PDA

View Full Version : Allright all you other caterers......


jbrink01
12-31-2008, 05:33 PM
I just received my invitation to bid an event we lost last year. 600 people, and it went for $12.00 a head last year (we lost the bid, as we incorrectly assumed steak was requested and it was not, it was just an option). Anyway, for 2 meats, 2 veggies, starch and tea we are coming up about 5% high based on our pricing spreadsheet compared to the winning bid last year.

I want this work but don't want to leave money on the table. At $12, we would clear about $2000 for the evening. Discuss.......

Bbq Bubba
12-31-2008, 05:39 PM
Need some more info......

What 2 meats?
Cooking on-site?
serving?

Thats a pretty darn good price for that menu, especially for the larger group, but VERY doable!

jbrink01
12-31-2008, 05:42 PM
It's a choice of meats. I would offer pork loin, eye of round, chicken cacciatore, and sausage and peppers. Standard veggies and starch. 2 buffet lines, acrylic disposable plates. I'm ok at $12, and I'll kick me own arse if I lose it at $11.75. How would you price it? It includes tea, coffee and rolls.

C Rocke
12-31-2008, 05:58 PM
I just received my invitation to bid an event we lost last year. 600 people, and it went for $12.00 a head last year (we lost the bid, as we incorrectly assumed steak was requested and it was not, it was just an option). Anyway, for 2 meats, 2 veggies, starch and tea we are coming up about 5% high based on our pricing spreadsheet compared to the winning bid last year.

I want this work but don't want to leave money on the table. At $12, we would clear about $2000 for the evening. Discuss.......

If the person who got this last year was so good for the price, why are they just not having them come back? "Bid" (For me anyway) is code for a way to grind the existing supplier. Realize the economy is slow, but there is room for value, as opposed to price - IMHO.

jbrink01
12-31-2008, 06:48 PM
If the person who got this last year was so good for the price, why are they just not having them come back? "Bid" (For me anyway) is code for a way to grind the existing supplier. Realize the economy is slow, but there is room for value, as opposed to price - IMHO.

I make a living selling the most expensive material handling equipment available - I understand value over price selling. This organization issues request for bid for every event.

C Rocke
12-31-2008, 06:52 PM
I make a living selling the most expensive material handling equipment available - I understand value over price selling. This organization issues request for bid for every event.

I'm stymied - You'll come up with a good solution for them. $2k for the evening is still 2k.

jbrink01
12-31-2008, 07:08 PM
Thats what i'm thinking!

Plowboy
12-31-2008, 07:11 PM
28% profit and a $7200 check... I'd do it. Positive cash flow is a good thing.

jbrink01
12-31-2008, 07:18 PM
28% profit and a $7200 check... I'd do it. Positive cash flow is a good thing.

I hear ya. We could use a little more cash flow, even though I like a bit higher GP.

Plowboy
12-31-2008, 07:36 PM
I hear ya. We could use a little more cash flow, even though I like a bit higher GP.

Hell, I cooked one brisket today for someone and even delivered across town. I'll do anything for a check. Lawd knows I spend enough.

C Rocke
12-31-2008, 07:53 PM
NP is down on everthing. Can't sacrifice product or prep quality, and a fuel surcharge doesn't hold as much water at $1.75 a gallon. Just have to upsell/add on wherever possible I guess. Still looking for a bigger pit though...

Big Butt BBQ
01-01-2009, 08:57 AM
How much of each meat are you planning on purchasing?

What are your employee costs for this event?

jbrink01
01-01-2009, 10:51 AM
How much of each meat are you planning on purchasing? 600 people = 200#'s cooked = 350#'s raw.

What are your employee costs for this event? $400

Why do you ask?

Big Butt BBQ
01-01-2009, 11:18 AM
Needed the information to calculate pricing for this event. Based on current market prices in my area.

hossrocks
01-01-2009, 01:21 PM
If you can pull off a 600 head dinner @ $12 per and still clear 28% GP that is pretty solid. Plus, you can add this to your portfolio. Not to mention the number of gigs you potentially will book from the 600 attending the event. As they say in marketing... Of those 600 each of them will tell at least 3 of their friends over the water cooler how good the food was and who did the catering.
My wife and I discuss this all the time. We shoot for 40% GP on our gigs. I would look the 12% as advertising!!! Just my .02.

jbrink01
01-01-2009, 02:26 PM
Needed the information to calculate pricing for this event. Based on current market prices in my area.

