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Wedding Budget Chopped!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I am a chef of a restaurant  and was asked by my stepmother to cater her BF daughter's wedding (not through my restaurant). I met with her, they picked out the food they wanted with the prices, and then I sent her a 'final' bill, which included labor, rentals, tax - I even broke it down so she would see exactly where her money was going. All totaled with everything it was almost $2500 for 100 people. Which I think is pretty  cheap for what she wanted and the fact that the reception hall has absolutely no facilities- not even a damn sink. Now, I get an email saying they only want to spend $14 a person. How do I cut this down? It's not even the food so much (though that will definitely get cut down) but labor and rentals. Should I just tell her for her price point she'll have to go cheap- plastic utensils,no linens, guests will have to bus their own tables. What do I cut?

Food
Crudités in cups with dill sauce 100 pcs.                                          25.00
Grilled watermelon with feta and balsamic port sauce 100 pcs.      25.00
Mozzarella and tomato stacks on parmesan crisps 100 pcs.            35.00
Wedge salad with tomato, bleu cheese, scallion, bacon and creamy herb dressing 50 pcs.                                                                                 62.50
Strawberry salad with mesculan, gorgonzola, candied walnuts, and strawberry vinaigrette 50 pcs.                                                          75.00
Spiced Buttermilk Fried Chicken 100 pcs.                                        300.00
Sarsaparilla soaked Pork 100 ptns.                                                       200.00
Steamed green bean bundles 100 pcs.                                               50.00
Corn on the Cob with cilantro chili butter 100 pcs.                          50.00
Smoked gouda and white truffle rotini 100 ptns.                                   100.00
Ocean kissed potatoes 100 pcs.                                                            50.00
Assorted rolls 100 pcs.                                                                         25.00


Food Total                                                                                               997.50

                    Equipment
100 shot glasses (crudités)                            35.00
100 Asian spoons (watermelon)                            25.00
2 Trays (tomato stacks)                                12.50
110 salad plates                                    44.00
110 cake plates                                    44.00
110 dinner forks                                    36.30    
110 dessert forks                                    36.30    
110 knives                                        36.30
110 teaspoons                                    36.30
110 water goblets *                                38.50
18 S&P shakers                                    22.50
18 hotel pans                                    45.00
12 Chafing dishes                                         216.00
12 sterno                                        18.00
Assorted serving utensils                                22.00

Equipment Total                                        667.70
                    Linens

110 ivory napkins                                    49.50
25 54x120 tablecloths                                     198.75
2 90 in. round tablecloths                             15.90
 
Linen Total                                             264.15


Additional Labor*                                         400.00
Tax                                                 151.40


*Contingent upon bartending services*

post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jliv29 View Post

I am a chef of a restaurant  and was asked by my stepmother to cater her BF daughter's wedding (not through my restaurant). I met with her, they picked out the food they wanted with the prices, and then I sent her a 'final' bill, which included labor, rentals, tax - I even broke it down so she would see exactly where her money was going. All totaled with everything it was almost $2500 for 100 people. Which I think is pretty  cheap for what she wanted and the fact that the reception hall has absolutely no facilities- not even a damn sink. Now, I get an email saying they only want to spend $14 a person. How do I cut this down? It's not even the food so much (though that will definitely get cut down) but labor and rentals. Should I just tell her for her price point she'll have to go cheap                                                 
..........

She cut the budget. I can't imagine taking this on with no help, no kitchen/sink , etc.....

 

You have no choice but to cut and go plastic. Is this a spring or summer wedding ? Just curious ....

 

Your budget is tight as it is. Was there a plan B ?

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #3 of 20

jliv, as far as the food goes, what was it that you were thinking of offering to stay within the new budget? 

