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New to the catering biz and need some pointers.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi every body,

I just recently started to process of opening a catering biz.  I have my first client lined up for May 9th (wedding) and I was wondering how you all did a few things, and if you had any pointers

 It is a full pasta bar 

2 different kind of noodles,





meat balls


the whole sha-bang


and we will be preparing every ones food to order.


-Labor costs. 

- How much would YOU all charge for something like this.

- Any pointers on how to run more smoothly



Thank you all so much for your input


post #2 of 4
Originally Posted by jessielouwho View Post



and we will be preparing every ones food to order.


Huuuuuuuuhhhhh?^ eek.gif


Maybe you should explain more in depth about the specifics of your catering operation. i.e. Do you have a full kitchen with adjoining banquet facilities? How big is your staff? How many people is this wedding? What type of equipment in your kitchen?


At my golf course, we have a decent sized kitchen and banquet room and can handle a wedding of up to about 150 people. We would never prepare the food "to order" for a banquet of that size. We use chafing dishes. Put everything out and everyone digs in. Ideally, right after we put the food out but that never happens at a wedding! LOL (Pasta is a pretty delicate matter when using chafing dishes BTW.) Cooking food "to order" to me means everybody would come through my cafe and place their individual order and I'd have all my burners full and my head would be spinning with 150 people standing in line all wanting different things and I'd be in the weeds for about 2 hours. Not fun and not a good way to impress a bridezilla. Now, your individual situation is important here. Some kitchens might be able to handle this type of ordering system but I've seen none that would handle a banquet this way.  


Now, I've worked in 5 different places that were involved with catering/banquets/weddings. We all pretty much had the same methods as far as feeding a large amount of people. One place I worked at, we could do 1400 people in one room and there were about 25 different banquet rooms of various sizes available on the property, so there effectively could have been a huge banquet (read international conference) in the big room and several others going on at the same time all over the property. The current place I work at we average about 70-90 people per event and it's the smallest operation I've worked at and we would never feed people "to order" unless it's a golf tournament of about 40 people max. 


So, maybe you elaborate a bit more about the event plan. Because I'm confused. 

post #3 of 4

Vic ol' pal, that isn't the only way to do custom order at a catering event....

This sounds like a cook to order pasta bar, wherein similar to say, Mongolian Barbeque, the guests stand in

line, select their ingredients, then pass them to the "line cooks" who move their "meal" along the cookline til 

done/plated, during which the guest keeps their eye on their  own. These are very popular, I've done dozens,

for as many as 250 guests.(1 helper)

Granted they don't move as fast as a chaffer buffet, but if done properly they move fast enough.



You have to come up with your own pricing, but based on your ingredients (and typically 3 meats) for something

very similar I was charging about 18, to 25.00 per person for a "whole shebang" type custom order pasta bar. 

I can give you more pointers once I know if this IS what you're doing and more about your intended setup, as well

as your answers to Vic's great questions, like number of people etc. .

post #4 of 4

To start they are not noodles. add a bit more class then that. Banquet is the most profitable form of food service. I do and have done for years cost times 3 plus 10%,   good luck. Years ago I was chef at largest catering facility in the US  we did 17million per year and in height of season an 11% food cost.  6 ballrooms twice daily  7 days in most cases litterally a factory.

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