or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Payment Issues

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

So I've officially been in business a little over a year.  One of my first signed contracts has their wedding coming up next weekend.  Their final payment was due this past Saturday, however they've only paid half of the final payment.  We're a small operation.  The final payment is needed to get their food and china.  We sent a "hey where's the rest of the money" email this morning.  Should we establish a deadline, or what?  Any advice on how to handle this, as I'm sure it will happen again, would be great.

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 22
You're too late.

Most catering co.s work like this:

10-25% upon booking
25-50% 5-7 days prior to the date
25-40% on the day of the event BEFORE food is served

I guess by now you can figure out why......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

I think you misunderstood my dilema.  I've already been paid 25% on booking.50% 60 days prior to the event and the final 25% was due a week before the event.  In other words, we're usually paid in full before the day of the event.  So what we don't have is the final 25%, but the event isn't until next week.

post #4 of 22

@dlyles ,

Shouldn't be a problem. If the total payment was due last Saturday, make contact  again ASAP and inform them that you must stick to your contract.

Tell them you'll agree not to charge for late payment if funds are received today before 5pm.  Also inform them that due to the past due funding you will only be able to accept cash.

I would also tell them you have communication waiting to go registered mail to inform them that a late payment would constitute a release of all liabilities on your part. That will be mailed at 6 pm.

  This way, should your function not happen, you can deduct any and all monies spent and they can wait on receiving the difference just like your doing now.

  Your experiencing what I call the worst part of owning any business, " Chasing Money" hate it !

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

@panini

Thanks for the advice.  I sent an email this morning and will call them this evening . I didn't think about charging a late fee, but definitely will set a day (say Tuesday) for a late fee charge.  I'm ok with cc payment, but that was useful going forward as far as cash payments.  Yes, I hate chasing the money.  Their good people and I hate these disputes, but we're in business to make money, not friends.  Again, thanks for the great advice.

post #6 of 22

I would bet someone told them they're stupid for paying the whole amount before the function. I know I would't pay the full amount. If I'm not happy with the caterer I want the ball in my court. Don't send e-mail find out what the real problem is about. Call them!

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input.  Understandable about not paying full in advance.  However that's our standard policy and they did sign a contract with stated due dates.  Already sent an email, but will follow up with a call.  I would like to give them the opp. to respond.

post #8 of 22

My response was taking for granted they were not paying. My thought is that thy just refused to respond.

In 20 yrs. had only had one bounced check and that was a mistake. We always give the benefit of the doubt unless there is no gray area. Wedding are crazy. People drop the ball all the time.

  Also not sure where the confidence factor comes in with CC.  If I had something questionable going on, I think I'd take a check over CC. At least I can get immediate funds that can't be retracted.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefBillyB View Post
 

I would bet someone told them they're stupid for paying the whole amount before the function. I know I would't pay the full amount. If I'm not happy with the caterer I want the ball in my court. Don't send e-mail find out what the real problem is about. Call them!


Hmmm...  How do I explain it?

 

By the time the caterer shows up 3 hrs prior to the event, the deal is done.  Product bought and processed, large chunk of labour invested already, more labour involved in packing and site inspection, waiters and bartenders hired and sitting in the van ready to unload. Rentals contracted and paid for.   It's done before the event has even started.  You aren't buying a flatscreen TV or a fridge here that can be taken back by the re-po man should things go south.

 

Does that explain it?

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post
 


Hmmm...  How do I explain it?

 

By the time the caterer shows up 3 hrs prior to the event, the deal is done.  Product bought and processed, large chunk of labour invested already, more labour involved in packing and site inspection, waiters and bartenders hired and sitting in the van ready to unload. Rentals contracted and paid for.   It's done before the event has even started.  You aren't buying a flatscreen TV or a fridge here that can be taken back by the re-po man should things go south.

 

Does that explain it?


OMG! How could I be so dam stupid! To think all this work is done, waiters waiting, food ready, tables rented. Then the buffet line slides down the hill into the water. No one is able to eat. Case closed my a-s.......I would never pay a caterer 100% of the money before they delivered what was contracted. I have catered for over 30 years and have never had 100% of the money in my pocket before the event. How do you explain that ????? 

post #11 of 22
Well, I only did it for 10. 'Last weddong we did, m.o.b. (mother of bide) kept lowballing us. Didn't want appies, fine. Didn't want a bar, fine. Sign here please. Our policy was 25 down, then 50 14 days prior, and the last 25 BEFORE the event starts.

