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# catering cost per person does it vary based on number of people

I catered a party for someone and I priced her for items based on 100 people , now she wants to use my service again and most of the same food and she is asking if my price per piece will be the same, do i charge more for fewer quanitites?

Well, think of it this way, your cost is composed of three parts:

• Food
• Operations (labor, rentals, travel, etc.)
• Overhead (rent, insurance, licenses, taxes, and everything else to stay in business)

Food cost is pretty much directly related to the number of people, i.e. \$xx/person, so that is pretty constant.

Operations is a little less related to the number of people and is more "step like" than food costs, i.e. 1 cook and 1 server can probably handle 2-8 or 10 people unless it is a real complex menu, as the number increases, you have to add BOH and FOH personnel, but in steps, it IS hard to hire 1/2 or 1/4 of a person.

Overhead has NO relationship to the number of people, it is often called "fixed costs".

Say for a typical three course menu for N people, food cost is, oh say, \$10/person, operations (the fee for my wife and I) is \$400 and my overhead is, um, \$20/day (\$400/month divided by 20 days, then my "costs" are:

\$10*N+\$400+\$20 = \$10*N+\$420

Now, let's see how the cost per person varies with the number of people:

• For 2 people: \$10*2+\$420 = \$20+\$420 = \$440 and \$440/2 = \$220/person
• For 4 people: \$10*4+\$420 = \$40+\$420 = \$460 and \$460/4 = \$115/person
• For 6 people: \$10*6+\$420 = \$60+\$420 = \$480 and \$480/6 = \$ 80/person
• For 8 people: \$10*8+\$420 = \$80+\$420 = \$500 and \$500/8 = \$ 62.50/person

At that point, I have to add to the operations costs for BOH and FOH.

Obviously, if the number of people is greater than, say, 20-40, the overall difference is much smaller. That is why restaurants/caterers, who's volume is much greater, have no problem charging \$/person. A few, more or less, has little impact on their daily income. Foe a private or personal chef that charges \$/person WITHOUT A GUARANTEED MINIMUM, there is a distinct risk of ending up with no profit and, maybe, even not getting your fee.

I do NOT charge \$/person, I charge \$/job. That way I KNOW how much I will make if I get the job!

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

most caterers have guaranteed minimums....a small dinner party can eat your lunch easily.  That being said there are many many ways to skin the cat....

Pete's is one of them.

cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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