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View Full Version : Pricing on site vs drop off


HBMTN
06-03-2013, 09:43 PM
Just wonder what the price difference you all are charging for a drop off vs on site buffet? Example - Currently I am getting $9.95 for pulled pork and two sides for on site catering and $7.50 for it dropped off.

I am wondering if I should raise my on site pricing. My thought are I am charging $245 for on site and it requires additional labor for me as well as paying for help. Plus I am supplying all plates, flatware, sterno etc and have way more clean up from on site vs drop off. When you break it down I think I am probably doing the on site portion for close to nothing.

I am getting plenty of work both ways but feel like it is time to widen the gap between drop off pricing and on site. Also, if it is less than 100 people (minimum 50 people) I charge a $100 set up fee. Thoughts?

Sauce Dog
06-04-2013, 01:04 AM
I think both of your prices are too low, but if you don't want to change the drop off price I would at least increase the onsite prices. Not sure why you waive the set up fee for larger parties, it's more work. I also hope you're charging something for the additional staff...gratuity, service fee, catering fee, or whatever you want to call it. Otherwise, your staff might be absorbing most of your profits. Keep in mind the time & labor of purchasing, prepping, cooking & packaging…all before the party even starts.

I've tried several types of pricing formats, and now go with an all inclusive price per head, because it works for me. I have different menu packages with add-on availability, and I've simply increased the price by a few bucks to cover everything needed, including a light staff & onsite reheating when possible. I use a smoker trailer, which is great for advertising. My prices are on the higher side (partially b/c of the all inclusive), but I know I put out a great product. Don't sell yourself short...If your BBQ is good, people expect you to charge for it!

Cheers

Sauce Dog
06-04-2013, 01:08 AM
Ok, just re-read your post and noticed the $245 fee, sorry about that. Makes more sense now! You can also try not advertising the drop-off price, but just that it's available. Then you can gauge the situation when you talk with the customer, and price the drop off accordingly.

HBMTN
06-05-2013, 08:51 PM
I am not charging a $245 fee for on site. Basically based on 100 people that is all the more I am grossing and then the costs come out of that. Here in rural Va ya can't get away with much higher prices I started out 3 years ago charging $12.50pp for pulled pork and 2 sides. It was not until I dropped the price that I started getting busy. That is kinda what I am wondering, I ask more for on site but still sell them on the drop off if they think the on site is too much.

Sauce Dog
06-06-2013, 10:59 AM
Wow, that's tough! Sounds like with your current clientele the drop-off is more ideal so you don't spend precious revenue on labor, and it takes less of your time. Can you try marketing your onsite services to the country club crowd? I find that sometimes if you increase the prices, it opens up a new market of people that want the product, but don't want to be seen as "cheap". Same concept as a grocery store charging more for the same product in a "higher end" neighborhood.

HBMTN
06-06-2013, 05:00 PM
Can you try marketing your onsite services to the country club crowd? .

LOL that is who I am feeding, 90% of my business is country club crowd, doctors and college professors. Like I said rural area make a difference.

HBMTN
06-06-2013, 05:20 PM
Can you try marketing your onsite services to the country club crowd? .

LOL that is who I am feeding, 90% of my business is country club crowd, doctors and college professors. Like I said rural area make a difference.

Bamabuzzard
06-07-2013, 10:17 AM
I am not charging a $245 fee for on site. Basically based on 100 people that is all the more I am grossing and then the costs come out of that. Here in rural Va ya can't get away with much higher prices I started out 3 years ago charging $12.50pp for pulled pork and 2 sides. It was not until I dropped the price that I started getting busy. That is kinda what I am wondering, I ask more for on site but still sell them on the drop off if they think the on site is too much.

Yep, ultimately the market will dictate your price. I've known several people who have been so prideful and stubborn that they refused to lower their prices and ultimately went out of business.

acguy
06-09-2013, 07:26 PM
Next to "how much food should I cook", I think "what can/should I charge is the most common question on this board.

I have 30 years of working with P&L's for contractors all over the country and they all ask the question: what should I charge. Rules and formulas are the same.

First, what you CAN charge depends on the market saturation in your service area and, how you brand your product. Biggest mistake here is to sell your product based on price alone. Ideally you want to charge more but get it because your worth it to the customer.

