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View Full Version : Gettin out of the catering business...


JD McGee
12-07-2011, 01:27 PM
After being repeatedly out-bid on several catering gigs Rhana and I decided to throw in the towel...we refuse to do cheap-ass-bbq!
Good luck all!
JD

lcbateman3
12-07-2011, 02:26 PM
I hear you brother. I had a few jobs I quoted and was come back with company XXX can do it for this much. I told them that was great, if you must go with them, go with them. But I can promise the quality will not be there. It is an throat cut market for sure. I'm not in to loose money or break even.

Bbq Bubba
12-07-2011, 02:37 PM
As fast as you cook you should cut your bids in half. :)

WineMaster
12-07-2011, 02:39 PM
As fast as you cook you should cut your bids in half. :)

Sweet :-P

landarc
12-07-2011, 03:10 PM
Story of my life JD, as a person who has to propose for most of his jobs, especially since 2001/2, when a lot of offices left the market, I get underbid constantly and by considerable amounts. I don't really understand how it can be, but, it is truth.

The truth is, a ratio of 10 proposals to one job was always good, I bet it is a lot worse now.

JD McGee
12-07-2011, 03:12 PM
As fast as you cook you should cut your bids in half. :)

They were!!!...that's the problem!
Lol!

Mo-Dave
12-07-2011, 04:44 PM
Well its no consolation but maybe you can take some orders for hams, turkeys, ect. for the holidays.

Had the same problem with landscaping years ago. Spent the better part of my day doing bids that were most often out bid.
Dave

HBMTN
12-07-2011, 04:58 PM
I don't understand why it is that people feel BBQ should be so cheap. There are caterers charging $30-$40 per head in my area for food that taste worse than Cracker Barrell and people keep them booked up but want BBQ for $7 a head. Sorry that it has to be that way JD

Midnight Smoke
12-07-2011, 05:08 PM
I am guessing people will settle for a Rubber Chicken dinner anymore.

big brother smoke
12-07-2011, 05:18 PM
And that's why I have prices on the interweb. I do not negotiate for the most part.
When they call me they have already considered the price!

Bigmista
12-07-2011, 06:19 PM
And that's why I have prices on the interweb. I do not negotiate for the most part.
When they call me they have already considered the price!
Same here. People say what can you do for $6 a person? I say, "Give you a recommendation to Subway."

Bbq Bubba
12-07-2011, 07:06 PM
And that's why I have prices on the interweb. I do not negotiate for the most part.
When they call me they have already considered the price!

and applied for a remortgage of their house. :twisted:

Dave of Pavone Brothers B
12-07-2011, 07:22 PM
That is why I only do Comps

Bbq Bubba
12-07-2011, 07:59 PM
That is why I only do Comps

Can't make any money doing comps. :thumb:

JS-TX
12-08-2011, 11:01 AM
I guess people figure that BBQ is a backyard/informal thing and anybody can do it. These same people are probably used to skanky Q too.. shame.

landarc
12-08-2011, 12:37 PM
The thing I have found is that folks will come to you and ask for a price, then wander off muttering, you sometimes get to talk to them later and they complain about the cut rate job, when you tell them you can't expect great service for what they paid, they admit that they knew that, but, thought since they were paying less, they might get less, but, not that much less. You ask them how they could have thought for $5 a head from a taco truck they thought it would compare to $40 a head from a caterer and they will tell you they think it just isn't that hard.

We have become a culture of people that simply over-value what we do and under-value what others do. I continue to be amazed at all the people that tell me that their time is worth hundreds of dollars an hour to them and then complain that paying me $100 an hour is outrageous just to design a garden.

Mo-Dave
12-08-2011, 01:04 PM
This tread is one of the reasons I ask awhile ago about just renting my rig with the probability of offering myself as cook for hire. Set prices just have to deal with time schedules and no real investment since cooker is payed for and my time, well I can live with that loss if I have to. Also no dickering or at least much less, probably no big last minute changes to deal with or being forced to sneeze a buck, wont make as much but a lot less headache I think.
Dave

Ryan Chester
12-08-2011, 01:35 PM
I don't blame you JD. Even cooking hot and fast is a pain in the ass. Gotta make cheddar to justify it!

bizznessman
12-08-2011, 04:27 PM
The thing I have found is that folks will come to you and ask for a price, then wander off muttering, you sometimes get to talk to them later and they complain about the cut rate job, when you tell them you can't expect great service for what they paid, they admit that they knew that, but, thought since they were paying less, they might get less, but, not that much less. You ask them how they could have thought for $5 a head from a taco truck they thought it would compare to $40 a head from a caterer and they will tell you they think it just isn't that hard.

We have become a culture of people that simply over-value what we do and under-value what others do. I continue to be amazed at all the people that tell me that their time is worth hundreds of dollars an hour to them and then complain that paying me $100 an hour is outrageous just to design a garden.


AMEN BROTHER!!! It has become the American Way. :crazy:

swamprb
12-09-2011, 06:54 AM
After being repeatedly out-bid on several catering gigs Rhana and I decided to throw in the towel...we refuse to do cheap-ass-bbq!
Good luck all!
JD


Selling any equipment?

ThomEmery
12-09-2011, 07:56 AM
Same here. People say what can you do for $6 a person? I say, "Give you a recommendation to Subway."

I tell em " You know Subway has that six foot long sammy"

JD McGee
12-09-2011, 09:49 AM
Selling any equipment?
May have a couple of chaffing dishes...

kurtsara
12-09-2011, 10:05 AM
May have a couple of chaffing dishes...