What did you come up with?

jbrink01
01-01-2009, 02:34 PM
If you can pull off a 600 head dinner @ $12 per and still clear 28% GP that is pretty solid. Plus, you can add this to your portfolio. Not to mention the number of gigs you potentially will book from the 600 attending the event. As they say in marketing... Of those 600 each of them will tell at least 3 of their friends over the water cooler how good the food was and who did the catering.
My wife and I discuss this all the time. We shoot for 40% GP on our gigs. I would look the 12% as advertising!!! Just my .02.


Your strategy and mine are pretty close! It seems the bigger the event the lower the margin, unfortunately. I've done 100 people at 100%. I've also taken 2400 people at 22%. Heck, I catered a 12 person poker party for a local banker who likes my ribs and said price was no object. Every situation is different.

C Rocke
01-01-2009, 03:00 PM
I always seem to get 600, 100 of which are kids. The other 500 are really 275 because they're couples, and half of them are half in the bag by the time the food is served, and don't think (or care to) ask who did the food. In the LA area, there are just so many choices.

After years of sales/marketing, a 2-3% referral rate seems reasonable. 2% of 600 = 12. I'd be satisfied to get them over a 6 to 9 month time period and charge at a good margin for me. My $.02

jbrink01
01-01-2009, 06:10 PM
I always seem to get 600, 100 of which are kids. The other 500 are really 275 because they're couples, and half of them are half in the bag by the time the food is served, and don't think (or care to) ask who did the food. In the LA area, there are just so many choices.

After years of sales/marketing, a 2-3% referral rate seems reasonable. 2% of 600 = 12. I'd be satisfied to get them over a 6 to 9 month time period and charge at a good margin for me. My $.02

No kids at this one, but an easy 50% of them will be hammered.

Chuckwagonbbqco
01-01-2009, 09:04 PM
Some groups always want bids for their events. I bid a lot of sportsmen dinners (Duck's Unlimited, etc) I bid dinners at what I would normally do the job for--no special deals. The only thing that I do different is I never bid it at an exact dollar amount like $12.00----I would bid it at $11.88 and figure out a way to save 12 cents per person. I always set up one buffet line for every 100 people to expedite serving.

A 600 people dinner -I would set up 3 serving tables and have people go down both sides. Beans, rice, potatoes etc are inexpensive to cook---I have found that I can save money by letting the people serve themselves the side dishes---paying servers costs more than cooking extra beans. I set the table by the cost of the dish---least expensive first ---leading up to the meat at the end. By the time most people fill their plates with salad and beans and bread---there is not a lot of room for meat. I always have servers for the meat--standing at the far end of the table so they can serve people coming down both sides.

BBQ Grail
01-02-2009, 09:18 AM
Some groups always want bids for their events. I bid a lot of sportsmen dinners (Duck's Unlimited, etc) I bid dinners at what I would normally do the job for--no special deals. The only thing that I do different is I never bid it at an exact dollar amount like $12.00----I would bid it at $11.88 and figure out a way to save 12 cents per person. I always set up one buffet line for every 100 people to expedite serving.

A 600 people dinner -I would set up 3 serving tables and have people go down both sides. Beans, rice, potatoes etc are inexpensive to cook---I have found that I can save money by letting the people serve themselves the side dishes---paying servers costs more than cooking extra beans. I set the table by the cost of the dish---least expensive first ---leading up to the meat at the end. By the time most people fill their plates with salad and beans and bread---there is not a lot of room for meat. I always have servers for the meat--standing at the far end of the table so they can serve people coming down both sides.

Sounds as though you've done this a few times. Nice advice here Leonard.

jbrink01
01-02-2009, 09:26 AM
Some groups always want bids for their events. I bid a lot of sportsmen dinners (Duck's Unlimited, etc) I bid dinners at what I would normally do the job for--no special deals. The only thing that I do different is I never bid it at an exact dollar amount like $12.00----I would bid it at $11.88 and figure out a way to save 12 cents per person. I always set up one buffet line for every 100 people to expedite serving.

A 600 people dinner -I would set up 3 serving tables and have people go down both sides. Beans, rice, potatoes etc are inexpensive to cook---I have found that I can save money by letting the people serve themselves the side dishes---paying servers costs more than cooking extra beans. I set the table by the cost of the dish---least expensive first ---leading up to the meat at the end. By the time most people fill their plates with salad and beans and bread---there is not a lot of room for meat. I always have servers for the meat--standing at the far end of the table so they can serve people coming down both sides.