What you SHOULD sell your product for depends on your food costs and overhead costs. O/H should include items like equipment depreciation, vehicle use, etc. We all know the 3 times food cost pricing method. Start with that and work backwards. After some experience, you can determine a "gross profit dollar per hour".

If you understand those figures, you'll find out that the per person charge will change depending on how many your serving in the event. Smaller events might require a fee while larger events don't. You can have more confidence in your pricing and bidding. And, most importantly, you'll leave the low profit stuff for your competition.

Ultimately you want to see what your net is. (normally pre-tax net profit). This number is normally low to start with. After a couple years, it should be at least 10%-12%. If it's less than that, you might want to rethink continuing.

I could write a book or two. This is only some really broad strokes.

kadQ
06-13-2013, 06:23 AM
I'm venturing into the catering business prices are the hardest thing for me to come up with, if I charge what others are charging i'm loosing money. My only resources are going to kroger, wal-mart and sams club and the local butchers all say the same thing when i ask for pork spare ribs cut st.louis style they say what am i talking about. I guess I have to remember that ohio is not a bbq state for now!!!!

I've done three parties so far and have just broke even, made enough to cover expense's but no more......

toadhunter911
06-13-2013, 07:32 AM
I'm venturing into the catering business prices are the hardest thing for me to come up with, if I charge what others are charging i'm loosing money. My only resources are going to kroger, wal-mart and sams club and the local butchers all say the same thing when i ask for pork spare ribs cut st.louis style they say what am i talking about. I guess I have to remember that ohio is not a bbq state for now!!!!

I've done three parties so far and have just broke even, made enough to cover expense's but no more......

You won't stay in business long charging what others charge. Figure out ALL of your cost to produce your product, and start with the cost x 3 method. Ie, if it cost you 2.75 to make a pulled pork sandwich, charge at least $8.25 for that sandwich.

Then, start to figure out how to get better pricing on your supplies. Sam's Club is OK, but try to find restaurant supply stores in your area (like Restaurant Depot). If you're doing this above board and have a business license then getting in will be no problem. Good Luck.

acguy
06-15-2013, 05:35 PM
I guess I have to remember that ohio is not a bbq state for now!!!!

I've done three parties so far and have just broke even, made enough to cover expense's but no more......

Perhaps you're missing an opportunity. Learn to cut your own ribs. It's very simple. Be "THE GUY" for bbq in Ohio.

You mention "the other guys" on pricing. Is it possible you're offering a good rib and the competition is offering a 45 minute piece of leather? How's pricing with brisket or pork? Just a thought.

kadQ
06-19-2013, 06:40 AM
I do cut my own ribs due to the local butchers have no clue what a St.louis cut is. The going price per person for pulled pork, brisket is $11.00 with 2 sides no drink. Then ribs are 14.25-24.00 per person. my cost on spare ribs are 3.99 per pound and same for boston butts.

brisket well lets just say I've bought from snake river but am going to try whole packers from sams club.

bruno994
06-19-2013, 07:51 AM
I do cut my own ribs due to the local butchers have no clue what a St.louis cut is. The going price per person for pulled pork, brisket is $11.00 with 2 sides no drink. Then ribs are 14.25-24.00 per person. my cost on spare ribs are 3.99 per pound and same for boston butts.

brisket well lets just say I've bought from snake river but am going to try whole packers from sams club.
Seems like you really need some price break on the raw product, at $3.99 a pound for spares, that would be tough to get your price right. The same goes for briskets, by all means go with the Sams' Club packers, if you cook your brisket right, the general public wouldn't know the difference between a Prime and a select anyway. Just my .02...

toadhunter911
06-19-2013, 08:43 AM
Seems like you really need some price break on the raw product, at $3.99 a pound for spares, that would be tough to get your price right. The same goes for briskets, by all means go with the Sams' Club packers, if you cook your brisket right, the general public wouldn't know the difference between a Prime and a select anyway. Just my .02...

There's a Restaurant Depot not too far from him in Columbus. Well worth a 20-30 mile drive to get better pricing, IMO. He could get under $2.00 a pound on spares and butts there. I think brisket is around $2.50 a pound.

kadQ
06-19-2013, 04:54 PM
I checked out a flyer from restaurant depot this morning about freaked out over the cost of spare ribs, much cheaper!!!!! Already looking into a business liscense. I would like to go a browse just to see what prices I'm looking at. Spices etc.

kadQ
06-19-2013, 04:57 PM
I looked at an ad from restaurant depot this morning looks like it would be well worth getting a business license to save that kind of money. spare ribs $1.79 a pound thats just a start!!!!!

