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Buffet for 100 and I need HELP!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Ok, I'm new to this....I started out as a Personal Chef, and lately my business is growing to more Personal Catering Gigs! That's great and all, but I need some help! I have a party coming up SOON and need to do a better job at food amounts (which would help me put more $$ in my pocket and my staff!) Here's the menu:

 

Appetizers:

Turkey Sausage & Apple Meatballs

Shrimp Cocktails with Mango Chutney

Grilled Mushroom Flatbread

Edamame Humms with veggies & pita chips

Mini Brie Bites with Sweet Onion Jam

 

Buffet Dinner:

Ricotta Gnocchi with Puttanesa Sauce

Stuffed Chicken Breast (Goat Cheese & Asparagus)

Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Port Reduction

Butternut & Barley Pilaf

Roasted Rosemary & Thyme Red Skins

Zucchini & Yellow Sqash Medley

Fall Garden Salad

Whole Grain Rolls with whipped herbed butter

.....whew!!....that's it folks!!

 

So..my questions....how much of this stuff do I make!! I have done two other large parties and seem to have TONS of food left over. I don't want to run out, but I want to start making money at this...at this point, I have been breaking even....and for all the work that goes into these events...!!!!!OMG...I am getting tired of not making anything!

 

Can someone help me!!

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 13

How much are they paying? I always used to like to know amounts desired, or at least have a feel for amount wanted, before quoting a price; so this way seems a little backward to me, but maybe i can give you some input with more info.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #3 of 13

What is the demography, i.e. age, male/female, time of day?

 

Free access or served buffet?

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 13

Don't ever undersell yourself, you do it once or twice with new clients to get them jazzed about what you are doing, but you CAN NOT make it a habit.

 

For the Apps, you have a lot of selection for 100 people. I would say that people are going to mingle, pick here and there, and I would figure 5-8 pcs per head. . . NOT OF EACH, but of what they will consume total. So 100 ppl, at say 8(at the high end)=800 total, and even THAT seems heavy(but I don't know what the group is, if they eat like they have 2 ass holes, or if they  are reserved, and laid back).

 

For the Buffet, I would recommend: 

 

6oz protein per head

4oz for the Vegetarian option, per head

4oz per head Veggie side

5oz starch side

2oz of sauce per person

 

So it's 100ppl

 

6oz times 100= 600oz, divide by 16(oz to the lb)=37.5lb of prepared food

5oz x 100= 500/16=31.25lb of prepared food

2oz x 100=200oz, now it's liquid exchange, so 200oz=6.25 QT, or a gallon and a half of sauce

 

You get the general idea, right? You have a few options going on for everything, so that is where it is up to YOU to decide how to break things down from there accordingly to how how popular a dish is, what is eaten the most/least. You know the group. It is always better to over produce by a narrow margin, but you don't want to kill yourself either, so that is where just time, and experience will start to tell you where to go heavy, where to lighten up.

 

I know it's seems a little willy nilly, but if you have some basic portion guides in place, it helps with purchasing, production, with everything. Every group is different, some will peck like chickens, others will eat like it's a death row meal, so that is where you have to anticipate your guests, be smarter than they are, and sometimes just cross your fingers and hope for the best!

 

just my $.02

~If you are what you eat, I am cheap, fast, and easy.

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~If you are what you eat, I am cheap, fast, and easy.

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post #5 of 13

Just because you have ampe leftovers doesnt necessarily mean youre losing much money, depends on how youre buying your product. Things like squash spuds and rolls etc are cheap enough, so buying/making an extra bag/batch or so  aint gonna break you. its the things like the tenderloins and chicken you do need to keep mindful of quantities, too much overage CAN cause you probs. The other key is to incorporate such anticipated overages into your initial quote.

i also agree thats an awful lot of appetizers for a hunnerd, unless youre getting bucoo $$ for it....but instinct tells me you may be undercharging for what you do. When i catered i offered 2 or 3 apps, and if they wanted a bigger variety they could pay healthily for it. 

And aside from straight product cost dont forget to consider time involved in certain things, like if youre making your own gnocchi for instance, a big overage can cost you more TIME, which directly translates to money, so thats something to watch as well.

post #6 of 13

MOST COMMON ERROR    You have 12 items excluding rolls x 100 if you prepped each for 100 you would have a total amount of food for 1200.  Everyone does not eat every item.  A menu can be written so guest will hit certain items and not others. Its all in the wording.

       If I gave people Filet Mignon Topped with 3 prawns with garli and herbs or double breast of chicken with goat cheese and portabello stuffing, or Broiled Steelhead with shrimp. Which do you think would sell or go first?  

  . Don' be afraid to run out of 1 item..

     Also look at the factors above that Pete Wrote. Just add weather Hot/cold, ethnic make-up ?  There are many factors  to consider.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you all SO MUCH!! 808JONO202 you really helped me! Actually, everyone helped me....this is so new to me. Being a personal chef, I cook for 4-5 families weekly, but this is SO MUCH BIGGER! I usually just go by what others are charging....the markets, restaurants, etc, and yes, I am sure I underestimate my fees! This party is for 30-60 year olds, evening party, mixed genders. I don't know these folks at all, which makes it hard. I spent the entire day yesterday online looking for guidelines. I hate numbers, it's just not my thing, so it took a toll on me. Again, thank you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

post #8 of 13

Take a look at Food for Fifty, if you have Mastercook v9+ there is a PDF copy as well as a cookbook.

 

Recipes are organized to serve 50 and there are a multitude of tables for quantities for a variety of events.
 

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 #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much Pete!

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Chefedb, you are correct...I most likely figure 100 for everything! That's why I end up not making much in profit....it's all in the food.

post #11 of 13

Teens eat the most, older people the least.. Set the buffet in a line if needbe  rolls first, salad, then starches and vege then entrees

Breaded  entrees are good as they fill up people more. If you can offer a soup at beginning as it also fills them up (self service on buffet with croutons.  Remember starches are cheaper then meat, chicken or fish.  GOOD LUCK  . Do not be afraid to charge. Add what you want to make per day.and any additional labor you hire plus if rentals needed they pay not you

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #12 of 13

if it's buffet have staff serving proteins

If it's plated have a food count walking in if they want reduced costs, that way you know who's having what.

 

just cus.....break down your fee to rentals, staff, food.

 

Food alone apps $21+

dinner buffet $55-65

 

100 guests  7 staff @ $25 per hour per staff, at least 2 hours prior and 1 hour cleanup

 

Rentals....whatever they need + xx% over the rental fee

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks shroomgirl! Looks like I didn't charge enough! I charged only $52 per person....and staff is included there, at $12 hr.....I am still learning! I have only done 3 large events......

Thanks much!! Sherry 

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