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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 07-11-2013, 07:06 PM   #1
Sparkman
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Default $$$$ Question from New vendor

I'm brand new to vending and have no idea what to charge. I did do a July 4th event(my 1st) and had pulled pork, chicken, and rib plates. Plates included the meat, chips, beans, and a drink. Prices were as follows:
Pork Sandwich=$3
Pork=$6
Chicken=$6
Ribs=$10

I didn't cook many ribs and chicken and sold out of them. I had about 30# of pork left that I vacuum sealed and froze. Not bad since the fireworks got rained out and I was the only vendor that showed up. Anyway, I cooked it all "semi" competition style which as you all know is more work and cost. I think I sold it all too cheap but it may have been worth it to get my name out there.
I would love to hear from some of you seasoned veterans. I'll take any tips or criticism you can give me on any subject on vending at events and festivals. Thanks in advanced for the help!
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Unread 07-11-2013, 07:18 PM   #2
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The usual rule of thumb is food cost x 3. That being said, $3 bucks for a sandwich seems way too cheap, especially for a vending environment.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 10:19 PM   #3
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Yes cost x 3 gets you in the ball park, sandwich should be at least in the $4-$5 range. I'd be loosing money selling ribs at $10 I get $23 for a full rack.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 10:33 PM   #4
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Definitely prices are too low, cost times 3 is the best way to go.

I always question whether getting your name out there, by offering foods well below cost is a good strategy, as when you raise your prices, then people will judge more harshly.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 10:56 PM   #5
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How do you guys handle event fees when pricing food? I am finding it difficult to justify adding in the entire fee into the food prices in some cases. For instance, I have two events on the schedule that collect 30% of the gross, one that charges $250 for a three hour sales window, and another that charges $1,000 for the weekend.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 11:09 PM   #6
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You have to add it into the food. Of course, that means you have to have enough experience to know about how much you will sell. I take the amount, add it into food cost.

Thus if I have $1500 of food cost, I add in the $250 and then add on 30% and now you know why food costs so much at most festivals and shows. Makes a $6 sandwich into a $10 sandwich
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Unread 07-12-2013, 02:58 AM   #7
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7 for a pulled pork...8 for brisket...combo w/ side 10
ribs 13 / 23
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Unread 07-12-2013, 05:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fooskey View Post
How do you guys handle event fees when pricing food? I am finding it difficult to justify adding in the entire fee into the food prices in some cases. For instance, I have two events on the schedule that collect 30% of the gross, one that charges $250 for a three hour sales window, and another that charges $1,000 for the weekend.
Say what???

If your lucky to keep your food cost at say 30%. That means out of every dollar you sell you keep $.70. Now your going to give them $.30 out of your .70 and have a profit of $.40. THEN you have to pay for materials.....

See where im going with this?
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Unread 07-12-2013, 05:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparkman View Post
I'm brand new to vending and have no idea what to charge. I did do a July 4th event(my 1st) and had pulled pork, chicken, and rib plates. Plates included the meat, chips, beans, and a drink. Prices were as follows:
Pork Sandwich=$3
Pork=$6
Chicken=$6
Ribs=$10

I didn't cook many ribs and chicken and sold out of them. I had about 30# of pork left that I vacuum sealed and froze. Not bad since the fireworks got rained out and I was the only vendor that showed up. Anyway, I cooked it all "semi" competition style which as you all know is more work and cost. I think I sold it all too cheap but it may have been worth it to get my name out there.
I would love to hear from some of you seasoned veterans. I'll take any tips or criticism you can give me on any subject on vending at events and festivals. Thanks in advanced for the help!
If you get your name out for serving cheap que, that is what you will be known as and those are the customers you will attract. Google around for all the retailers who thought offering a groupon deal would get them more exposure and the type of customers these deals actually brought.

I want to be known for awesome food, great service, and a fun atmosphere. I use the best stuff, and take great pride in what I do, and my attitude shines through to my members who agree.

Just my opinion, and I am sure there are some guys out there who do well being the cheap guy working on huge volume.
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Unread 07-12-2013, 05:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
Say what???

If your lucky to keep your food cost at say 30%. That means out of every dollar you sell you keep $.70. Now your going to give them $.30 out of your .70 and have a profit of $.40. THEN you have to pay for materials.....

See where im going with this?
Yup, the numbers don't lie, you have to break it down on paper in black and white.
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Unread 07-12-2013, 06:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
Say what???

If your lucky to keep your food cost at say 30%. That means out of every dollar you sell you keep $.70. Now your going to give them $.30 out of your .70 and have a profit of $.40. THEN you have to pay for materials.....

See where im going with this?
I do, and that is the dilemma. Simply stacking the event fee on top can drive prices up too high. I think the fact that some of those provide tremendous volume needs to be a consideration.

Then again, I am just a newbie trying to figure it all out.
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Unread 07-12-2013, 07:00 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Fooskey View Post
I do, and that is the dilemma. Simply stacking the event fee on top can drive prices up too high. I think the fact that some of those provide tremendous volume needs to be a consideration.

Then again, I am just a newbie trying to figure it all out.

LOl... Most all of the Gourmet trucks here rarely do an event that charges more than 10% of Gross Sales (Less Sales Tax). Too many events, too much hype, and the promoter needs to share the risk. We stay away from set fee events, or one where folks have to buy tickets to purchase food (Charity type events). We focus on certain types of events where the crowd will eat BBQ - Music, beer, etc, etc. We try not to "price up" more than 10% for these events to avoid sticker shock.
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Unread 07-12-2013, 09:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by C Rocke View Post
LOl... Most all of the Gourmet trucks here rarely do an event that charges more than 10% of Gross Sales (Less Sales Tax). Too many events, too much hype, and the promoter needs to share the risk. We stay away from set fee events, or one where folks have to buy tickets to purchase food (Charity type events). We focus on certain types of events where the crowd will eat BBQ - Music, beer, etc, etc. We try not to "price up" more than 10% for these events to avoid sticker shock.
I would love to be in position to pass up some, but I am just starting out. Right now, if something can net me at least $500 for the day after I pay for materials and the help, I do it. I need the experience and the exposure, and didn't have anything better to do, so I did a 30% event back in May.

I am just a zero trying to becoming a one. :p
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Unread 07-12-2013, 09:04 PM   #14
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I'd walk away from any event charging those kind of fees. I personally won't do any events where the event wants to take a percentage of my sales. Others here may do it and say it is worth it but to me if someone wants a percentage of my sales they can take that equally in the cost/risk and night duties on our cook site.

I am small time compared to many but $100-$200 per day would be the max I would pay and it would have to be great to exceed that.
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Unread 07-13-2013, 02:56 AM   #15
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I'd walk away from any event charging those kind of fees. I personally won't do any events where the event wants to take a percentage of my sales. Others here may do it and say it is worth it but to me if someone wants a percentage of my sales they can take that equally in the cost/risk and night duties on our cook site.

I am small time compared to many but $100-$200 per day would be the max I would pay and it would have to be great to exceed that.
If you had a one day event, which netted 8,000 (that includes sales tax) you would only give 200 to the event? They would not be able to have another event....
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