We set up the same way, thanks for the validation of what we do. We have done DU, etc, and man can those guys eat. Almost as bad as drunken golfers! I ran the numbers last night again at actual costs vs. ouir standard menu which stops at 200. Looks like we'll be ok.

Chuckwagonbbqco
01-02-2009, 09:41 AM
Wish I was closer--I'd come help. I have learned more by being a bean runner for another outfit and watching what they do-than I have learned organizing things myself. This forum is awesome -where we can share what we have learned. It makes for a more "gentle" learning curve.

Divemaster
01-02-2009, 09:49 AM
Some groups always want bids for their events. I bid a lot of sportsmen dinners (Duck's Unlimited, etc) I bid dinners at what I would normally do the job for--no special deals. The only thing that I do different is I never bid it at an exact dollar amount like $12.00----I would bid it at $11.88 and figure out a way to save 12 cents per person. I always set up one buffet line for every 100 people to expedite serving.

A 600 people dinner -I would set up 3 serving tables and have people go down both sides. Beans, rice, potatoes etc are inexpensive to cook---I have found that I can save money by letting the people serve themselves the side dishes---paying servers costs more than cooking extra beans. I set the table by the cost of the dish---least expensive first ---leading up to the meat at the end. By the time most people fill their plates with salad and beans and bread---there is not a lot of room for meat. I always have servers for the meat--standing at the far end of the table so they can serve people coming down both sides.

I agree with the above esp. the pricing (but then this is not my primary job so I can take the $75 hit easier than others).

I like the sequence of foods. I'll have to use that in some of my jobs where I ended up with left over sides....

jbrink01
01-02-2009, 04:49 PM
Chuck,
No offense, but I'm glad you are where you are. i don't need an obviously talented competitor too close!!

We always have meat last. Our typical set-up for our most requested meal, or so it seemed in 08, would go like this;

Plates and Utensiles, Caesar Salad, Rolls, Baked Beans, Green Beans, Twice Baked Potato Bake, Relish Tray, Chicken Marsala, Beef Brisket, Sauce, Cobbler

big brother smoke
01-04-2009, 11:16 AM
Great discussion, guys! Sage advice as well!

tony76248
01-05-2009, 11:10 AM
How much time will go into preparation? $2k is great profit as long as it doesn't take you all week to prepare. It probably will take all week though. hehe...600 folks is a lot of food. Good luck on the job. I have said before that I like to make $1000 a day minimum to cater, therefore I figure out what it will cost me to do the job and add the $1000 a day and that is how I have been pricing. So far, it has been working but then I have not had to compete with others on most of the jobs I do.

I guess another question to ask is, how far off were you on last years bid? Also, did the caterer that did get the job last year do a good job? I ask that because if he did, he might bid slightly higher and still win the bid. I would pay extra for a known commodity rather than give an unknown the gig because he was the lowest bidder.

jbrink01
01-05-2009, 02:17 PM
Tony,
In order of questions asked....
1 day of gathering, 1 1/2 days of cooking, 8 hours on site, so about 28 hours.
Last year we where $3 high BUT, we bid steaks, and they took roast beef (very unclear request for bid, this year it's crystal clear).
Last year it was "fair". We've since done a smaller meal for this organization (200) to rave reviews.

C Rocke
01-05-2009, 02:54 PM
Tony,
In order of questions asked....
1 day of gathering, 1 1/2 days of cooking, 8 hours on site, so about 28 hours.
Last year we where $3 high BUT, we bid steaks, and they took roast beef (very unclear request for bid, this year it's crystal clear).
Last year it was "fair". We've since done a smaller meal for this organization (200) to rave reviews.


I'd take it at $71.50 an hour - Like I said before, $2k is $2k. You'll get the bid this year.

Jacked UP BBQ
01-07-2009, 08:21 PM
2k for the night is not bad, it will be a lot of work, but heck it's worth it. Around these neck of the woods I could charge around $16 for that, but would still do it for $12. Good luck with the bid

smokinit
01-08-2009, 07:11 AM
2k for the night is not bad, it will be a lot of work, but heck it's worth it. Around these neck of the woods I could charge around $16 for that, but would still do it for $12. Good luck with the bid

It would be about the same here in NY But I just got one for 600 at $13 for roughly the same meal. I have done work with them for my other business so I wanted to get this account as well. They were very unhappy with the people who did it last year. Once I am in I can bump it some and this will be a keeper for years.

