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-   -   Catering questions (https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=49246)

Brauma 09-14-2008 09:19 PM

Catering questions
 
I did my second catering gig this past Saturday. Gory details here: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=49221

I've got a couple of questions. First, how do you deal with flies? It was brutally hot & humid this past Saturday. I'm talking 98* and high humidity. When it came time for me to bust up the pork, flies came from no-where and were relentless. I shooed them away best I could but it was no use. And I'm sure it looked bad to anyone who saw it. Flies on the cutting board - not good.

Second, how do you guys do it? I mean, I thought I would lose my marbles, quit and walk away by mid-afternoon. Maybe I'm too much of a free spirit but I was on-sight - in the customer's backyard - from 6:30 AM till 8:20 PM. Thats a long farking time. How, I mean, do you... how do I want to ask this?... How do you price your jobs to cover this much time?

When I add up how much I was paid it worked out to $10/hour. Now, I'm not sneezing at this $. This is better than nothing. But that sure was a lot of work and a lot of time away from the homestead on a Saturday. On top of that I worked till 11PM Friday night trimming/rubbing butts and cooking the beans.

I've heard that the health Dept frowns on cooking the meat at your home/backyard, then transporting it to the party. But Ive also heard that you could cook it in a certified kitchen, then transport it to the site and reheat. Is this different state to state?

When I said that I'm a free spirit before, let me explain. My job for the past 23 years has been a field service rep. My vehicle is my office. When ever I have to sit in an office from 8-5 I feel like I'm trapped in a cage. Like I'm in prison. I'm not sure this type catering will work for me. But I'm glad that I'm trying it.

Roo-B-Q'N 09-15-2008 09:27 AM

Mark,

I understand where you are coming from. It doesn't seem right to be on sight all day and work well into the night and get $10.00 per hour. There are many different ways to price out jobs, i.e. food costs x 3, but I think that is for a simple cook off site and deliver. For the onsights, I believe it should be a whole lot more. Your customers are asking a lot. I do not know that number however. We did about the same thing this summer and will not do it again until we can figure out better pricing.
Health laws are differnt from State to State, and in Nebraska it seems county to county. Get a hold of your health inspector and talk with him or her. They are there to help and get you set up properly. I started talking to mine even before I started building out catering trailer so we were all on the same page.
The cooking in a certified kitchen and delivering food for my county health inspector means I am a caterer and fall under his laws. Cooking on sight for a persons party using my equipememnt and or theirs means I am a Personal Chef and do not come under the health department laws. So again get with them and figure out which way you want to go. Either way keep the publics safety and health utmost in your food preparation and holding.
Just my .02 cents.

Caseyjoenz 09-15-2008 09:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brauma (Post 738045)
I did my second catering gig this past Saturday. Gory details here: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=49221

I've got a couple of questions. First, how do you deal with flies? It was brutally hot & humid this past Saturday. I'm talking 98* and high humidity. When it came time for me to bust up the pork, flies came from no-where and were relentless. I shooed them away best I could but it was no use. And I'm sure it looked bad to anyone who saw it. Flies on the cutting board - not good.

Second, how do you guys do it? I mean, I thought I would lose my marbles, quit and walk away by mid-afternoon. Maybe I'm too much of a free spirit but I was on-sight - in the customer's backyard - from 6:30 AM till 8:20 PM. Thats a long farking time. How, I mean, do you... how do I want to ask this?... How do you price your jobs to cover this much time?

When I add up how much I was paid it worked out to $10/hour. Now, I'm not sneezing at this $. This is better than nothing. But that sure was a lot of work and a lot of time away from the homestead on a Saturday. On top of that I worked till 11PM Friday night trimming/rubbing butts and cooking the beans.

I've heard that the health Dept frowns on cooking the meat at your home/backyard, then transporting it to the party. But Ive also heard that you could cook it in a certified kitchen, then transport it to the site and reheat. Is this different state to state?

When I said that I'm a free spirit before, let me explain. My job for the past 23 years has been a field service rep. My vehicle is my office. When ever I have to sit in an office from 8-5 I feel like I'm trapped in a cage. Like I'm in prison. I'm not sure this type catering will work for me. But I'm glad that I'm trying it.

I do this on a "part-time" basis, although I take on way more than I should. What gets me is that catering on-site is BACK BREAKING, HARD FARKING WORK. Have to say I wasn't prepared for that, but it is getting better. I do not know how guys do this day in and day out. My back and knees would be finished :shock:

Countryhb 09-15-2008 12:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brauma (Post 738045)
I was on-sight - in the customer's backyard - from 6:30 AM till 8:20 PM.

Do whatever your local HD requires to get away from having to do this. It would be much easier to cook the weekend before at home, freeze, and reheat. or even cook the night before and hold.

TOPS BBQ 09-15-2008 01:03 PM

I too, do this part time, but how much time are you really working? I just did a job on-site and "worked" for 8 hours. Really, the work came from prepping, setting up and taking down the site. I sat for probably 4 hours while the food was cooking. I was still tired in the end, but you have to put this into prospective. If you are your own boss, you are not going to make a lot of money. It's about doing what you love and getting paid, albeit little.

