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Food Cost Question

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I recently started a private chef business in West Michigan (Savory Socials) and am in a whirl wind of decision making and foundation setting. I would like to know what would be an appropriate food cost percentage to run for small 10-14 person party's, 6-7 courses. The dinners will take place at the clients home, some use of their kitchen equipment, flatware, china, and glass wear, food will be provided by myself. I feel like i have most details worked out but am uncertain what to charge the client. What is this skill worth? What can i get away with as far as price goes? My current thought on this topic is the run the same as in the restaurant.... 30-35%

Any suggestions? 

post #2 of 4

small parties, you're labor is a problem.....it's hard to charge an appropriate amount for small dinner parties.   We've had this discussion many times before and several members agree to disagree about how they handle pricing.

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #3 of 4
Quote:

Originally Posted by NickCIM View Post

... My current thought on this topic is the run the same as in the restaurant.... 30-35%. Any suggestions? 

As previously commented on  in a Food Cost Question in the ChefTalk Feedback forum, my food cost percentage for small dinner parties is more in the range of 15-20%, tending towards the lower end the smaller the number of guests. This reflects the higher labor cost percentage for small parties.

 

Price = Food Cost + Labor Cost + Overhead + Profit

 

Food Cost is a constant per guest.

 

Labor Cost and Overhead Cost per person is inversely proportional to the number of guests, the more guests, the less cost per guest.

 

A restaurant or a caterer has the luxury of spreading labor and overhead across a large number of guests, thus lowering the cost per guest. A personal or private chef does not enjoy that luxury.

 

Pricing based simply on a food cost percentage, IMHO, is fraught with disaster unless the food cost percentage is based on similar functions and a restaurant or regular caterer does not qualify as similar!
 

 

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 #4 of 4


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NickCIM View Post

I recently started a private chef business in West Michigan (Savory Socials) and am in a whirl wind of decision making and foundation setting. I would like to know what would be an appropriate food cost percentage to run for small 10-14 person party's, 6-7 courses. The dinners will take place at the clients home, some use of their kitchen equipment, flatware, china, and glass wear, food will be provided by myself. I feel like i have most details worked out but am uncertain what to charge the client. What is this skill worth? What can i get away with as far as price goes? My current thought on this topic is the run the same as in the restaurant.... 30-35%

Any suggestions? 


To be successful in catering or private cheffing small parties, you're going to need to scrap the "food cost %."  Seriously, forget about all of the percentages and talk dollars and cents.  Take Pete's formula above and use it : Price = Food Cost + Labor Cost + Overhead + Profit.

 

When figuring pricing, your profit should be first, then let everything fall into place.  I just did a 22 person dinner the other night for around $2500 and I have done 12-14 person dinners in the range of $1400.  But only you will be able to determine your pricing after you've developed a menu and included all of the costs (party labor, prep labor, transportation, menu, etc.).

 

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