That is all if you are getting out of business?

landarc
12-09-2011, 10:18 AM
He didn't say that he wasn't going to keep on cleaning house of every trophy he sets his eyes on in the Pacific Northwest BBQ comp circuit.

RangerJ
12-09-2011, 10:46 AM
I recently lost to a chain here in Houston. 50 plates, two meats, two sides.

Feeds 50
25 Pounds choice of 2 meats
4 Gallons of vegetables (excludes corn)
2 Quart of each condiment; Pickles, Peppers, Onions
4 Loaves of bread
BBQ Sauce -$399.95

Knowing who the competition was, I came in under since I'm trying to get my name out there. But it seems my time is not worth much in these deals.

I wonder if they don't factor labor / time since they have these big pits running and all they have to do is take some existing product and box it up?

bizznessman
12-09-2011, 11:24 AM
I recently lost to a chain here in Houston. 50 plates, two meats, two sides.

Feeds 50
25 Pounds choice of 2 meats
4 Gallons of vegetables (excludes corn)
2 Quart of each condiment; Pickles, Peppers, Onions
4 Loaves of bread
BBQ Sauce -$399.95

Knowing who the competition was, I came in under since I'm trying to get my name out there. But it seems my time is not worth much in these deals.

I wonder if they don't factor labor / time since they have these big pits running and all they have to do is take some existing product and box it up?

You hit the proverbial nail on the head. Since they work with large volume their labor/overhead is minimal compared to ours. Have talked with a chain in our area and they stated that these types of gigs are mostly meant to "keep their staff busy" and not always necessary or expected to be cash flow gigs since their main biz supplies their real profit. They can afford low to little profit on catered gigs because they are subsidized by their store front.

My main "beef" with them is the poor quality of the product/service. But, the customer seems to be satisfied with low quality/service as long as they can get the product for as "CHEAP" a price as they can. :roll:

BigFatDaddys
12-20-2011, 03:54 PM
Oh no, from Brethern Brother to Brother hang in there!

We see this all the time too and believe me it still happens to us even after all the fame MONEY TALKS. We were outbid on one of our big jobs because they wanted a full on all you can eat buffet with drinks, pork, meats and appetizers (wings/shrimp) for three hours all you can eat for seven bucks a head. I'm sorry but where can you go for that and eat three hours for seven bucks? Can't get a super sized meal deal for that.

Last year each person probably ate two full plates plus appetizers and sodas. We didn't mind so much losing the gig because it would have COST US money to go there. With those chowhounds the new caterer will be out of business and they'll be begging for us back next year ha ha

What this means is chin up and don't succumb to selling a cheap and crappier cut of beef. STAY STRONG. You won't lose all the jobs, just some of them. Explain about your quality, service, and taste and how you use HIGH QUALITY PRODUCT. You will still score some of the jobs and those are teh ones you you will get year to year.

BigBellyBBQ
12-21-2011, 05:51 PM
too bad you threw in the towel, buit we all have to hold our prices if you make good bbq, they will be back...once you cut your prices you are out of biz any way....if you get to quote again, show up with some real food of your own, this seals it for me...I went to a tail gate party Sunday and they had pull pork that everyone was raving about...so i tried and that was it...TERrrrRRIBLE!!! Found out it was from a chain and heated up on site in crock pot...they only paid 399 a pound.....was not worth free in my book....I have to get 9 to 10 dollars a pound..brisket 12 a pound...
but hold your ground...

JD McGee
12-21-2011, 07:29 PM
That is all if you are getting out of business?

We never invested in much equipment other than what we use for competitions...most of our customers were drop offs with the exception of a few businesses and even then we cooked on-site and used their tables etc.

He didn't say that he wasn't going to keep on cleaning house of every trophy he sets his eyes on in the Pacific Northwest BBQ comp circuit.

:-P

Oh no, from Brethern Brother to Brother hang in there!

We see this all the time too and believe me it still happens to us even after all the fame MONEY TALKS. We were outbid on one of our big jobs because they wanted a full on all you can eat buffet with drinks, pork, meats and appetizers (wings/shrimp) for three hours all you can eat for seven bucks a head. I'm sorry but where can you go for that and eat three hours for seven bucks? Can't get a super sized meal deal for that.

Last year each person probably ate two full plates plus appetizers and sodas. We didn't mind so much losing the gig because it would have COST US money to go there. With those chowhounds the new caterer will be out of business and they'll be begging for us back next year ha ha

What this means is chin up and don't succumb to selling a cheap and crappier cut of beef. STAY STRONG. You won't lose all the jobs, just some of them. Explain about your quality, service, and taste and how you use HIGH QUALITY PRODUCT. You will still score some of the jobs and those are the ones you you will get year to year.

Thanks for the words of encouragement but we're done! :hand: We will still cook for our "regulars", co-workers, family, and friends...but are out of the bidding wars! :-P

Shiz-Nit
12-25-2011, 11:24 PM
I feel yae right know

OL' Timer
12-26-2011, 08:01 PM
Sorry for the problems. I found in the 15 months I have been vending and catering that the price is the same for both and the people of my community know what they are getting for what they pay for. I did 22 Christmas parties in the last 10 days and not one person complained about the price. Every person that buys from my vending trailer gets a menu when they purchase, so they know what the cost will be for the catering . It seems to work real well.