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Wedding is in the middle of June. No plan B, as they agreed to ' plan A'. I hate to have to tell her  but that dream reception she wanted isn't happening. Thinking, I'll cut the appetizers, drop  either the salads or veggies, switch to plastic everything, get those cheapy  foil food holders, maybe linens too. At this point I really don't want to do this.

post #5 of 20

If you really do not want to do it the one thing I have learned over the years is to walk away. I have sat down with potential clients who were under the impression that the suppliers give us the food for free and we work for free, I politley closed up my portfolio and excused myself from the meeting only to have them beg me to sit back down and they were much more receptive to my pricing. Now on the other hand if I am getting bad vibes from the clients or that sixth sense is telling me they will never be pleased I run away from that event and the funny thing is I may have a couple of servers working a event at a later date discussing the job I walked away from and what a nightmare it was. I do not even have a menu that starts anywhere near 14.00per person.

post #6 of 20

crazy.   lost my long winded post. First off, offsite catering is much different than doing an on site event.  You are schlepping food, props, staff, etc.  It's more expensive than eating on site.

 

You were giving away the house with your initial cost.....feel fortunate that they opted for a much more modest event.

Depending on the profile of the MOB/bridal couple, you could do cheeses and desserts for $14pp

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 20

Wash your hands of this before you really wind up with a problem. Let her find someone else. Trust me been there done that.

CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #8 of 20

yea....I'm with everyone else.  So not worth it.

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 20

Tough situation since the client is family.

Different (unrealistic) expectations of you because of this.

Good luck.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #10 of 20

They "want" to spend 14.00 pp, or that's all they really CAN spend? Your intial menu was way nice for what you were charging IMO.

Now, the 1400.00 for a reception dinner for 100 ppl sounds more like cold cuts & dippable veggies, or cheap hor d oeuvres to me.

No bells/frills/whistles, no linens, strictly paper & plastic as you've said.

 

They cut your already low budget almost in half--did they really expect you to "cut out a few things" while keeping the general

elaborateness and elegance of the orginal proposal? Sorry it just sounds like family-taking-advantage of you shenanigans to me,

and like most here, I would find a reason to pass. Such a barebones affair isnt going to make you look like a great caterer anyway,

if it was me, I would just tell them that price is "below my minimums necessay to support my standards for this type of event".

post #11 of 20

Beverages? Wedding Cake?

Try cheerfully saying "Sure we can do that!" and offer a $14 pp menu that has a cubed cheese & cracker tray, bowls of nuts, crudite/ dip and fruit platters on each table. 

That might change her mind.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #12 of 20

Like the furry guy's response......

Hard to work for family.

If I cannot afford to "gift" my services I politely say no.

But then again my gig is pastry and pretty much still have boxes of bakery related hardware in storage.

One option is to hand them the list with everything except the food and let them do the shopping, include the booze and labor on their list.

Make sure you have everything in your possession 3-4 weeks before the date.

If something is missing, ask ONE TIME if it was forgotten or slashed (if slashed you can cross the related dish off the list)

Might just get you out of a tight situation.

 

mimi

post #13 of 20

maybe a singal theme buffet.   build your own czar salad,taco bar,sangwiches.   i believe if you wanna do the job and have a set budget then just come up with something doable.   are you looking to make a profit?   who in the family or group can get a good price on a particular food item?   come up with something unique and dramatic.   or back out and go to the event  non stressed.


Edited by smork - 4/3/13 at 5:50am
post #14 of 20

At that price, it's a very limited drop off menu. No linens, no tables, no service, disposable everything. Here's your food, have a great event.

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

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Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply
post #15 of 20

I suggest that you sit down with them and pull this conversation up on the computer.  Your original menu was very generous for the price, enough of a family discount.

post #16 of 20

You're a brave good soul, you are working for free, this menu is labor intensive.  I have given up doing jobs for so & so's best friends whoever.  It spoils the art and ruins the day.  Special circumstances for me is usually a charity event & then there are no expectations outside of the goals and quality that I set myself.

I hear your plight here my friend & I also feel sure that you will require some help.  The menu is nice & clean & interesting but it will only provide cash flow not much room for profit.

Now if it is a real act of kindness then disposables are your only option & a little streamlining of the colorful menu would be also appropriate.  I hope you report back on the job after its conclusion, best wishes, Matthew

post #17 of 20

Great suggestion!

post #18 of 20

You are way too nice!

Walk away from this. It shouts disaster.
 

post #19 of 20

Send them to Chili's

post #20 of 20

It still amazes me what people think catering costs. I always find myself wanting to remind clients that a boxed lunch with chips from Panera Bread is around $12 a person. How in any universe could a nicely done wedding reception only be around $14?  

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