PorkQPine
06-19-2013, 07:24 PM
You need to figure out what you want to be? The low cost guy on the block offering the cheapest meat and sides in order to make a profit or a higher priced caterer who only uses the best meats and sides? A caterer can not compete with a restaurant that does drop off and make any money at all. You can't be everything to all, pick your market. Get a website, add pictures, lots of content and pages and some special deals as your min.

I have a few packages, the one for chicken includes cole slaw, baked beans and rolls. Min price is $13.95 per person plus 15% gratuity and sales tax with a 50 person min.

Pricing is really something that is driven by the area you are in. I am in an affluent area so my prices work, I'm not the cheapest and not the most expensive. I cook on-site and provide servers to dish the food at a buffet table and I include plates, utensile, napkins and condiments.

I have a friend in an even more affluent area and has been in business longer and his min price is $17.95 per person with 75 people min.

acguy
06-20-2013, 10:49 AM
"I'd rather be hungry than tired and hungry"-anonymous

kadQ
06-20-2013, 06:25 PM
PorkQPine do you mind if I pm you????

LostNation
06-21-2013, 03:41 AM
I list and price my drop offs as Party Packs. In my pricing/menu document it states that each will feed between 25-40 depending on the appetite of the eaters. Each contain 3 pounds slaw (fit perfect in 1/2 pan and that's how I buy it) and around 9 pounds beans (1 #10 can of doctored beans). Customers can group a few together to get a varied menu and feed more.

The cheapest one is $200 and has 8 pounds of pulled pork and 32 buns (buns come in 16 packs). Others include chicken beef and ribs. It's an easy to cook and especially package the food for delivery and is profitable. I sell pork for $11 per pound my cost for slaw $3, beans $6 buns $5. That's less then $100 cost (I know I need to add the slaw and bean juice with a few foil pans) easy profit!

During the week at my stand I usually sell 1-2 and last weekend for graduation weekend I delivered 4 to different parties with 2 of them being double PP'S

kadQ
06-22-2013, 07:52 AM
When you put the expense vs the profit I can see it. Folks have some really good pricing. When it comes to labor I guess making 20.00 an hour is out of the question but need to keep in mind paying the help.

This is my first time going down this road I do have tons of questions about pricing keeping in mind I will not be the cheapest or the most expensive. Have had a couple of people offer to go into a partnership to open a small resturanant/ catering business but I am not even close to thinking about a small restuarant. there motives were not mine (trying to put out the local bbq joint)....

smokeitupbbq
06-26-2013, 06:47 AM
+1...
We start delivered @$12.00 and serviced @$17.00.
PorkQPine is right, find your market, dont sell yourself short. Realize if you create a quality product, many places are now corporate & commercialized & don't smoke on site because you need experienced staff & time / something they cut out when the "economy" wasn't great ..... Only the local guys around us actually smoke in house anymore.
if it helps check out our site.
www.smokeitupbbqkitchen.com
Cheers

You need to figure out what you want to be? The low cost guy on the block offering the cheapest meat and sides in order to make a profit or a higher priced caterer who only uses the best meats and sides? A caterer can not compete with a restaurant that does drop off and make any money at all. You can't be everything to all, pick your market. Get a website, add pictures, lots of content and pages and some special deals as your min.

I have a few packages, the one for chicken includes cole slaw, baked beans and rolls. Min price is $13.95 per person plus 15% gratuity and sales tax with a 50 person min.

Pricing is really something that is driven by the area you are in. I am in an affluent area so my prices work, I'm not the cheapest and not the most expensive. I cook on-site and provide servers to dish the food at a buffet table and I include plates, utensile, napkins and condiments.

I have a friend in an even more affluent area and has been in business longer and his min price is $17.95 per person with 75 people min.

kadQ
06-28-2013, 06:13 AM
I want to provide an excellent product at a fair price. Now do I want to go cheap on the meat I am having a hard time doing that But in the same breath I would be almost double to triple the price of the locals that are doing this. As far as the sides go well it can be done but there is no access to a commercial kitchen so Meat only for me and so far it's worked out. Started the licensing process this week meeting with the local health inspector next week to look my pit over.