Jacked UP BBQ
01-08-2009, 09:12 AM
It would be about the same here in NY But I just got one for 600 at $13 for roughly the same meal. I have done work with them for my other business so I wanted to get this account as well. They were very unhappy with the people who did it last year. Once I am in I can bump it some and this will be a keeper for years.

Show them once you are worth it, and you will never be looked by again!

tony76248
01-08-2009, 09:55 AM
It all depends on the customer, there is a saying in sales "you are only as good as your last low bid"

I say go out there and put on the best job, preparing your best food and either you will be awarded future jobs or you won't be.

But in a nutshell, do not bid low in an attempt to get future business that you have no guarantee of getting. It does two things, it cheapens the market for future gigs by you and for your competition.

I hear folks say that the competition did a terrible job yada yada yada, well in the long run if those folks do a bad job they will be out of business before long. Unless I actually taste the food, I have to consider that the competition does a sufficient job or they wouldn't be in business....or else they were just low bidders and they won't be long in this industry.

One way to combat the low bid is to have prepared meals in the freezer that you provide as samples for potential gigs. If these samples are good, the potential customer will then ask your competition for samples and get them or not. If they do not get them, the customer will hopefully go with what they know and you may get the gig. I have pre-sliced brisket and pulled pork that I vacuum seal and hand out, then I have a list of sides that I let folks pick from. I seem to get the jobs that I want.

smokinit
01-08-2009, 10:04 AM
It all depends on the customer, there is a saying in sales "you are only as good as your last low bid"

I say go out there and put on the best job, preparing your best food and either you will be awarded future jobs or you won't be.

But in a nutshell, do not bid low in an attempt to get future business that you have no guarantee of getting. It does two things, it cheapens the market for future gigs by you and for your competition.

I hear folks say that the competition did a terrible job yada yada yada, well in the long run if those folks do a bad job they will be out of business before long. Unless I actually taste the food, I have to consider that the competition does a sufficient job or they wouldn't be in business....or else they were just low bidders and they won't be long in this industry.

One way to combat the low bid is to have prepared meals in the freezer that you provide as samples for potential gigs. If these samples are good, the potential customer will then ask your competition for samples and get them or not. If they do not get them, the customer will hopefully go with what they know and you may get the gig. I have pre-sliced brisket and pulled pork that I vacuum seal and hand out, then I have a list of sides that I let folks pick from. I seem to get the jobs that I want.

I here ya but they have already had my food for small local functions and raved about it. This is there company event and the regional manager in my area is a personal friend and the other account I have with him is for our local Military base which we have a long term contract with to improve the turf on 500 acres so I kind of have a slight advantage:mrgreen:

nthole
01-08-2009, 10:30 AM
Jeff, my buddy and I have thought about getting into some small scale catering. If you could use a pair of free hands I would be happy to pick up some education. Not looking to compete with you :wink:, we just have some interest but no experience! If you could use a pair of hands drop me an email.

jbrink01
01-08-2009, 12:40 PM
Jeff, my buddy and I have thought about getting into some small scale catering. If you could use a pair of free hands I would be happy to pick up some education. Not looking to compete with you :wink:, we just have some interest but no experience! If you could use a pair of hands drop me an email.

I may take you up on that in mid-march. We've got one on the line that could be a great learning experience for you.

nthole
01-08-2009, 02:23 PM
I may take you up on that in mid-march. We've got one on the line that could be a great learning experience for you.


Cool. nt ho le at yahoo dot com or you can also call me 3144946697. I'd be happy to help.

FatBoyz
01-08-2009, 04:16 PM
I just received my invitation to bid an event we lost last year. 600 people, and it went for $12.00 a head last year (we lost the bid, as we incorrectly assumed steak was requested and it was not, it was just an option). Anyway, for 2 meats, 2 veggies, starch and tea we are coming up about 5% high based on our pricing spreadsheet compared to the winning bid last year.

