"If you want to determine how much you should charge your client, the simplest way (but not always the best way due to obvious complications) would be to find your total food cost based on those numbers and times that by 3 to set a price.
I'm sure if you do search for Pete's posts, as was advised, you will find many more eloquently and more detailed answers,
as Pete's posts were basically some of the best education I have received on the subject. That's the simplest way to answer
OP's question though. "
Umm....not to put too fine a point on it but PeteM was not in the times-3 camp as I recall and in fact thought it a
good way to go broke. He believed, as I and several great chefs/caterers in here do also, that the only effective way to price an
event is to list out all your costs, starting with food costs, then adding in your fixed expenses, variable expenses such
as rentals, disposable ware, mileage etc, then your labor help, your own labor and finally your desired (for the business)
profit. (usually a percentage) You then divide by the number of people to get price per person, if you are presenting it that way.
The problem with ball-parking, times 3 and other thumbnail methods, is that food costs can vary widely-- for example if you
are serving some expensive cuts, multiplying by a factor can put your price too high. But it can also end up too low, depending on....
your other expenses.
Having to rent a bunch of stuff for instance, will put your variable costs much higher than normal, in which case multiplying by 2.5
or 3 may not even cover your actual expenses, let alone any profit. In other words, it would lose you money.
Conversely, if you're serving hot dogs and potato salad for 4 hours, at dinner time, the event is 45 miles away and you're providing
all disposable paper and utensils, I can almost guarantee if you multiply food cost times 3 you're gonna paint yourself into a red corner.
The bottom line is that what your food is costing has no direct relation on any other aspects of delivering the event.
It wouldn't be unlike saying that to estimate your food costs, simply multiply your labor times 4, or sommat.
Just doesn't make sense, as they have little to nothing to do with each other.