I need to focus on the reviews I've recieved so far just put together prices and not worry about the other competition.

chad
06-28-2013, 10:15 AM
I just lost a "job" due to others doing it on the cheap. I was approached to do pulled pork (meat only). As it's a not for profit I am very familiar with and they said to price it so I'd make something (as opposed to donating time and meat) I quoted $3 per person. This way they could determine a rough cost to them closer to the event as the numbers firmed up. That actually comes out to about $9 per pound delivered - pretty reasonable.
I just got notified yesterday they found "someone" to do "full meal" for $4 per person, not including paper products. I'll be interested to see what is served and how much.

Jacked UP BBQ
06-28-2013, 10:16 AM
You cant work for free. I have caterers around me that charge super low prices. Are they busier than me, yes. But I make in one party what they make in three to four. They are not three times busier then me. Price per person should not go up when doing on site or off site. The price per person is paying for food. If you want to charge them for on site, do exactly that. Charge them per employee and whatever else you are going to charge them for, grillman, tents, tables, whatever it might be. I get 35 per hour 4 hour minimum for servers. A grill man for four hours includes the grill is 500. See where I am going with this?

TailGateJoecom
07-02-2013, 11:49 PM
I am not charging a $245 fee for on site. Basically based on 100 people that is all the more I am grossing and then the costs come out of that. Here in rural Va ya can't get away with much higher prices I started out 3 years ago charging $12.50pp for pulled pork and 2 sides. It was not until I dropped the price that I started getting busy. That is kinda what I am wondering, I ask more for on site but still sell them on the drop off if they think the on site is too much.

Hmm, if that is the most you feel you can charge for drop off than I would make that my standard offer and way of doing business, and then if somebody really wants to value added services of on site service then I would make it a pretty decent sized upcharge. Don't make it just a small nominal charge. For a 2.50 upcharge like you have that includes the help you brung, paper products, sternos, setup, and cleanup, there is no way I would not go that route, and in the end you do a few more hours work for very little if any extra gain. Make the upcharge more, the people who really want it will spring for it, and those cheapskates will think they are getting a bargain with just dropping off.

Obviously I don't know your market but fwiw overall your numbers just seem too low to me. I am a big believer in knowing your worth, and letting others know your worth. Whenever I quote anything, I ALWAYS include a prepared paragraph with my story, awards, training, media exposure, as well as what separates me from the crowd. I pretty much say "hay I ain't the cheapest option you will find for your event, BUT....." and I say how we make everything from scratch, source the best products from the top vendors, use top of the line equipment, been doing this how many years, don't use anything premade, its a labor of love and passion, etc. I am letting them know I am worth what I charge, and also putting in their heads in a subtle way why the other quotes she may get may not be as good a deal and why are they so cheap, all without actually talking trash on anyone which I would never do. Also, as professional as possible pics of some of your food, one thing that is pretty much a sure thing, the cheap guy will also have a cheap presentation of himself and his food.

Just some random thoughts fwiw. Good luck!

Cooknhogz
07-12-2013, 02:41 AM
Im just curious to find out what most are profiting when everything is said and done. Most of the events I do are on average 125 to 200 people. When everything is said and done I would say a average profit is 200 to 250 I cook mostly for private partys. Chicken thighs and pulled pork usually are my biggest requests.

HBMTN
07-12-2013, 09:13 PM
Im just curious to find out what most are profiting when everything is said and done. Most of the events I do are on average 125 to 200 people. When everything is said and done I would say a average profit is 200 to 250 I cook mostly for private partys. Chicken thighs and pulled pork usually are my biggest requests.

That is tricky to say profit when done, I mean when taking into consideration cost of doing business, advertising, etc. I may have a weekend where I profit $800 but my business did not make that. I am making money but my business is not and what I mean by that is if the business paid me say $12 per hour wage for every hour I work to manage it then it would be bankrupt. So therefore I need to find a way to make the business turn a profit or else all I have done is created a 2nd job. Make sense?

beer and bbq
07-15-2013, 07:08 AM
I Would have to agree. Think you need to find a different supplier. No price break for buying larger quantities. To pay the same price as the rest of the public. Up here western nyy Boston butts are 1.29# and once in a while you can get whole ribs for under 2 a #.