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Tips for Cocktail Party for 150?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have been asked to cater a cocktail party for 150 women.  The budget is limited - $10/person total. I will not be providing plates, utensils, napkings just food. I'm looking for suggestions for finger foods/appetizers that are inexpensive to keep cost low while still having a small profit.  Also, this is the first time i will be doing an event this large - suggestions on best way to transport/keep warm foods warm, etc?

 

Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 14

A. Let someone else do it! crazy.gif

 

B. RUN!

 

OK, on a serious note, figure on 8-10 pieces/bites per person over a two hour period, 5-7 the first hour, 3 the second hour. Cheese tray(s) (15 pounds total, 3-4 trays scattered around the room(s), crudites & dip (um, 15 pounds broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, etc., w/dip, say ranch), three passed appetizers like chicken satay, meatballs (Swedish, Italian, whatever flavor fits), Athens mini-filo cups with whatever suits your fancy or matches the theme.

 

  • 15 pounds of cheese @ $7.99 = $120
  • 15 pounds crudites @ $2.99 = $45 plus, um $10 ranch dressing
  • 160 Chicken satay (always have a little more than the number of people) @ $1.50 = $240
  • 160 meatballs @ $0.90 = $144
  • 160 mini filo cups @ $1.50 = $240
  • Total food = $799, say $800, that leaves $700 in your pocket, assuming that you hire no labor

 

Personally, my minimum would be closer to $2,250 ($15/person) because I'd use two to three servers as well as one or two in the kitchen.

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 #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Lol...thanks! It is a fantastic networking event so those benefits even out the lack of profit smile.gif
post #4 of 14

I've been in this game for over 12 years. The networking benefits are nil. You're providing cheap food at your cost.

 

How much would you be willing to PAY to go to this event? $10? $20, maybe even $50? That is what the networking is WORTH! Not what the organizer/hostess says.

 

My guess is you will get, um, 10 referrals to do similar "networking cocktail parties" (because you don't cost much wink.gif), one or two dinner parties, and six leads which, when they find out what you really cost, will evaporate.

 

A year from now, you'll be wondering how to keep going with all the networking you are doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by C0ffeemom View Post

Lol...thanks! It is a fantastic networking event so those benefits even out the lack of profit smile.gif
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
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Good point..l hadn't thought of it like that. Thanks! Am going to relook at it
post #6 of 14

150 women....2 hour event

drop off.cold or room temp, use your equipment and pickup.  Make the tablescape a wow!  Lots of fun garnish, keep in mind a design.

Med-Eastern works well......

 

Hummos (any verisions)

Pitas/pita chips,lavosh

Olives

Caponata

Baba Ganoush

dolmas (premade are fine)

cuke-yogurt sauce

 

Brie with whatever topping...you can stay with the theme and do pomagranite/pistachio or orange black pepper caramel

 

*sandwiches.....on dollar rolls or sheets of herb fogasse, simple with a twist.....turkey with curry aioli & apricot chutney

Shwarma chicken with lemon-rosemary aioli & persian cucumbers.....can be one kind, I'd keep it white meat 

 

Something sweet is nice....fillo fingers, brownies, cookies whatever and make them tiny.

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 14

or go Asian

 

edamame hummos with rice crackers or shrimp chips or wonton strips

 

fresh vietnamese springrolls

 

sesame noodles with snow peas and scallions

 

Miso dip with veg.......make it unusual as well as popular veg.....

 

Chicken teriyaki something.....you can make it heavier as a sandwich or with other noodles

 

you get the jist......very little protein, something sweet, high end is garnish or nominal amount, no $$$ cheese....loads of filler and some wow garnish or serving containers.

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thx shroom girl!
post #9 of 14

Give them a quality selection but do not be afraid to charge. It is the quality that will bring you repeat business, not the cheap price.  For a cheap price, you can't do quallity. Don't become known as the most inexpensive caterer become known as the best caterer.

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 #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

I really appreciate the suggestions!  I agree the quality must be exceptional even with the limited budget because it is an opportiunity to market to 150 professional women :)

post #11 of 14

Ice chests will keep things warm as well as cool.

Warm- place a dish of boiling water in to preheat. Remove before loading.

Cold- place an unopened bag of ice in to chill. Your choice if you want to remove prior to loading.

post #12 of 14

May I suggest that if their budget is 10 dollars per person that you present the with a menu of by the piece apps.  ie.. poached asparagus wrapped in dried ham such as panta negra, bacon wraped waterchestnuts, chicken satay skews, tuna salad stuffed cocktail tomatos. That way they get the food the order, spend what they want and you definatly get paid for you work. DON'T sell you work cheap.

post #13 of 14

Food

Staff

Rentals (equipment etc)

(+extras......gratuities, etc)

 

Remember, you don't get filet on a burger budget....but you can get some good budget food.

I don't agree with Lagom on letting them choose how many of whatever.......running out of food is not cool.   Being able to come up with a menu that reflects their budget/event/demographics/venue/your style....is what makes catering fun.

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

THanks everyone for the continued suggestions!

I am going to provide as much variety as I can at high quality with the budgeted money.  Ultimately what I serve will be a reflection of my services so I want to leave everyone with a good impression.  I'm hoping that by being creative I can be successful.

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