My company specializes in small (25-250) fine dining events and has succeeded in acquiring new clients strictly through word of mouth for ten years---usually by people who have already enjoyed our food and service first hand. I've just been asked for the first time to prepare a tasting for potential new clients. This is a reasonable request for a valuable event and I feel we are likely to emerge as a good fit for this client but am also circumspect regarding the food & labor cost investment in creating a custom menu tasting for four. Everything will be built from start to finish exclusively for them as we do not have any similar events in production around this date. If served full dinner portions this menu would be in the $85-100 per person range.
No problem to produce but I am wondering: how are my fellow caterers handling tastings?
1. How much time and cost will you extend gratis to an unknown client?
2. Do you set a nominal fee to help offset costs and which could be deducted later from the total cost of the event if booked?
3. Although, fortunately, we do have a high closing rate what if even though everything is fine in the end they do not book---should the charge then be reduced or waived?
Thank you in advance!