As for the flies: did you have a tent with walls setup in your prep area? This would not keep flies out entirely, but it helps a lot. You could also setup a fan pointing out of the entrance to keep flies out. Once food is out for serving, that's when you have to make sure you keep the flies away. Keep lids on the food when people are not being served.

Good luck on whatever you decide to do.

smokinit 09-15-2008 05:32 PM

That is why when I started out I knew that it would be very difficult to preform this type of service on regular basis without an onsite kitchen or commisary and even with one there still are long hours . It's the nature of the beast with good Q

jbrink01 09-15-2008 05:36 PM

We did it on site just long enough to realize we either neeeded a self contained concession trailer (which allows us to start at home, with certain restrictions), or needed to quit. We now have $100,000 worth of truck, trailer and equipment. Wanna buy it?

Brauma 09-15-2008 05:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TOPS BBQ (Post 738492)
I too, do this part time, but how much time are you really working? I just did a job on-site and "worked" for 8 hours. Really, the work came from prepping, setting up and taking down the site. I sat for probably 4 hours while the food was cooking. I was still tired in the end, but you have to put this into prospective.

I understand what you're saying but I look at it differently. If I'm away from my home and on a job site, I'm working. It doesn't matter if I have my feet up reading a book - I'm working at the job; I'm not at home playing with mama or the kids. I actually missed my son's first soccer game this year so I could do this job. That sucked.

I've already had a long talk with my partner BeerGuy about this. On-sight cooking gigs are not for me. I'm glad I did it; now I know. I will definitely contact my local HD and see what I need to do to cook at home then transport to the function.

Thanks for the tip on the flies. A box fan would have been nice this past Saturday. The heat was brutal.

Someone told me today that if I had washed down my table with a bleach/water solution it would've kept the flies away. I'll try both techniques next time.

Brauma 09-15-2008 06:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jbrink01 (Post 738667)
We did it on site just long enough to realize we either neeeded a self contained concession trailer (which allows us to start at home, with certain restrictions), or needed to quit. We now have $100,000 worth of truck, trailer and equipment. Wanna buy it?

:lol: Oh, wow. You know, you're just a touch out of my price range. :lol: And if you lived closer I'd come by and check it out. :wink: Thanks for the offer though.

I've got the garlic "business"/hobby and I'm thinking about working with the local HD about converting part of my shop into a kitchen that will pass their code. Making the smoked garlic involves a smoker so I'm picturing a big smoker that will stay put in the kitchen. Then a mobile unit to heat the meat back up on location.

Sounds good huh?

latitude 36 10-12-2017 07:34 AM

No doubt tough gig cooking on site. Prep, prep clean up, Site set up site cook, service, site clean, site pack up, return home clean up.
I've been doing this for over 30 years and it never gets easier.
Living on a remote Island the distances are far, too far in general to cook at our kitchen then deliver. Feet always hurt, smoke seems to keep the flies away. Always work clean, always wipe juices. Have rubbish/recycling away from your service area. This will help with flies. Bleach is pretty severe, good for final clean, but I have hot soapy water on hand and just continue to work clean.

Cook 10-12-2017 03:51 PM

9 year old thread...but two things stood out with the OP...

1) He was worried about an hourly wage when not only working as management in foodservice, but as an owner of a business. When you are beginning in foodservice, the owner is almost always the least paid person on the payroll.

2) The OP said twice that he "had heard" about specific regulations from the health department. To me that says he was not doing this legally and had never been in contact with the health department. This is extremely dangerous, and the wrong way to be in business. Look folks, go about catering the right way...don't take money away from those who have paid the price of admission and do things the right way...the safe way.

overeasy 11-04-2017 01:30 AM

One of the most difficult segments of the food industry is catering. Every job is in a different setting. Which means you have to be very good at recognizing functional work flows quickly and be able to make adjustments on the fly by having remedies for problems that WILL come up, all with a smile on your face. The stress levels in catering are very high and it takes special people to really do it right.
Catering can be very lucrative too, but you have to be very good at what you do. Delivery
of exactly what you and your client have discussed and decided on before hand in a timely and professional manner is paramount.
I am a trained and professional chef of over 40 years, and i can tell you at least for me each day has many challenges and opportunities.
Food service is not for everyone, in fact I would say not for most folks. Its very hard and relentless work. But it can be very gratifying too. When I look into the dining room and see my customers really enjoying themselves eating food I've prepared for them, in an atmosphere I've created for them it's pretty special indeed.
My advice to anyone that thinks they want to cater or open a restaurant is to pick a reputable restaurant nearby preferably a busy one, and ask for a job. Even part time. It won't take long and you will see if its something you would like to make into a career.

CT-Mike 12-06-2017 06:09 PM

I agree with Cook above. Besides being properly licensed, setting up a LLC and liability insurance are the other two legs of the triangle to protect your personal assets.


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