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post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello chefs ...
My name is craig an I've recently been ask to lead a 1 man plus me kitchen in cooking a plated dinner for about 300 ppl. I ddo not have to pay for food and I will be cooking at the event in a commercial kitchen with everything I need. I would be inclined to charge only for labor by the hour .. What would be a fair price to charge/hr and is this doable with me and one cook or should I push for at least one other cook? Thanks for your responses in advance!
post #2 of 11

Do you feel confident that you and one other can put this out?

You and one other could do the prep but you will need help plating to get them out faster.

Charge depends a lot on menu and how difficult/easy it is to prepare.

post #3 of 11

Not possible without holding boxes, plate lids, and sauce at the table.

 

And beef or braised red meat only.

post #4 of 11

Hard to say without more info such as menu, equipment (hot boxes,etc.). 300 plate ups for 2 people seems like a hell of a push to me. I can't help but to think it is bound to affect the quality of the dining experience.

 

Two production lines of 2 people (once again depends upon menu, equipment, etc) would be a bare minimum that I would want to tackle the job with and three lines seems more reasonable.

 

As to what to charge for labor per hour...for only your labor or...?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok sorry about that
I will have hot boxes etc pretty much everything you will find in a banquet kitchen to work with one cook does seem like a hell of a push ...and most likely id bring one of my own
Menu they want is : some variation
of tilapia and rice
Fried or smothered pork chops with potato
This is what they are pretty much set on having
I plan to tweek it a little to reflect who I am as a chef but this is the menu plus salad and cake. I guess I'm asking ,if everything is perfect what would be my price per hour only for me not the cooks .. They will be taken care of seperatly.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefoctopi View Post

Ok sorry about that
I will have hot boxes etc pretty much everything you will find in a banquet kitchen to work with one cook does seem like a hell of a push ...and most likely id bring one of my own
Menu they want is : some variation
of tilapia and rice
Fried or smothered pork chops with potato
This is what they are pretty much set on having
I plan to tweek it a little to reflect who I am as a chef but this is the menu plus salad and cake. I guess I'm asking ,if everything is perfect what would be my price per hour only for me not the cooks .. They will be taken care of seperatly.
Also I will not have to worry about getting food ... I only have to show up and show out smile.gif
post #7 of 11
Charge a half day rate.  I'd say $250 is fair for yourself.
 
But this sound kitchen impossible to me.   You can cook it all but you still need a lot of hands to plate. 
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefoctopi View Post


Also I will not have to worry about getting food ... I only have to show up and show out smile.gif


This is a red flag right here.

Are you confident that those who will be providing you with the food to cook, know how much to buy and know the product?

I would personally be very concerned about this.

post #9 of 11
I would be a little concerned just like chef ross says... who is making the purchases and are they qualified to make accurate purchasing decisions. I would say start at $250-$350. but seriously make sure the person providing food knows what they are doing cause in the end it's you they will look at to Blame if you run out. Also, ask for the money before the event starts. I have been burned before getting paid after.
post #10 of 11

(Forgive me if this is a bit disorganized, had limited time.)

 

Some initial questions.... 
What time frame for service of 300? In other words how fast will you be expected to serve everyone from

the scheduled dinner time on?

 

Who's doing the serving? How many servers? Are you plating and serving acccording to table?

How many guests at each table? (I would figure on minimum 4 servers per 2 platers) 

How is the food delivered from the kitchen to the servers--a pass-through? 

 

Is the salad being served as a pre-course? (in that event you have to plate and serve 300 salads as well.

(I hope you're planning a simply presented one, like spring mix with beets/goat cheese topping, etc.)

No apps I take it?

 

How much time are you allowed total for prep, cooking and plating?
And are you prepping and cookiing and serving all this in one day? No pre-prep day? 


How many platers you need depends on how fast you're required to feed those 300 people. 
That's not a complex menu as you presented it, so two of you can handle up to 100 without too much

stress,provided you have most everything you need prepped and ready.  But 300 is a different ballgame. 

 

It's also dependent on how much space you have in your expedite area for plating. 

And how smooth it goes is greatly dependent on the setup. 

IMO you'd need at least 1 cook hanging back, rotating product, plates, etc, while plating is under way.

And I would generally say two dedicated platers would be necessary (minimum) each on their own "end"

with all menu items in front of each plater. And with two main courses, its best to have one plating the 

pork entre, the other plating the seafood entre on the opposite end. Makes it far easier for the servers

as well. 

 

How were you intending to utilize the hotboxes-- for finished plates, or to hold food pans to BE plated?

Again, what is the expected service time? 


Are you guys responsible for any post chores other than cleaning up your own kitchen mess? 

 

Now, if you're the one deciding HOW to cook this menu, then IMO you're the Chef, not a cook. 

Charge accordingly and dont sell yourself short. 

Personally in my banquet experience I wouldn't touch this with one other cook/chef for less

than 350..00 for my fee alone. And even that might vary upwards, depending on other factors.

 

Quote:
 Also, ask for the money before the event starts. I have been burned before getting paid after.

 

John is absolutely right about this. One of the common excuses I've gotten afterwards, is 
"Ahh well, problem is, we didn't make as much on this as we hoped, in fact we lost money on it, 
so paying you that much now wouldn't make much sense." 

 I swear I kid you not!. :mad: 

post #11 of 11

I agree with the general sentiment above.

If you have a choice, don't take this job.  The client appears to be looking for every shortcut and cheapest option possible - ie supplying food, minimal labor.  

Plated dinner for 300 with 2 options is ridiculous for 2 people unless you and the client are okay with a mediocre plate + slow service.  

Product will be overcooked, half the dining room will be done with dinner before the other half even gets their food.

 

Prep for a dinner like this will take at least a day.

Think about all the steps needed for this dinner:

Salad

- cut and wash greens

- prep dressings

- prep garnishes

- plate & hold 300 salads 

- dress salads

- prepare dietary restriction salads

 

Tilapia

- cook rice

- prepare veg side?

- cook veg side 

- hold veg side

- clean and portion tilapia

- cook tilapia

- hold tilapia

- flash tilapia

- plate rice + tilapia + veg side

- hold plates?

 

Pork Chops

- portion chops?

- sear / mark off chops

- prep potato

- cook potato

- hold potato?

- cook chops

- hold chops?

- make gravy

 

That is a lot of prep work for a basic menu when you are doing 300

 

From my experience, plated dinners start at $85 and up per person.

 

You really need to be certain of what equipment you have available to you.  Do you have a banquet cart or hot box?  Do you have enough space to plate salads without having to put them on a rack and in the cooler?  Do you have a roll in combi?  double stack convection?  How are you going to mark off the pork chops?  There are a lot of steps I don't think you are accounting for.

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