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Seeking advice on catering pricing...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I was a chef for 13 years but recently moved cross country to start up a commercial flooring agency with my brother. i still handle all of our own in house catering when entertaining clients and such, but rarely do an outside gig. One of my clients has asked me to do a party of 40 50 ppl, Hor D'ourves. The menu is easy enough to come up with, but i really haven't done this many times on my own, how do I determine what to charge total? I understand food cost and such, but when everything is said and done, I'm just not sure what is fair. Any help would be greatly appriciated. Thanks in Advance.
post #2 of 11
What is your cost of food, labor, overhead, transportation etc. To many variables to tell you.
CHEFED
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
I guess I wasn't clear enough. Transportation and overhead are non issues. The only money being spent is on serving equipment, the food itself, and one person who I will have helping me serve. otherwise I am cooking everything, all hou d'ourves, and i'm not responsible for booze, puely food. But in a general manner, while I know how to cost out food, what is reasonable markup for profit on food. Also, how would I determine my labor wages?
post #4 of 11
Always good to know what your comparable competition is doing/charging. Check out websites in your area.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 11
I go minimum of times 3 plus labor, rental , and sales tax as you are paying it.
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your advice....It seems very sound and I think that is exactly what I am going to do.
post #7 of 11
cocktail parties....food costs can be minimal.
Food costs can be nominal...ie mushroom cap with morel duxelle costs under 38 cents each, we charge $2.75 each.
Apple Slice with smoked trout, dillweed aioli with caper
35 cents, we charge $3.25
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 11
I GET $350.00 FOR 100 16/20 COCKTAIL SHRIMP/ SAUCE LEMON ON ICE (NO LABOR)
Which averages 5-6 Pounds Shrimp or enough for 25 guest at 4 each

Every indi item different.:bounce:
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post #9 of 11
we charge $5.25pp for 3 shrimp each. But I boil them, cocktail sauce & remoulade....ice & lemons/capers.

But, NO one orders just the shrimp....arincini may be one of the most labor intensive things we make.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #10 of 11
You're not giving us enough information for us to give you the right advice.

If the client is someone you don't have to compete for, and is someone whom you can trust...

It seems to me your best plan is to go "cost plus." That is, figure out how much EVERYTHING, including everyone else's labor, is going to cost, figure out how much time you're going to spend on the project and what YOU (not me, Ed or shroom) think is a reasonable rate for your time.

Then give your client an estimate based on those figures. If necessary, get a deposit in either a partial or in the full amount -- depending on how much you trust the client.

After making your food purchases, let your client know immediately if you have exceeded the estmate for food costs. If you tell him by phone, send a confirmatory fax, email, or text message immediately ("Just to remind you of our conversation earlier this afternoon ..."). Make sure it's something you can print out. ON PAPER ALWAYS -- it makes everything go smoother for both parties.

When the job is done, adjust the figures to reflect the receipts and time slips. Then present your client with a rebate or bill as necessary. Rebates are better -- remember that when you make the estimate.

Given your situation, tripling food costs is a less precise way of doing the same thing -- with a greater tendency to over or undercompensate for labor. Yours in particular. Don't pretend your fee, as a multiple of other costs, is out of your control -- because you're too shy to tell the client how much your worth. I know it's embarassing when you haven't done it in a long time, but figure out how much you should get paid and ask for it forthrightly.

BDL
_____________
Ex owner operator Predominantly French catering; ex cook at a couple of good joints
post #11 of 11
If you only give us enough information so that we could or enable to sum up everything for you. Good luck with your business though. :D
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