Dinner was at 6 at 2 m. o. b. gets the security guard to call us, telling us we`re an hour late. Get there at 4 and mob has a "welcoming party" for us. She`s screaming about her appies, her guests are hungry, and cousin Joe over here is a lawyer, we want compensation. NOW! I look at cuzzin Joe, and ask him if he`s looked at the catering contract. He dissapears. I tell f.o.b. to look at the contract, write us a cheque for the amount owing, or the vans turn around and you`re on your own. Screaming ensues between fob and mob, mob dissapears, fob cuts us a cheque, the waiters start unloading Quietest event I ever did.

We stopped doing weddings after that......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefBillyB View Post

 

I have catered for over 30 years and have never had 100% of the money in my pocket before the event. How do you explain that ????? 

 

Different people have different methods and policies for running their businesses. As to the client in the OP, they agreed to the terms as set forth without anybody holding a gun to the heads.

 

I was primarily a restaurateur, who offered catering services as well. On a nightly basis, I dealt with a dining room full of clients who ate dinner before paying, so I pretty much did the same when it came to catering. I got earnest money up front, but the final bill was due upon completion. I was even known to wait a few days after completion to approach clients about settling up because that way I didn't interrupt or intrude on the festivities.

 

I am either a too trusting fool or a thoughtful savvy businessman, depending upon who you talk to. I just know that I never got stiffed or had a problem. I also know that my waiting a few days policy blew people away and it created tons of good will word of mouth advertising leading to increased revenues. I am either a too trusting fool or a thoughtful savvy businessman, depending upon who you talk to.

 

If I fly to Hawaii, I have to pay 100% up front. Go figure!

 

Different people have different methods and policies for running their businesses. Nobody holds a gun to my head and I decide what I deem acceptable and what businesses I wish to patronize and which ones I don't wish to patronize. Darwinism alive and well in the capitalist society.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
post #13 of 22

For the last 20 yrs. I've sat on the board of a local foundation supporting an orphan disease. I have probably booked, start to finish, 120+ catered functions. Whether it be a local venue, hotel, etc. funds and count were required before the function. We always had a card on file for higher count, bar, etc.

This could be just our area.

I always viewed this as a sort of security policy for both sides.

just sayin 

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #14 of 22

You received 75% by six weeks prior  to the event if I read your posts correctly. I would suggest that in the future you set aside the funds for that event to be spent for that event.  Then take your profit from that final payment.  That way you will have the  operating funds you need.

post #15 of 22

I hired a brick layer last month 50% down the rest when the job is done. Do all the caterer's here pay for their haircut in advance. If I am contracting a service I would never give 100% payment until the service was completed. When I worked with my clients I shook their hand in the beginning and at the end of the function. I met with them at the end of the function so I could find out if it met their satisfaction. I didn't do many weddings because they are a PITA. When I booked a party I told my client I would take care of everything that was contracted. I don't want to relive this everyday and have changes. When I leave them, all logistics are figured out and the menu is complete. When the client is able to constantly get involved in the logistics there is a greater chance of the function being screwed up. I never let the client get so involved as to make me their scapegoat. 

 

Chefflayne: If I fly to Hawaii, I have to pay 100% up front. Go figure!......The only reason you have to buy the ticket upfront is because if the service isn't complete you won't be around for final payment.

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the replies. They did pay the balance without further follow up. They just needed to use two cards and make two payments. U read all the opinions on payment in advance. We all have different methods but the bottom line is they signed the contract. Even if they disagreed about paying up front they signed to that affect. Either way problem resolved and I will use these comments going forward.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefBillyB View Post
 

Chefflayne: If I fly to Hawaii, I have to pay 100% up front. Go figure!......The only reason you have to buy the ticket upfront is because if the service isn't complete you won't be around for final payment.

 

:lol:   :crazy:   :thumb: Absolutely hilarious! LOL! Being the eternal optimist that I am, I never considered that simple business fact. Many times the obvious plumb evades me :o  Thanks for the chuckle at myself to start my day.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlyles View Post

 the bottom line is they signed the contract. Even if they disagreed about paying up front they signed to that affect.

 

This basically is the core truth. Everything else is pretty much moot after that. Glad it worked out for you. Hopefully no feathers were ruffled in the process. Chasing money is never pleasant but it sure can be educational.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
post #19 of 22

I just want to explain my statement on there is risk and security on both sides. Say I'm having a fund raising event. I have 300 guests coming. I'm projecting 250.k in donations. I have paid 50% up front.

Just before the event start: The food, servers, valet, etc. are a no-show.

