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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 01-01-2009, 02:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Butt BBQ View Post
Needed the information to calculate pricing for this event. Based on current market prices in my area.
What did you come up with?
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Unread 01-01-2009, 02:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hossrocks View Post
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.
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Unread 01-01-2009, 03:00 PM   #18
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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
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Unread 01-01-2009, 06:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Rocke View Post
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.
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Unread 01-01-2009, 09:04 PM   #20
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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.
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Unread 01-02-2009, 09:18 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckwagonbbqco View Post
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.
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Unread 01-02-2009, 09:26 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckwagonbbqco View Post
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.
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Unread 01-02-2009, 09:41 AM   #23
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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.
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Unread 01-02-2009, 09:49 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckwagonbbqco View Post
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....
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Unread 01-02-2009, 04:49 PM   #25
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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
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Unread 01-04-2009, 11:16 AM   #26
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Great discussion, guys! Sage advice as well!
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Unread 01-05-2009, 11:10 AM   #27
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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.
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Unread 01-05-2009, 02:17 PM   #28
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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.
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Unread 01-05-2009, 02:54 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrink01 View Post
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.
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Unread 01-07-2009, 08:21 PM   #30
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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
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