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Help with pricing a catering job!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
This will be my first time doing a catering job of this magnitude.
1. Its in Maryland, and im fron New Jersey about 20 minutes from NY
2. 150 guests
3. I have to make appitizers
4. I have to make food for the buffet
5. I hired family members to help me serve for free

I want to know how much should i charge. If you need more info just let me know. And thanks in advance. There paying for transportation and all costs of the food, and dinnerware.

Menu so far:
crab cakes
Caprese salad
Fruit salad
Potato salad
Macaroni salad
Deviled eggs
Shrimp cocktail
Steak
Penne and vodka
String beans
Spinach
Gucamole,spinach,onion and vegtable dip
Swedish meatballs
Sasuage and peppers
Stuffed mushroom
Spring rolls
Pasta salad
Chicken cabobs
Asian wings
Bbq wings
Egg rolls
Turkey meatloaf
Carrots
Baked chicken
Mac and cheese
Pork chops
Baked fish
Squash/zuccini blend
Stuffed peppers
post #2 of 5

$25 but make them all bite sized and make exactly 150 of each.

 

So take a mini tomato and a mini mozzarella ball and put it on a teaspoon.  Skewer one piece of fruit.

 

You know where I'm going?  ARE YOU NUTS?

post #3 of 5

Look at your menu :

 

Apps:

4 dips (the dips are for what ?)

Shrimp cocktail

Deviled eggs

 

 

Salads:

Caprese salad

Potato salad

Macaroni salad

Pasta salad

( need a chef salad )

 

Hot :

Crab cakes

Steak (how are you going to manage this one , Quantity & without drying them out?)

Swedish meatballs

Sausage & peppers

Chicken kabobs

Asian wings (your making these or from frozen ?)

BBQ wings (your making these or from frozen ?)

Egg rolls (your making these or from frozen ?)

Spring rolls (your making these or from frozen ?)

Turkey meatloaf

Baked chicken

Pork chops

Baked fish

Penne & vodka

Mac & cheese

 

Vegetables:

 

String beans

Spinach (not recommended)

Carrots

Squash & zucc. Blend (must serve dente)

Stuffed mushrooms

 

Dessert:

Fruit salad

 

4 questions:

 

1) Do you feel that your menu is balanced ?

2) What are your quantities  in the proteins ?

3) How do you plan to keep all this heated and safe ?

4) Are you licensed to cater ?

 

You need to refine your menu.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #4 of 5
Hey there. I actually live in Maryland, Baltimore city actually, and I work for one of the largest catering companies in the nation. My chef, Paul Lever, wrote the menu for Cirque du soliei(spelling?) And many other large events and places. Reguardless, I have done hundreds of events all over and done a lot of traveling across the nation with this Catering company
Right now, I work mainly at the Hippodrome theatre in Baltimore, and I am just curious on where you are going to be having this event? And What you are going to use to keep all of your hot apps and entrees hot while in transport and while the event is going on? I also agree with the guy down below that commented on his ideas. I would seriously consider cutting that menu down just a bit if that's an option. For the small amount of people you are catering for, you really do not need that many different dishes. You are making your job 2000 times harder on yourself, and unless you have an experienced and large catering kitchen staff, you could be setting yourself up for a huge and epic failure or disaster with that menu. I reccomend trimming it down a little bit if possible. As for the pricing for this, it REALLY depends on so many things. But basically when you are the caterers for an event like this, you discuss the price with the client and come to an agreement on that and the menu long before the event happens, and you also make sure you get paid before the event happens. But basically you name your price, as long as its in reason and not outrageous. But I would need a lot more information in order to put a price on this. Keep in mind your food cost, and you have family working for you, so you don't have to worry about labor costs really. But still include that in your pricing anyway, so there's more of a basis and guideline on your price, n so its not just a random number. But based on the dishes you put on here, this is NOT going to be a walk in the park n you are going to need a lot of equipment. A hot box on wheels to transport food n keep it hot, a huge amount of chafing dishes and sternos, a lot of utensils, etc. etc....I mean just keep in mind how much work you're putting into this event when pricing as well ....Based on your menu and feeding 150 guests, I would say they're already in the 1000-1500$ range, and that's not including labor costs or anything like that. Its really hard to put a price on this with the details you gave but I wish you luck with the event. I reallyy really do. Hope all goes well and you learn a lot from this experience.
post #5 of 5

29 menu items x 150 servings x (I'm guestimating now) $2/serving FOOD COST = $8,700. Even if you shave the food cost to $1/serving, you're still looking at $4,350

 

Rentals for chafers, Cambros, tableware, etc., will probably run something on the order of $750 -$1,500

 

If you are NOT using unpaid family for kitchen labor, I'm guessing something around $600-$1,200 for just the kitchen.

 

Assuming zero cost for transportation (which is insane IMHO) and on-site labor, your base CASH costs are somewhere between $5,700 on the low end to $11,400 on the high end, and that is excluding ANY fee for your time and trouble or any overhead for your own commercial kitchen or renting a commercial kitchen (you ARE planning to use a commercial kitchen, correct?).

 

Using a common, but dangerous, rule of thumb that is based on industry averages that indicate successful caterers have a food cost range of 25% to 40%, your price would calculate to $17,400 to $21,750. That's $116 to $145 per person, a pretty high end gig!

 

My advice? Calculate ALL of your cash costs, food, rentals, labor, transportation, kitchen rental, supplies, etc., then add on what YOU want to earn and you will have a price that will allow you to pay the bills and have some money in your pocket.

 

I'd first cut the menu to:

  • Two, possibly three mains
  • Two starches
  • Three vegetables
  • A salad
  • A dessert

if you are looking for a low cost gig. Keep your food cost around $5-7/person ($750-$1,050), keep your rentals under $500 and your kitchen staff under $300 and your total cash costs will be in the neighborhood of $1,500 to $2,000, add on your fee of, say um, $500 and you have a price of $2,000-$2,500 or $13.33 to $16.67/person for an ordinary buffet.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
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