So now guests are waiting in cars with no valet and chose to bag the event because of the chaos.

If I have paid 100% for services rendered, I now have an actionable claim to include collateral losses.

If I have 50% down, " Judge Judy would say, you get your 50% back and nothing for the rest because you haven't paid for it. Guess who paying back 10,000.00 sponsored tables?

 Who takes the greater loss, as someone mentioned, if the food slides into the river.


Edited by panini - 9/19/16 at 7:10am
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #20 of 22
We always get full payment up front, and especially so for wedding receptions.
It's highly likely that the client will tell you that they don't have their CC with them on the day (they're in their wedding dress etc) and they will settle up in a couple of days.
Except that then you can't reach them because they're off on their honeymoon.
A month later and you finally get hold of them and then the fun starts.
"Oh, but my third cousin had the beef but really wanted the chicken, and you served the wedding cake in three inch slices when we wanted them in four. And it was a hot day and you failed to call God and get him to fix it. And we were both so drunk that we didn't have sex that night, so I'm not paying."
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cronker View Post

We always get full payment up front, and especially so for wedding receptions.
It's highly likely that the client will tell you that they don't have their CC with them on the day (they're in their wedding dress etc) and they will settle up in a couple of days.
Except that then you can't reach them because they're off on their honeymoon.
A month later and you finally get hold of them and then the fun starts.
"Oh, but my third cousin had the beef but really wanted the chicken, and you served the wedding cake in three inch slices when we wanted them in four. And it was a hot day and you failed to call God and get him to fix it. And we were both so drunk that we didn't have sex that night, so I'm not paying."


Sure you're exaggerating....but not by much.

Weddings are, IMO, the single most unpredictable events in the catering field.

I know of no other type of event where the emotions are so high, have so many fingers in

the pie, and the buck gets passed as much as in the celebration of matrimony. Or is that matri-MONEY?  :rolleyes:

I have actually passed on a wedding or two, simply because my spider sense was tingling early on

that the clients were gonna be....problematical......and that's months BEFORE the event.

So I agree, on a wedding, give them the full, indisputable, iron clad, encased-in-Carbonite, contract.

Preferably notarized by the almighty hisself. Cuz it doesn't take much, even if it has nothing to do with you,

to get accused of "ruining our special day!" Caterers historically make great appetizers.....and fall guys.

Now, regarding other types of events, Id say its a judgment call, but I haven't had problems with most.

Still, having that pay in advance in writing isn't a bad idea, IMO, and it keeps control of things with

someone you trust--yourself.

 

Quote:
The only reason you have to buy the ticket upfront is because if the service isn't complete you won't be around for final payment.

Hmm...I could start providing that reason to clients....but I guess that might not generate many good referrals, eh? :p

 

OHH-popping back in to note one more thing about weddings......

IME, the hiring party(s) are rarely dissatisfied during and right after the wedding--emotions are usually positive, and moods

still expansive (Most grumbling (translation==small claims suit) occurs in the days or weeks following. )

So this is a very good time to issue the bride and groom, and anyone else directly involved with paying you, a "feedback card",

simple questions about the satisfaction and completion of service. To be handed to, and signed by the responsible party.

Just a nice "tool" to have in your defense kit, should they decide to look back at the money they spent for you in a ....

less than positive light. :look: 

 

 

.


Edited by Meezenplaz - 9/19/16 at 9:17pm
post #22 of 22

I think that weddings are a tradition, and everyone spends a long time on how they perceive it should be. Many times when we sit for a consultation with a bride and groom and the parents from each side we encounter six different opinions of how the function should be. Many times there are such conflicting ideas it becomes a pissing match. The one funding the function usually has the notion that things should be done their way.

  One holiday, I bought a referees shirt for my wife. That's how convoluted a consultation can become. It's an anomaly for mother in laws to agree on something. It sometimes takes an act of congress to get the group to understand that the bride and groom are agreeing on everything discussed just out of respect for their parents. When in fact, both of then have previously expressed that they would prefer something different.

 It like selling something to a group where every member is from a different country and background.

So the usual result is that at least half of the clients who had opposing opinions will be dissatisfied with the event. Whether is was great or not. Hence, monies up front.

We really strive not to profile with clients. There has been a few occasions where my wife has met with an engaged couples, witnessed such bickering and non compliance, sometime with disrespect, that she will walk them. You could bet a weeks pay the marriage wouldn't last a month or even happen.

  Wedding clients are an unusual bunch.

This concept of millennials not wanting big weddings will be a negative for my business but I completely understand.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Catering