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Pricing and amounts for appetizers only

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi all, new here. Been catering for about 8 months officially, 15 years unofficially. Pricing is my hardest issue. Client wants 5 apps for 40 people for 70th bday (antipasto selection with crackers, warm bacon mushroom dip with crostini, Chicken skewers with spicy sauce, mini twice baked potato bites, pulled pork sliders on handcrafted brioche buns). She doesn't want to spend a lot, but warned me that her mom "is the type that doesn't like to run out of food". I feel like I need to specify how much of each item she will receive and let her know she will need to order more if she wants more. What amounts would you provide and what would you charge? If I charge $x/person for pulled pork sliders/ mini twice baked potatoes, how many do I provide them?

post #2 of 5

Hi MM, welcome to CT. Im sure you'll get lots of help in here on this one....

Im asssuming it's only been recently youve started charging hence your question.

So off hand I'd say if you've done this even  unofficially for 15 years, then you should

have a pretty good idea of what your food costs on this should be. Start with that,

how much it will cost you to MAKE the apps. And as apps go those aren't real costly ones.

You then need to figure your time in and other expenses, labor help (and yours) and

and expected profit.

The "I don't want to spend a lot but I want plenty and it to be really nice" line, is pretty common,

but coming from friends or family it gets trickier. Because people think "Oh its just apps"

but the fact is "plenty" of apps for 40 people is a lot of work.

So to estimate, and given you didn't specify when, i.e., dinner, lunch or in between, assuming

everyone's hungry, on 5 apps of this type, and allowing "plenty" I would figure 3 of each per person,

15 apps per, total per. Or apx 100 to 120 each app. That's  600 apps.

As a thumbnail at 2.00 per, $1200.00. And that's a low estimate, I would charge more like 3 bucks an app per.

IMO, if that's considered way too high, then you may end up with the short end of the stick here.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your response! The party will be at 7pm. I think I'm going to give her a price per dozen and let her be in charge of how many she wants to order, then the pressure is off of me. Every group is so different, it's tough to know what kind of "eaters" she will have!

post #4 of 5

Be sure you insist on a minimum for the time and number of guests---If the food runs out they will blame you----not the frugal hostess----

post #5 of 5

I understand the temptation to put the decision off on the client but Mikeswoods is right, if you run out of food, then it reflects poorly on you as opposed to the client, even if it is their call... and it is not like you can walk around saying "I am sorry we ran out but Mrs So-n-so only ordered this much."  Give her the choice to order whatever she wants but give her some guidance.  She does not want to be embarrassed either by running out of food.  


Maybe you can have some passed items that you can control their distribution a little better. We had a 3 hour cocktail party over the Christmas holiday "for around 50 people"... This in the French Quarter and people would stop by either on their way to or from other parties and dinner, etc.  We divided up the apps so we made sure we would have some for each hour of the party.  If not, the folks who came by on their way to dinner could have made a serious dent in the supply so the folks who were coming by that last hour would have had nothing.  


Hope things go well for you!

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