properly quoting a catering gig
There is so much (solid) available info on this subject on Chef Talk.
Why is this good?
Because you will find answers to questions you did not know you had.
To get you started......
I alternated catering and catering pricing in the search function.
Another good way to learn some of the nitty gritty (math included) would be to study at the knees of the late great @PeteMcCracken (this will take you to his CT page and from there the world is your oyster (at least until you get on your feet and gain some confidence).
About being talked "down to".
F&B..is a fast paced biz (if you are lucky lol ;-) and most of the been around forever people talk in shorthand which I will be the first to admit can come out sounding not so nice esp when there is a lack of body language for clues.
Just one thing before I go.
It is really hard to read and absorb so many works squished together.
Maybe you can go back and edit by placing some spaces?
I am a bullet point style poster......
Paragraphs can be fine as well.
Welcome to Chef Talk!
#edit to add... I did not vet any of the links so if you come across a still unanswered question just ask.
You are right about the contract.
It is helpful to have somewhere to spell out their wants (services) and your needs (money to keep the doors open and continue to feed your family).
I also find it nice when it comes to touchy subjects (read some of the catering leftover threads....mamma mia lol) as I can point to the line with a sharp object...read it aloud....then just bark "itintial here" lol .
I'm not going into the costing part. FFG gave you good advice on where to find that. I will say by properly costing everything out and keeping your labor down you will under cut all other caterer's. Your clients don't know your getting free labor, in time you may not be in this position. I wouldn't worry to much about being the cheapest, I would keep on giving quality food and quality service. Always remember that your clients will never understand how much work it takes to cater an affair. This is why people may say let's get a few trays of food at Safeway and be done with it. You need to decide if you want to be a caterer that gets every catering because he undercuts everyone else and makes less money. Or, be a caterer that takes the catering's that they can make good money on and do less catering's. In my catering business I costed the menu out to be fair with my customer. I also got all of my catering because we were serving the best quality of food. I found in the beginning it was all about cost. In the end it was that they just wanted me to do it regardless of the cost. Don't sell yourself short, make a good buck on the affair. A good caterer works real hard making it a successful catering. You are in the beginning stages of building your business. It's OK to give a little at this stage. IMHO, At the end of the day the client should feel they got good food and good service for what they paid. When I met with my client I would promise them whatever. When I did the catering I would always give them a bit more. I wanted them to feel they made the right choice and got more than expected. I feel I didn't do my job unless my clients guest's were bragging to them about how good everything was. I want to make my Client the hero, not me. In all the foodservice's I have worked in or owned catering gave me the most sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.........Good Luck.......ChefBill
And I strive for 110% guest satisfaction as i aim to go above and beyond clients expectations... I have a rehearsal dinner a few weeks back the i catered at a holiday inn and the next day was their wedding she contacted me and said the folks at the wedding were still complimenting my food and they ALL wish i had been the one selected to cater the wedding as welll... I am doing well booking venues just need ti get better at the paper work that goes into it and gauging prices/quotes.. Much appreciated Mr.Chef Bill
Great job with your business you should be proud. When It comes to costing it reminds me of a multi restaurant complex I trained at in Hawaii. I had a Japanese GM training me in restaurant management. He asked a few of us to take inventory. One of the guys I was working with gave the GM a list of the spice rack items he had taken inventory on. The GM asked about the Bay leaf container and why it wasn't counted. The guy told him they only use a few at a time there isn't really a cost. The GM look at him and told him everything has a cost, everything needs to be accounted for. The guy when back and counted 1000's of bay leaves in the container. He later told me why he made him count all the bay leaves. He said when you start not counting things because it's to small of a cost where do you stop. When you cost out a menu put some kind of a cost on every item in the dish. He said a few penny's may not be that big of a deal for a few dishes but what about 1000's of dishes over a years time. Thinking like this will help you break down a dish and figure out what costs you have. Let me know if I could help, I would be happy to..........The Best.......Chef Bill
I have a question on your meat costs, is that what you are paying for raw meat or is that the cost per pound of the end product? The reason I ask is that the pork is going to shrink 40-50% after cooking, steak and chicken 20-30%, are you considering this? Adding in the cost of marinades and chilies, tomatillos, etc for the chili verde.
Take a look at this site and scroll down to the bottom to see the yield charts. You could take their yields and figure out your cost. Most people don't know or worry about exact costing of their menu. The ones that want to stay in business do.........You will run into clients that will ask for catering's saying they want 2 or three tacos per person. If your going to cost it out, I would cost it on three tacos to cover yourself. Remember! The customer doesn't want you to run out of food. You also don't want to a lot of food leftover. If you cost out the amount of food to cover the clients requests and the food isn't used you will still have it covered and make your money. Everyone wins don't every cut yourself short. I have done 1000's of catering over the years. Each one of those catering I played out in my own mind. All I had to do when the time came was to do it.........Chefbuba is a great source for info, he hangs with the best!