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Garth57
05-20-2014, 06:28 PM
Been asked to cater a backyard reception (Southern Cal). 150-160 people.
Cocktail/app hour: Bacon wrapped meatballs, sliders, fruit trays.
Buffet Dinner: 2 meats, 3 sides. I set up buffet tables/chaffers, 3 hours serving. They are providing plates utensils, napkins. I have done similar setups for party's but the most I have charged only left me with $400-$500 profit. I am thinking $2,500-$3,000?

SkinEz
05-20-2014, 10:53 PM
You can search on here, and find that most people say that what you have in cost you times that by 3. For example, you have $500 in expenses you times that by three giving you $1500. That is $1 for your expenses, $1 for your supplies, and $1 for you. Is that a perfect breakdown. Probably not. You have to consider how many people you need for help, and their pay. So on and so forth. However, you can aslo break it down per person. By your calculations 150 people at 3500 would be $23 a person. 150 people at $2500 would be almost $17 a person. So without knowing all of your variables (staff mainly) it really depends on how much profit you are looking for.

landarc
05-20-2014, 11:40 PM
Catering for a wedding is totally different from restaurant costs. The x3 factor is for restaurants, and can be used for vending. Catering a wedding reception is a whole nother thing. 3x cost for food, plus labor for servers and setup. Also, factor in any rentals above food costs, regardless of whether it is a pass through, or you mark up.

I would consider $18 to $25 per person. Leaning towards the $22 to $25 range.

early mornin' smokin'
05-21-2014, 08:49 AM
I think 3000 is a good ballpark figure. But let's see if it really is. That's $20 a head for apps, fruit trays, 2 meats, sides, and time.

to make this as simple as possible, lets say a full hotel pan of food serves around 20-30 people, depending on what's in it.
you're going to need around 7-8 trays to get thru apps. And another 6-7 of meat to get thru the people.

a full hotel pan of pulled pork usually comes in at around 10lbs, if it's a standard depth one and not a deep one. That'll serve 30 people. So 6 trays of meat. We bill catering out by the pound. I'd rather not lay out my prices on here, but we'd charge around 180 for the full tray.

You're going to need help, so tack on another $100 for each server. I'd say you'll need 3.

so i'm looking at around 150-160lbs of raw meat. Assuming $3-4lb $600-700
help - $300
Sides, sauces, fruits, veggies $400
miscellaneous buffer $500

so total layout for you should be around 1500-1800 depending on a lot of variables. Personally, i'd be up around $25-30 a head for this type of party.

and don't forget, one mistake, something goes wrong, food gets dropped. You've got the potential to ruin someones big day. Charge enough to make sure if mistakes happen, you can hold yourself accountable and fix whatever went wrong without having to dip too deep into your own pockets.

Chuckwagonbbqco
05-21-2014, 10:47 AM
Maybe I have been doing this too long. Maybe I am stuck in the old days and maybe I live in one of the poorest counties in California----but when any caterer on here mentions price----it seems to be a contest on who can charge the most.

Do not get me wrong---I like to make money too. Food costs are way lower than what is being talked about here. If you are charging per plate ---then know your costs at per plate. My grocery costs for a 2 meat (Beef and Chicken) or (Beef and Pork) meal with salad, beans, vegetable dish, some sort of bread, and dessert are under 7 dollars per plate. Food costs for 160 people adding in paper plates, plasticware and napkins----about 1200 dollars

Charging misc buffer of $500 dollars for serving 160 people? That is over 3 dollars per person for what? If you plan on having a $500 dollar mistake at every catering job----better rethink something.

I see this as an 18 dollar per plate wedding with add ons for appetizers. Maybe that is why some folks get a new truck every year and some get a new truck every 10 years

early mornin' smokin'
05-21-2014, 12:40 PM
160x $18 is 2880 total. For me, with apps, platters of fruits and salads. The amount of time and prep involved, no thanks, i'd pass. I'm just being honest. I'm lucky to be in a nice area, with other caterers that command the same prices as I do. I'm not here to do stuff for free or minimal profits, I gotta keep the lights on.

HBMTN
05-21-2014, 02:42 PM
What are the meats and sides? Are you doing rental china or paper plates? If you are doing all of that with china, silverware and linen rentals you are in the $3000-$4500 range or higher. What does your food, labor and rental costs come to for the event?

Garth57
05-21-2014, 05:42 PM
What are the meats and sides? Are you doing rental china or paper plates? If you are doing all of that with china, silverware and linen rentals you are in the $3000-$4500 range or higher. What does your food, labor and rental costs come to for the event?

They are providing the tables, chairs, plates, utensils. I am doing brisket, smoked turkey breasts, mac/cheese, potato salad, green salad, plus the appetizers listed. Labor is my daughter and SIL (fairly cheap).

bizznessman
05-21-2014, 06:26 PM
Sooooooo......the "labor" is free???? :mrgreen:

Garth57
05-21-2014, 06:30 PM
Sooooooo......the "labor" is free???? :mrgreen:
Couple hundred for 3 hrs and helping me set up. Plus future babysitting.:wacko:

HBMTN
05-21-2014, 07:18 PM
$3200 to $3400 without number crunching but that would be close.

sunrise
05-21-2014, 08:14 PM
I like a cost of around $20.00 to $22.00 for that type of wedding. With help and all. Weddings are not like anything else we cater. Honestly, I dont like them, and they scare the hell out of me, but the $ is good. But everything HAS to be perfect, the last thing you want to do is ruin someones wedding day. A bad experience at a party can be overcome & forgotten, but trust me, the bride will always remember. Make sure to get and use a firm contract also.

landarc
05-21-2014, 08:28 PM
You are doing this with a total of 3 people? For serving and running? For a 5 station buffet, how are you controlling portions? Is it self-serve? Are they handling garbage? Are apps passed or buffet also?

TailGateJoecom
05-22-2014, 01:38 AM
Maybe I have been doing this too long. Maybe I am stuck in the old days and maybe I live in one of the poorest counties in California----but when any caterer on here mentions price----it seems to be a contest on who can charge the most.

Do not get me wrong---I like to make money too. Food costs are way lower than what is being talked about here. If you are charging per plate ---then know your costs at per plate. My grocery costs for a 2 meat (Beef and Chicken) or (Beef and Pork) meal with salad, beans, vegetable dish, some sort of bread, and dessert are under 7 dollars per plate. Food costs for 160 people adding in paper plates, plasticware and napkins----about 1200 dollars

Charging misc buffer of $500 dollars for serving 160 people? That is over 3 dollars per person for what? If you plan on having a $500 dollar mistake at every catering job----better rethink something.

I see this as an 18 dollar per plate wedding with add ons for appetizers. Maybe that is why some folks get a new truck every year and some get a new truck every 10 years

Good for you that you can offer a cheap product and are willing to sell it cheap. But your insinuation that people here are inflating prices is overly simplistic.

Where are your labor costs? Do you have people working for you? Do you pay yourself a salary?

What is your rent or mortgage for your business?

What are your advertising, marketing, and other business expenses a month?

All of the business and health insurance your business purchases?

Utilities to run your business, lease payments for equipment and vehicles to run a catering business?

Also, for all those costs, depending on location another posters costs can be 2-3x or more.

And the cold hard truth which many people might not want to hear, is that maybe my food costs are higher because I use a better quality product. I have no desire to compete on price, I want to make the best, not the cheapest, and I want the customer who wants the best, not the cheapest.

I lived for over a decade in NYC's Little Italy neighborhood, right in the heart on mulberry off canal. I also have family that has retail gift shops on the block and have been on that block for 20+ years. Being there I have seen first hand what happens when businesses want to compete on price and not put out the greatest quality. They have all raced to the bottom price and now they are all shuttering as their reputations have been destroyed and NYers go elsewhere for Italian food.

early mornin' smokin'
05-22-2014, 07:50 AM
Maybe I have been doing this too long. Maybe I am stuck in the old days and maybe I live in one of the poorest counties in California----but when any caterer on here mentions price----it seems to be a contest on who can charge the most.

Do not get me wrong---I like to make money too. Food costs are way lower than what is being talked about here. If you are charging per plate ---then know your costs at per plate. My grocery costs for a 2 meat (Beef and Chicken) or (Beef and Pork) meal with salad, beans, vegetable dish, some sort of bread, and dessert are under 7 dollars per plate. Food costs for 160 people adding in paper plates, plasticware and napkins----about 1200 dollars

Charging misc buffer of $500 dollars for serving 160 people? That is over 3 dollars per person for what? If you plan on having a $500 dollar mistake at every catering job----better rethink something.

I see this as an 18 dollar per plate wedding with add ons for appetizers. Maybe that is why some folks get a new truck every year and some get a new truck every 10 years

Maybe I should explain the miscellaneous buffer a little bit. Sometimes you need to buy more product. I've gotta pay my chef, my cook, my entire staff to get together an order such as this. I've gotta pay my electric, cable, security, paper goods, food purveyors, not to mention rent and taxes, oh yea, and try and make a little return on my investment. I'm not doing this for fun.

HBMTN
05-22-2014, 06:18 PM
I see this as an 18 dollar per plate wedding with add ons for appetizers. Maybe that is why some folks get a new truck every year and some get a new truck every 10 years

By the time you add on appetizers it will bring it in at around $21 per person for a total of $3360.00 right on with what I said - "$3200 to $3400 without number crunching but that would be close." I think this is a fair price.

Chuckwagonbbqco
05-22-2014, 06:51 PM
Tailgatejoe

I offer nothing cheap
I cook prime product. I always cook on site. I make all dishes from scratch including beans. I cook all side dishes in cast iron dutch ovens hanging over a fire. Yes I am "labor intensive."

I have done it for 25 years and have raised a family---I have made a good living but I am not filthy rich. I charge a fair rate for a fair service.

I am not a "High End" caterer---we do outside casual weddings.

landarc
05-22-2014, 07:01 PM
I am just gonna say, with Leonard (ChuckwagonBBQ) you get exactly what his name implies, some great cowboy cooking. At one time, Leonard was a top Chuckwagon cook and he does do a lot for both charity and causes that he believes is.

And that being said, if I was getting married, I might not ask Leonard to cook my wedding, that isn't really his gig, unless I was doing a cowboy wedding, in which case, he is exactly the guy I would hire.

TailGateJoecom
05-22-2014, 09:44 PM
Tailgatejoe

I offer nothing cheap
I cook prime product. I always cook on site. I make all dishes from scratch including beans. I cook all side dishes in cast iron dutch ovens hanging over a fire. Yes I am "labor intensive."

I have done it for 25 years and have raised a family---I have made a good living but I am not filthy rich. I charge a fair rate for a fair service.

I am not a "High End" caterer---we do outside casual weddings.

Obviously I have no idea how your food is, although by your descriptions and Landarc's comments I am sure it is great. My point being, it is hard to take what you may charge, and assume because someone running a different kind of business in another part of the country is charging a few bucks more that it is just about trying to get rich. As a quick example, I live in NYC, where the median studio apartment in Brooklyn, which isn't even Manhattan, is $2,200 a month. That is for a studio, a 1 room apartment where your living room is your dining room is your bedroom. Some people live and work in places that have a significantly higher cost of living and cost of doing business. I just took exception with the whole line of thinking "that's why some people buy a truck every year and some buy one every 10."

Garth57
05-24-2014, 08:45 AM
Thanks everyone for your advise. I did not want to start a battle with this. I do appreciate the input in determining the various items needed to be aware of for coming up with a fair price. Have a great memorial Day weekend! Time to prep some brisket and turkey breasts for Monday.