I want this work but don't want to leave money on the table. At $12, we would clear about $2000 for the evening. Discuss.......

ok try this 3 meats thay chose rib chicken brisket or sholder 2 sides 15 a plate thay will take it and you will make good money

jbrink01
01-21-2009, 06:17 PM
Went a little heavy / greedy on the bid (10% over what i thought would get it). Well, got the news today..........................GOT IT!!! Woo Hoo!

smokinit
01-21-2009, 06:22 PM
Nice you da man!!

Bbq Bubba
01-21-2009, 06:26 PM
Congrats brother!!

Now get cookin! :cool:

jbrink01
01-21-2009, 07:11 PM
Now I just have to cook and serve 60 steam pans of food, plus dessert!

I'm thinking 100#'s of each meat (Brisket and Chicken Cacciatore), and 10 pans of each veggie (Honey Glazed Carrots and Country Green Beans), 10 pans of Fettucini Alfredo and 10 pans of Smashed potatoes. 20 Pans of tossed salad.

hossrocks
01-21-2009, 08:12 PM
Now I just have to cook and serve 60 steam pans of food, plus dessert!

I'm thinking 100#'s of each meat (Brisket and Chicken Cacciatore), and 10 pans of each veggie (Honey Glazed Carrots and Country Green Beans), 10 pans of Fettucini Alfredo and 10 pans of Smashed potatoes. 20 Pans of tossed salad.

Whaaaa whhooooo, gratz brotha on getting the gig. Thats a ton of food... You need to buy stock in disposable hotel pans. :wink:

nthole
01-21-2009, 08:16 PM
Wow...you're gonna need more than that truck of yours at RD!

Congrats. That's awesome.

Marsha
01-21-2009, 08:51 PM
WOW! Congratulations and good job!!! I am sure the event will be a huge success :grin:

jbrink01
01-22-2009, 07:40 PM
Wow...you're gonna need more than that truck of yours at RD!

Congrats. That's awesome.

For this, I will order it all from Fox River Foods and let them deliver it to me.

ASUBBQ
02-08-2009, 02:38 PM
Thats a lot of work my friend, 2K in the pocket isn't much money for the work involved!

jbrink01
02-08-2009, 07:22 PM
Let's assume I spend 30 hours. Thats $70 an hour.....

jbrink01
03-31-2009, 09:35 PM
Well it's over and I'm waiting the photos from my niece. But, we've got the math done. Just shy of $3k profit.

big brother smoke
03-31-2009, 09:42 PM
Well it's over and I'm waiting the photos from my niece. But, we've got the math done. Just shy of $3k profit.


One word: Sweet :cool:

jbrink01
03-31-2009, 09:51 PM
One word: Sweet :cool:


Amen Brother! Just worked out the base schedule for the coming summer. Looks like 36 events now through November 1. So far.........

Countryhb
03-31-2009, 09:55 PM
Congrats! Love it when a plan comes together!

hossrocks
03-31-2009, 10:03 PM
Well done brother... 3k profit is outstanding. How many hours do you think you have it the whole process? Not cook time, but actual hands on working.
When we do a large events I alway get nervous when the line starts to form... Same thing goes through my head every time.... Oh boy, did I bring enough? I can't imagine doing 600 people.

smokinit
04-01-2009, 05:56 AM
Amen Brother! Just worked out the base schedule for the coming summer. Looks like 36 events now through November 1. So far.........

Thats great bro !I am at 12 so far and the vending has taken off

Divemaster
04-01-2009, 07:55 AM
Congrats Bro! Way to do us proud!

Jacked UP BBQ
04-01-2009, 08:16 AM
Nice work bro, cannot wait to see the pics.

oceanpigassassins
04-01-2009, 09:19 AM
Good luck

jbrink01
04-01-2009, 03:32 PM
Well done brother... 3k profit is outstanding. How many hours do you think you have it the whole process? Not cook time, but actual hands on working.
When we do a large events I alway get nervous when the line starts to form... Same thing goes through my head every time.... Oh boy, did I bring enough? I can't imagine doing 600 people.

47 hours total. I have the same thoughts. We had exactly 1/2 pan of brisket left, and 2/3 pan of chicken cacciatore. Ran a little longer on sides - 2 pans of salad left, 1 pan of twice baked potato casserole, 1/2 pan of carrots, 1 pan of green beans, 1 pan of fettucini alfredo and maybe 80 servings of cobbler.

Worked out fine, as i'd rather be a little long than a hair short.

jbrink01
04-01-2009, 03:34 PM
BTW - Started with 120#'s of boneless thighs, and took 150#'s of brisket.