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Pricing for a wedding/ bridal shower

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
My business was asked to cater a bridal shower for 35 people. The menu consist of a green salad shrimp alfredo pasta a fruit salads a bread iced tea and water the client told me that she would need two trays of each item her budget was $200 I'm trying to get advice on if I'm being underpaid.
post #2 of 16

That's only $5.71 per person and that is including the gratuity if you have one (you should to pay your staff). 2 trays of each item? Only 35 people? $200 budget with tax included too? Wow... 35-40 people is usually the minimum guest count that a banquet facility will do. And that is if they have no chance of selling that date and the party is willing to pay several hundred dollars (or more) at a minimum for food/bev. I'd pass... Don't sell yourself short.   

post #3 of 16

If you truly are an owner/operator and Chef like your profile states, then surely you understand that you need to cost out your food, understand your expenses fully and build your pricing to reflect a profit for every event you sell?

post #4 of 16
Sounds like yet another client looking for uber cheap catering.
Vic is right about minimums (Heya Vic, aint seen ya in a while!) I
generally wont touch an event for less than 400.00 abouts.
Thats 35 people at about 12.oo per head....if its 25 people, its
still 400.00. These little parties that ask you for the moon will
make you go broke if you allow it.
Id personally charge this woman minimum of 12.oo per person,
but again as Vic mentioned, the only correct way is to sit down
and cost out each item, from food to labor.
post #5 of 16
Numerous issues here.
Firstly, she is way under catering for the amount of guests if each item is only two trays (you haven't specified how many pieces that is)
Rule of thumb in my experience has always been:
1 piece of each menu item per person minimum.
Reason being, if you have, say, twenty portions of prawn salad being passed around between forty guests, half miss out. You can be sure the guests who miss out aren't thinking "oh, the party host only ordered for half"
No.
They're thinking "the caterers ran out of food, very poor!"
This could damage your reputation and kill any hope of picking up more work from the guests.

I think you're being low balled, but this is not uncommon in wedding catering. Any bride to be knows that as soon as they say "wedding", prices skyrocket. How a wedding cake can be three or four times more expensive than a birthday cake is anyone's guess.

That being said, you need to do your homework and come up with a price per piece on each item on the menu. Including labour, cost of goods, travel, overhead, cleaning etc etc. add your profit expectations and arrive at your sales price.
Now add all sales price together and divide by number of guests and you have your price per head.
This becomes your quote, and from there you can decide whether you might be willing to negotiate downward with your client.

Good luck
post #6 of 16

At that price you are paying her.  She needs to change her budget and expectations.  Cost out your food and decide how much profit you want to make.  At that budget she needs to go to KFC and get a bucket.

post #7 of 16

Speaking of KFC.... Olive Garden has their catering menu online.

Check it out Fettuccine Alfredo (sans protein of any sort)  for 6 peeps @ about thirty dollars.

Take it from there if you cannot run your own numbers.

 

@Cronker lets not go there on the cake prices, K?

We run a tight ship here lol.

 

mimi

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherresetheChef View Post

My business was asked to cater a bridal shower for 35 people. The menu consist of a green salad shrimp alfredo pasta a fruit salads a bread iced tea and water the client told me that she would need two trays of each item her budget was $200 I'm trying to get advice on if I'm being underpaid.

As mentioned earlier, 2 trays means nothing, unless you've already set your trays up to serve, say, 50 people.

By the way, trays of what?

Pasta?

Salad?

Not really tray food so I don't undergettit.

 

All that being said, less than six dollars per person doesn't buy what they want.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cronker View Post

Numerous issues here.
Firstly, she is way under catering for the amount of guests if each item is only two trays (you haven't specified how many pieces that is)
Rule of thumb in my experience has always been:
1 piece of each menu item per person minimum.
Reason being, if you have, say, twenty portions of prawn salad being passed around between forty guests, half miss out. You can be sure the guests who miss out aren't thinking "oh, the party host only ordered for half"
No.
They're thinking "the caterers ran out of food, very poor!"
This could damage your reputation and kill any hope of picking up more work from the guests.

I think you're being low balled, but this is not uncommon in wedding catering. Any bride to be knows that as soon as they say "wedding", prices skyrocket. How a wedding cake can be three or four times more expensive than a birthday cake is anyone's guess.

That being said, you need to do your homework and come up with a price per piece on each item on the menu. Including labour, cost of goods, travel, overhead, cleaning etc etc. add your profit expectations and arrive at your sales price.
Now add all sales price together and divide by number of guests and you have your price per head.
This becomes your quote, and from there you can decide whether you might be willing to negotiate downward with your client.

Good luck

 

Exactly, very well stated.

The way I've taught myself to look at it, its crucial to establish an understanding with the client about certain things, 

such as the quantity of each item. And if they decide on an amount that you know might run them short, it is ESSENTIAL

that they know this and agree that its okay if you run out of an item. An example would be estimating 2 of each items per guest, 

and, based on your past experience, youve actually had plenty left over....but then when you do the current event, a few people

REALLY like one of the items, and decide to take 3 or 4, justifying it by not taking any of the the others.

(Anything stuffed with crab comes to mind lol) Unless of course you're going to enact precise portion control, which carries

its own set of problems and resentments.  

 

Conversely, if they dont want to run out of anything, they need to know theyre gonna be charged for that extra "buffer" of 20

or 30 % more food..... whether its consumed or not. 

 

Cuz unfortunately, even after hundreds of events, I have still not perfected a system to accurately determine the expected eating

habits of any given event,. Every crowd is different.....but that is actually one of the things I find so rewarding and enjoyable

about catering. And learing to cover your backside with enough food, while not having to charge exhorbitantly is a true art that

only comes with experience.  

post #10 of 16

Good replies by all here. I agree 100%. I can't understate the importance of the OP understanding fully the expenses of running her restaurant. There is one sure fire way to fail at this business and that is it (not understanding).  

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Meezenplaz View Post

(Heya Vic, aint seen ya in a while!)

 

Hey buddy! :-) 

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherresetheChef View Post

My business was asked to cater a bridal shower for 35 people. The menu consist of a green salad shrimp alfredo pasta a fruit salads a bread iced tea and water the client told me that she would need two trays of each item her budget was $200 I'm trying to get advice on if I'm being underpaid.


You can't get a foot long at Subway for $5.71 (the budget) A burger, fries and soda is $7++ at Micky D's

I think you need to do some homework.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the help. Ive decided not to take her as a client.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherresetheChef View Post

Thank you all for the help. Ive decided not to take her as a client.

 

Just a piece of advice as you grow in this industry....

You will have people wanting you to donate/take a substantial cut by hinting re about all of the exposure and clients you will pick up once they have your menus/service.

Run fast and far.

Most of the guests mentioned will either have their own caterer or will come calling wanting the same "deal" you cut for the first event.

Not worth your time to even entertain the thought.

 

mimi

 

One more thing....take your time and comb thru CT, reading everything (not just related to catering).

This site is a huge repository of good sound business advice.

Not just the financials.... lots of great tips about menus and service as well.

:)

 

m.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have only been in business a few mths and Ive put off starting the business for this very reason but once I started it was done. I want to be successful and I believe that I can. So far the site has been proven to be very helpful.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherresetheChef View Post

I have only been in business a few mths and Ive put off starting the business for this very reason but once I started it was done. I want to be successful and I believe that I can. So far the site has been proven to be very helpful.


 Good luck to you and welcome to Chef Talk!

 

mimi

post #16 of 16

You made the correct decision.  One more comment all events should have a contract signed by all parties.  Study about how much to get down and how changes are made. Good luck!

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