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A different pricing method for banquets?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
:look:With the economy being what it is.
And to stop wasting time bidding on a banquet and explaining.
I have been doing Banquets on a Food Cost+Labor Cost+Expenses basis.
As a result my life is made simpler selling Buffets instead of seated Banquets.
It takes the same amount of time to cook a Turkey as it does a Prime Rib.
The labor and expense are the same, it's the food cost of $6+per pound
that's different. It still takes about one pound raw weight per person.
And whether I put 10 Turkeys or 10 Prime Ribs in the oven it's the same amount of roast pans.
Salads ,vegetables, breads and desserts are priced at wholesale costs.
If they want a Carving Chef Then that comes under labor cost.
The same if they want servers to serve coffee.
When you tell them the servers and carvers gets $50 an hour and min. 4hrs.
Well, you would be suprised how many say they will do it themselves.
Chafers and Carving Stations come under expenses at a rental rate.
And they even buy their own chafers, carving boards and Knives.
So, it's simpler to just deliver the food and not have to worry about staffing.
I charge a minimum of 4 hours labor@ $80+ for prepping and cooking per 100 people.
I don't have to worry about no-shows or food shortage or leftovers and they like that.
The customer does all the set-up and I charge a delivery charge for over 50 miles.
When the Banquet is over I have made a lot more friends because there is no mystery about charges. :thumb:
post #2 of 8
Every caterer is different. I could not get away with that in Palm Beach, every market is different.
post #3 of 8
Yeah, I couldn't get away with this either in the Research Triangle Park of North Carolina. My clients are some of the largest corporations in the US.

My philosophy is to always add value before you cut prices. It's much harder to raise your prices than it is to take away bonuses. $50 an hour per server seems excessive to me. What's your business model? Are you trying to make money off the labor and rentals or on the high quality of your food?

To me, catering should be full service. People will pay more for having everything taken care of for them.

But, I agree with you. I always try to move people toward a buffet rather than plate-up. The minus is that you control portions much better with plate-up, but the amount of labor needed more than makes up for the savings. Buffet is easier on production, and you can put a staff member behind the chafer to portion if you'd like. That's one staff, not 10 waiters.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
:look:It works in this area because, being a resort area a lot of people from out of state
come down here with the idea of getting rich quick in the catering business.
And they almost give away food in the hopes of word of mouth advertising and for next years events. The only thing is that 90% are not in business next year. And it seems every restaurant with a 6 burner range and a 3 compartment sink is in the catering business and knows nothing about time management and food service.
It has created a mistrust attitude towards caters so, I had to win them over someway.
This is not fine dinning with Beef Wellington and Chateaubriand type menus.
As I stated originally this for the economic minded clients.
It is a program that will work in other areas with the same problem I had.
Customers just want to know what they are getting for their money and this is the way
to keep them happy and regain their trust. I would rather price food by the portion
but I can not compete with these speculating optomistic fortune hunters.
As far as charging $50 an hour for servers and carvers I have no problem
with paying employees that represent me rather than themselves, thank you.:thumb:
post #5 of 8
How can you be doing ''Lo Ball catering and paying wait staff $50.00 an hour.? And as far as coming to Florida to get rich, thats a myth.your right The only people I know who come here and do well, are those who come with money from other places. I have been here 20 years and I tell everyone '''That if it were not for a mouse(mickey and disney) and the invention of air conditioning , there would not be a Florida'''
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
:look: I pay $50 an hour because I charge $50 an hour and I would not call the people who help me "just wait staff" and I would not call it "Lo Ball catering" either. It's just cooking for clients what they want to purchase whether it's Live Maine Lobster, Alaskan King Crab, Japanese Kobe Beef or a Suckling Pig for a Luau.
My clients get a list of Food Cost+Labor Cost+Expenses, everything is listed.
They just want to know what they are paying for and I list everything including spices.
I am not in competition with any other type of food service except maybe a Personal Chef that does catering for their clients, except that I have $1/4M invested in equipment. I am also semi-retired and don't have to make a bid on everyone that calls. I am very selective as to what I want get involved in. I just thought it might help someone else how had problems like mine. As far as succeding in Florida I came the year after Disney World opened and have seen many people become rich, when they knew what they were doing. In my area we have country clubs where tomatoes once grew and large condos where fish houses once were.
I also think Henry Flagler and his railroad came here long before Walt Disney. That's out your back door isn't it, Ed?
Napoleon Hill once said "Think and Grow Rich" The problem is a lot of these people don't think. And I would not think of living anywhere else.:thumb:
post #7 of 8
It's fortunate that you shared that little piece of info with the forum, because someone might read your idea and think it is a viable business model. I read your first post several times and I cannot for the life of me understand how you could make a living with a catering business modeled like that. That is, unless you have a large quantity of gigs every week. I just can't see it. And did you mean you charge $80 an hour for 4 hours of prep? Or $80 for four hours of prep. Either way, you'd go broke as soon as your savings account ran out.

Just my two cents. But if you have a business plan that seems reasonable, then kudos to you. I just can't wrap my head around it.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
:look:If you look at the post again you will notice it reads $80+ ("Plus") That is the starting rate and it states ($80+ Per hour minimum 4 hours) I charge more for making Braciolini, Spiedino,Petit Fours or Spanakopita than I do for putting Prime Ribs in the oven or Barbeque in the smoker or for putting Oven Fried Chicken on sheet pans.:thumb:
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