may want to do a few blank omelettes ahead and just add fillings.
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #7 of 13
I'm with them, absolutely bring another person.....I'd probably bring 2.....

2 for the omelet station just talking to guests in addition to restocking the fillings, another one for restocking and cleaning the juices/donuts, making sure trash gets emptied, making more coffee/tea or at least making sure the cambros stay full.

Even if it's casual, it doesn't really work without staff.

yep $20 a head sounds right.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 13
Being new to catering, is there any online resources (free I hope?) to help work up pricing and quantities of ingredients required?

I had read in a book somewhere that the rule of thumb is food cost x 3 + extra hired labour. Is that true?
post #9 of 13
yep, but omelets are cheap eats......

3 eggs, 1/3ish cup of filling goo. you are looking at under $1 even using local eggs.
coffee, juice, donuts....then you are at $2.

But it takes time and energy to prep the omelet fillings and it takes expertise to make 2-4 omelets at a time.

Many restaurants will have steaks on their menus that have food costs of 50%, but they feel it's necessary to have on the menu.

If you use offal or various bits and pieces, or make desserts, the return is generally better than 3x the cost of ingredients.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #10 of 13
I am 100% in agreement with Ed. You need at least one other person making the omelets and, probably, someone taking the orders and serving.
post #11 of 13
Your talking on premise, off premise you have to add delivery cost , gasoline labor time distance both ways etc. Season of year, I charge more for June weddings then other monthes. (supply/demand)I also add $1.00 PP for next year bookings because I know prices will rise.
There is no hard and fast rule for catering,, whereas restaurant is more constant., almost same menu daily etc.:cool::crazy:
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #12 of 13

results?

Did this event take place yet? Just curious about how it went and what you learned. I am probably a little late to the party, but handling a catered event by myself with an omelet station would be a nightmare. Hope you bring (brought) some help. Let us know.

-Kevin
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
It went really well, thanks for asking! I did manage the station all by myself, and it worked out because it was more of an open-house than a straight up party, so people were drifting in and out for about three hours. I served about 110 omelets. (There were a bunch of teenage boys who had two and three each!)

The mother of the grad decided she wanted to be in charge of refilling the bowls of fruit and the platters of doughnuts and things a couple of days ahead of time, so I decided I could do it on my own. The kitchen was set up with a bar right by the stove, so the people just took what they wanted from the bar and put it on a plate and I made the omelets in the order the plates were received. Got a little backe dup at one point, but basically people were so thrilled at this novel-to-them idea that they didn't mind. Some people even stayed in the kitchen just to watch. It was pretty amusing.

I ended up charging $10 a head, so $1000, and the clients tipped me $200 on top of that. I was satisfied, and so were they--she wrote me a nice thank-you note and said she's already planning another party for me to cater.

Thanks for everyone's input!
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