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Just starting out

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have an catering event coming up in i dont know how to charge i have the menu in its for 100 ppl. She wants a cheese platter,veggie platter & fruit platter in also would like green beans,rice & chicken serve buffet style do anyone have any suggestions?

post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 

any suggestions on how i should charge?

post #3 of 5

Yup, at least enough to cover all your costs plus what you want in your pocket.


Of course, you probably have competitors, so you are not able to charge much more than they do. Know your market.


The minimum you should charge covers your costs plus profit.


The maximum is what the client is willing to pay.


Price = Food cost + rental cost + labor cost + overhead cost + profit

Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #4 of 5

I've catered parties for 15 years.This is an easy, universal catering formula to start with.


Look in a catalog or do a test run at the grocery store to figure out the price of each food item needed.  Do not add equipment costs like platters into this equation, because you can use them again. Shop around for the best price on the expensive items, like the chicken, cheese and produce. Use seasonal vegetables and fruits for best flavor and price.


Add up all the items and multiple that by 3.  So you will be running at close to a 200% profit margin over your raw products. This sounds like a lot on paper, but that 200% will cover wages, utilities, rent, equipment, disposables, etc. The rest will be for you to invest in your business or pay your own wage. Remember you are essentially being a mobile restaurant, it's your time, money and energy. You are untitled to charge for that.


I don't know costs in your area, but I would guess it will cost between $350-$500 in food. So that would be $1050-$1500 for the event. Divided by 100 guests that is $10 to $15 per person, which is reasonable to moderate to eat out at any buffet in America.


Hope that helps, good luck, I'm sure it will be great,


Chef Dee

post #5 of 5

Different caterers use different methods. Some charge by the pan. In this case, estimating one hotel pan can feed 25 people, you will need four hotel pans of your chicken dish. Each pan has it's own cost. Calculate the cost of preparing a full pan, multiply by 2.5 to 3 (depending on what your established mark up is) and that is what you charge the customer per pan. The problem with this method is the customer usually buys far too much or too little food. At Bridge Catering, we lay out the proposed menu and calculate the per person price of each dish ($3 per person for a salad, $5 per person for Chicken over pasta, etc.). Then we add up all the per dish prices to arrive at the maximum per person price for the event. We then look at ingredients, ease of preparation, etc., to see if we can shave a few dollars off the per person price. We also tell them the set up, linens for the buffet, decor for the buffet, clean up, disposable plates. utensils, cups, and sweet tea are included. The chafers, linens, and decor we own and use over and over so there is no cost there. 


Of course the best way is to get your clients budget up front. Then you can back out sales tax, delivery, staffing, profit margin you would like to see, then you have your purchasing budget. 


In any event, choose a method you are comfortable with and stick with it.


Bridge Catering

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