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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 09-14-2008, 09:30 PM   #1
Marsha
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Default Wedding for 150

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.
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.


Here are some more photos
http://perezcarpenterwedding09132008.shutterfly.com/
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Unread 09-14-2008, 09:34 PM   #2
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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?
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Unread 09-14-2008, 09:45 PM   #3
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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...
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Unread 09-14-2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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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.
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Unread 09-14-2008, 09:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsha View Post
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.
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Unread 09-14-2008, 10:54 PM   #6
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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.
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Unread 09-14-2008, 10:55 PM   #7
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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.
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Unread 09-14-2008, 11:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsha View Post
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.
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Unread 09-14-2008, 11:17 PM   #9
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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.
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Unread 09-14-2008, 11:28 PM   #10
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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)
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Unread 09-15-2008, 12:01 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
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)

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.
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Unread 09-15-2008, 12:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trp1fox View Post
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.
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Unread 09-15-2008, 11:02 AM   #13
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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!
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Unread 09-15-2008, 11:47 AM   #14
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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.
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Unread 09-15-2008, 04:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsha View Post
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).
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