or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Catering Pricing

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I need some help here. I am currently starting a catering gig on the side for a friend who is starting a special events company. She has clients and lots of work lined up. Although she is giving estimates to clients, the food cost would be up to me, the caterer. I have worked in catering and banquets before so i am familiar with portions and execution but I have never costed it out. Im not sure to do a fixed food cost with a price per head or just a lump sum to cover food and also make a profit. Any help would be great. Thanks.

post #2 of 9

How can she possibly give estimates without knowing cost. She is putting the wagon before the horse.

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

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 #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

well she would be asking them what they want, telling me then i cost it and then she would give the estimate and go from there.

post #4 of 9

Ed is right.

Get with her and make up some menus and cost out per plate for different scenarios. (cocktail finger food, beef dish, fish dish, chicken dish, a choice of a few easy to hold veg and starch) don't forget rolls and beverage . 

Find a sub contractor for wedding cakes.

Liquor?

Kosher?

Who is responsible for table linens, cutlery, paying the staff.

The list is huge.

 

Good luck, tho.

Tight market.

 

Can you remain friends and maintain a working relationship?

post #5 of 9

normally
(at least in hotel)

the chef has a 'menu' prix fix

then the sales offers it to the customer

then they start discussing what they want / dont want

then sales brings back to chef

then chef preps a menu according to client

then sales returns to client to confirm ok or not

if not

repeat until satisfied

 

but CALCULATING COST is another thing

cost is

how many people (head count) -> how much food per person -> what kind of event (cocktail party is by hours, dinner etc is by courses.. buffet is also by time etc)

then after u get ur (how many servings)
u look at ur recipes
calculate the yield of ur recipe
like ur mac and cheese -> 10 people serving at 50$ but u want to serve 100 people so the cost is 500$ [FOR EXAMPLE]
so now u have  a 500$ raw MATERIAL cost
and u should count in ur time put into it ... how many chefs/ part time u need and make a "mark up price" like... 30%
so 500x30%+500 = 650$
this is ur cost
maybe ur looking for a 5% profit
then 650x5% = 32.5$
then u bill the customer 682.5$

[THIS IS ONE WAY OF DOING IT... IF IM WRONG CORRECT ME PLZ]

post #6 of 9

Oh dear, you'll be having some work cut out for you.

 

Before any customers are approached you have to have;

1) a menu

2) a contract form

 

Yes the menu can be customized, "we can upgrade the baron of beef to prime rib, but at an extra $8.p/p".  But it is a starting point.  Remember, everything in the menu price has to be taken into account: Ordering and storage of goods, prep. work, transportation, cooking on site, serving and serving prep, clean up, rentals, etc.

Start off with your basic menu, you will get customized requests, and when you have done them, include them on the menu.

 

You need a contract, without this the business is guaranteed to fail.  The contract will ask for anywhere from 10-25% upon booking, another 50% when the head count is guaranteed, and the balance before any guests are served.  You should have a lawyer draw this one up. 

 

I can't emphasize the importance of the contract and the menu enough, you need both completed and able to present to a client before you can talk about pricing.

 

Hope this helps

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #7 of 9

Pricing is a balance between what the market will bear and what it costs to produce.

 

One must know what it costs to produce, that is the absolute minimum to be charged, otherwise one goes broke!

 

One must know what the market is willing to pay, that is the maximum one can charge, otherwise one does not sell anything.

 

Price is but half the equation, sales equals price per unit times units sold.

 

Charge too little and you end up with too little to pay the bills and you go broke.

 

Charge too much and you end up with too little to pay the bills and you go broke.
 

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 #8 of 9

Yes having someone else talk to the client, "find out what they want", give them an estimate, (oh and by the way,

as far as catering clients go, "estimate" pretty much equals "price", although theyll let you go DOWN, but rarely UP)

THEN talk to you, does sound like a recipe for disaster (yours, not the client's) but.... it can actually work, if the

estimate is high enough.

I think what we need to know to help you is an example or two of  her -estimates-.....

what actual food she quoted for, (including sides, main, apps, drinks,desserts,and anything else they discussed)

serving style (plated, buffet, self-svc, etc) and the NUMBER of PEOPLE, along with her estimated price figures.

As well as everything you're expected to be responsible for, as FlipGirl mentioned above.

 

That way we can all have a look, apply some "backwards math" if needed,  and give you more accurate opinions,

including cost per head vs lump rate etc.

post #9 of 9

When pricing parties there are many variables. Like are you selling a complete package plan all inclusive or  not?  Where the total has a specific cost and markup. Then you have the seperate functions where each item orderd seperate . Each item then has a different cost and a different markup.  Examplw wedding cake cost me 1.50pp  I would sell it for $5.00--5.50 pp minimum because when I serve it  Ineed labor (waitstaff) and then labor to wash dishes etc.  You must consider all cost not just food. Transportation, rentals,insurance, rent,  etc.

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

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
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs