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Marsha
09-14-2008, 09:30 PM
We catered a wedding reception for 150 people at the Hahn Estates Winery, near Soledad, CA on Saturday. It was a buffet service, but the guests tables and appetizer table, were down some stairs below the deck where we served. That was a PITA for plate cleanup, but at least we got a lot of exercise. :wink:
Thank goodness everyone raved about the food!

Appetizers:
Grilled, Prosciutto-wrapped Asparagus
Grilled Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Flaked, Smoked Salmon
Cracker Tray
Cheese Tray
Steve's Fresh Salsa, Hot and Garlic-Artichoke, with chips

Dinner:
Smoked Tri-Tip Beef
BBQ Chicken
Sliced, Grilled Vegetables
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Spring Green Salad
Fresh Fruit Kebobs
Toasted Garlic Bread

I think the appetizer table turned out the best.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v305/Twisted1414/perez-carpenter-wedding/prosciutto-asparagus1.jpg

Here are some more photos
http://perezcarpenterwedding09132008.shutterfly.com/

Marsha
09-14-2008, 09:34 PM
I have a question for those of you who do catering. Do you add the gratuity to the invoice? Most people will add a gratuity when they write the final check, and some do not. Should we go ahead include it on the bill, much like a restaurant does when you have a large group?

BBQ Grail
09-14-2008, 09:45 PM
Marsha,

I don't need to worry about the gratuity part yet, but as a consumer, let me tell you how I feel about "added" on tips. If you add any amount to my bill as an automatic tip then that is all I'm going to tip. Nothing else. If you let me add it on based on how well I like the service, then chances are you are going to do better than whatever it was you were going to add.

That being said, I know there is risk there for you and your staff. I think you have to feel the customer out when it comes to this. If you think they are going to stiff your staff, then add it on. If you think they might be more generous, then risk it.

Now I have a question for you. When it comes to the gratuity? Is this for just your staff or for you and your staff. I've never considered "me" getting a tip.

EDITED ADD ON:

The food looks really good. How long did it take you to wrap all the asparagus? Great job...

Marsha
09-14-2008, 09:49 PM
I always share the gratuity with my staff. They work their bums off for me and I feel they need to be rewarded for that. We always request the final check the morning of the event, before we finish cooking and serve. The client won't necessarily know how things will go at this point. For this particular couple they were very nice to work with, they called us at the last minute because their original caterer flaked on them. So, we bent over backwards to make it all work out for them with as little fuss and stress as possible. I don't like the idea of adding the gratuity on the bill, but my staff really deserved it for this one since they had to run up and down the stairs so many times.

BBQ Grail
09-14-2008, 09:51 PM
I always share the gratuity with my staff. They work their bums off for me and I feel they need to be rewarded for that. We always request the final check the morning of the event, before we finish cooking and serve. The client won't necessarily know how things will go at this point. For this particular couple they were very nice to work with, they called us at the last minute because their original caterer flaked on them. So, we bent over backwards to make it all work out for them with as little fuss and stress as possible. I don't like the idea of adding the gratuity on the bill, but my staff really deserved it for this one since they had to run up and down the stairs so many times.

Thanks Marsha. Someday I hope to be able to get and do gigs like you do.

Under those conditions I don't know what option you have, but to add it on.

Marsha
09-14-2008, 10:54 PM
Marsha,


EDITED ADD ON:

The food looks really good. How long did it take you to wrap all the asparagus? Great job...

It took two of us about 35-45 minutes. It's a bit time consuming, but they are sooo good. We rinsed the asparagus and then let it drain for a couple hours so it wasn't too wet. Moisture will turn the prosciutto into goop if it sits pre-wrapped for too long. We found that out the hard way with some prosciutto-wrapped melon that Steve wrapped too early. Doh!

We cut the prosciutto slice in half length wise, wrap it around the asparagus spear. Then place it on the grill, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder or seasong and pepper. Cook until tender, but stil a bit crunchy. We discovered not to put garlic salt on them because the prosciutto is already fairly salty.

Marsha
09-14-2008, 10:55 PM
Thanks Marsha. Someday I hope to be able to get and do gigs like you do.

Under those conditions I don't know what option you have, but to add it on.


Thanks! It is very hard work, but in the long run very satisfying. Plus, you usually make more money catering than vending.

Plowboy
09-14-2008, 11:01 PM
I have a question for those of you who do catering. Do you add the gratuity to the invoice? Most people will add a gratuity when they write the final check, and some do not. Should we go ahead include it on the bill, much like a restaurant does when you have a large group?

Never... and I've never seen it added. Never even heard of it.

Marsha
09-14-2008, 11:17 PM
Never... and I've never seen it added. Never even heard of it.

I never thought of it until a couple months ago when a client asked if I would add it to the bill. :confused:

Bbq Bubba
09-14-2008, 11:28 PM
Absolutely beautiful table scapes!! (can't believe i said that)

If you don't mind, are the greens real or reusable?
Did you supply the linens for table and decoration or did the winery have that?
Great thread, have already picked up a few great tips (no pun intended) :cool:

Marsha
09-15-2008, 12:01 AM
Absolutely beautiful table scapes!! (can't believe i said that)

If you don't mind, are the greens real or reusable?
Did you supply the linens for table and decoration or did the winery have that?
Great thread, have already picked up a few great tips (no pun intended) :cool:


LOL, I understand. "Tablescape" and BBQ aren't often used together.

The greens are real, I used fern leaves, the florist calls them "leather leaf". The bride and groom rented the tables and linens. I did bring a few extra linen napkins of my own to line the chip baskets and the bread basket, tie on the lid handles of the chafing dishes before we removed the lids for serving.

barbefunkoramaque
09-15-2008, 12:27 AM
Marsha,

I don't need to worry about the gratuity part yet, but as a consumer, let me tell you how I feel about "added" on tips. If you add any amount to my bill as an automatic tip then that is all I'm going to tip. Nothing else. If you let me add it on based on how well I like the service, then chances are you are going to do better than whatever it was you were going to add.

That being said, I know there is risk there for you and your staff. I think you have to feel the customer out when it comes to this. If you think they are going to stiff your staff, then add it on. If you think they might be more generous, then risk it.

Now I have a question for you. When it comes to the gratuity? Is this for just your staff or for you and your staff. I've never considered "me" getting a tip.

EDITED ADD ON:

The food looks really good. How long did it take you to wrap all the asparagus? Great job...

you ever think that most people are not as generous as you are? this is meant as a compliment by the way.
:icon_shock1:

SoEzzy
09-15-2008, 11:02 AM
There is an ever ongoing fight between those who mark gratuity on the bill.

If you call it a service charge and standardize it it a logical fashion then I'll pay it, but if ou call it a mandatory gratuity, you have missed the meaning of the word gratuity IMO, gratuity means "freely given" and if you included it in the bill as mandatory, then it's not "freely given". A circular argument ensues after this point!

If you have to constantly charge a mandatory gratuity, in order to cover your costs, then you're not charging enough in the first place.

I don't at this time cater, but I have in the past and I will in the future, as a client I'd prefer to pay an honest bill and then be allowed to add a gratuity of my choice, that is after all the meaning of gratuity. If there is need for a set up or tear down fee, or an additional transport fee because of the distance I made you travel, I'm happy to pay it all as long as it was part of the agreed quote and the work I contracted for.

But I won't use a caterer that can't discriminate between forced and free, that's just the way I am.

Just my 2 cents!

Bigmista
09-15-2008, 11:47 AM
Beautiful table Marsha!!

We just changed our contracts and took gratuity off. WE now use the all inclusive term "service charge". That includes all of the little things that we get asked to do that weren't in the original job description of the servers.

And we request the final check 1 week before the event so we don't have to hunt down anyone to get paid after the event. All we have to do is clean up and get out.

jbrink01
09-15-2008, 04:42 PM
I have a question for those of you who do catering. Do you add the gratuity to the invoice? Most people will add a gratuity when they write the final check, and some do not. Should we go ahead include it on the bill, much like a restaurant does when you have a large group?

We never add a gratuity to an invoice. If we earn it, great! Our largest tip to date has been $1,000 on a $5,000 bill. There were 5 of us working that night, so it got split 6 ways (1 share each, and 1 back to the business - which we put in our kids college fund).

jbrink01
09-15-2008, 04:45 PM
PS - We get a gratuity maybe once every 10 jobs. Not all that common in the midwest. If we get asked to do extra's, our contract has a per hour, or any part thereof, price.

Norcoredneck
09-15-2008, 05:06 PM
Just gotta say set up looks great.

big brother smoke
09-15-2008, 05:58 PM
Nice set-up Marsha! Yes, I include gratuity, tip, service charge in the balance (not going there with the semantics). I still have a headache on this topic from another forum I used to participate.

Your area dictates if you should add it or not! If you do not add it, you will not get it most of the time. If you add it, you will get it most of the time. YMMV

Marsha
09-15-2008, 06:58 PM
Beautiful table Marsha!!

We just changed our contracts and took gratuity off. WE now use the all inclusive term "service charge". That includes all of the little things that we get asked to do that weren't in the original job description of the servers.

And we request the final check 1 week before the event so we don't have to hunt down anyone to get paid after the event. All we have to do is clean up and get out.

Thanks! My tables get better all the time. I try to make it look nice, but not overly froo-froo, if that makes sense.

I am going to change our contract. We now ask for the final check the evening before or morning of the event. I think I will follow your lead and ask for it the week before.

Marsha
09-15-2008, 07:00 PM
Just gotta say set up looks great.


Thank you. The decorating is my favorite part of the day. It's hard sometimes when you are not 100% sure how they will have everything decorated if you are not involved in that end of things. I am learning to ask a lot more questions in advance.

Marsha
09-15-2008, 07:04 PM
There is an ever ongoing fight between those who mark gratuity on the bill.

If you call it a service charge and standardize it it a logical fashion then I'll pay it, but if ou call it a mandatory gratuity, you have missed the meaning of the word gratuity IMO, gratuity means "freely given" and if you included it in the bill as mandatory, then it's not "freely given". A circular argument ensues after this point!

If you have to constantly charge a mandatory gratuity, in order to cover your costs, then you're not charging enough in the first place.

I don't at this time cater, but I have in the past and I will in the future, as a client I'd prefer to pay an honest bill and then be allowed to add a gratuity of my choice, that is after all the meaning of gratuity. If there is need for a set up or tear down fee, or an additional transport fee because of the distance I made you travel, I'm happy to pay it all as long as it was part of the agreed quote and the work I contracted for.

But I won't use a caterer that can't discriminate between forced and free, that's just the way I am.

Just my 2 cents!

We never add a gratuity to an invoice. If we earn it, great! Our largest tip to date has been $1,000 on a $5,000 bill. There were 5 of us working that night, so it got split 6 ways (1 share each, and 1 back to the business - which we put in our kids college fund).

PS - We get a gratuity maybe once every 10 jobs. Not all that common in the midwest. If we get asked to do extra's, our contract has a per hour, or any part thereof, price.

I am still on the fence on this issue. One client asks us to add it to the bill and others just ignore it. Then there was one couple that was really on a tight budget and gave us a great tip. Maybe, again, I should start asking a lot more questions up front. The first couple catering jobs we did we didn't figure in the tax. I guess I have a steep learning curb on this stuff. :wink:

smokinit
09-15-2008, 07:17 PM
PS - We get a gratuity maybe once every 10 jobs. Not all that common in the midwest. If we get asked to do extra's, our contract has a per hour, or any part thereof, price.


Same here it's kind of hard to ask for a tip before you even do the job. I get half up front and full payment ten days prior.

jbrink01
09-15-2008, 07:37 PM
Same here it's kind of hard to ask for a tip before you even do the job. I get half up front and full payment ten days prior.

We get 1/2 up front and half on arrival.

big brother smoke
09-15-2008, 09:11 PM
$300 booking charge; balance a week before the event.

afreemaniii
09-16-2008, 01:16 PM
I don't currently do catering, but am keeping an eye on these discussions because I am getting more and more people asking me about cooking for them.

I guess I understand the miscellaneous service charge to cover for various tasks that pop up and aren't spelled out in the contract like Mista mentioned, but wouldn't you simply price your job at a rate that makes you some decent money and any gratuity would just be icing on the cake? I wouldn't think a "tip" would be spelled out in any way on the contract with the client.

Marsha
09-16-2008, 06:58 PM
I don't currently do catering, but am keeping an eye on these discussions because I am getting more and more people asking me about cooking for them.

I guess I understand the miscellaneous service charge to cover for various tasks that pop up and aren't spelled out in the contract like Mista mentioned, but wouldn't you simply price your job at a rate that makes you some decent money and any gratuity would just be icing on the cake? I wouldn't think a "tip" would be spelled out in any way on the contract with the client.

Well for this event they asked us to pick up all the glassware from the tables down a flight of stairs below the deck. That part wasn't in the contract. I didn't want to say "No, you didn't pay for that, just for us to pick up the china at the end of the meal!" Glassware was still being used a couple hours after dinner service was complete. My staff wanted to go home.