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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 05-12-2009, 03:07 PM   #1
StrikeEagle
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Default Price by the Gig vs. Per Person

I'm beginning to think that I'm the only one who operates on a 'per gig' basis. So, when I price an event, I do so based on a firm estimate of people to attend given to me by the host or hostess. I work with my clients on an ongoing basis to be sure that we develop a good estimate in the beginning and fix the final 'contract' number with a week to go to the event. Behind the scenes I factor in a 'buffer' to ensure that we can cover a little stretch should extra folks attend, (usually about 5-7%) but if a bunch of extra people show up, we MAY run out of some items. (Note, I've never run out of food, but we did have to get a little creative, once.)

For me, this ensures a KNOWN price for the client, and a KNOWN cost factor for me. Yes, there is a slight risk of coming up long or short of food, but to be honest, I've never been off by too much, and the 'extra' food makes great left-overs for the host/hostess.

Am I alone in using this pricing model?
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Unread 05-12-2009, 03:24 PM   #2
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I have priced both ways. Depending on what number I think will look more appropriate to the client is depending what I do. More often then the other I price the entire gig. But that price comes from a pp number I have developed, so basically it is the same thing.
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Unread 05-12-2009, 03:38 PM   #3
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Jamie - I work my gigs, the same as you do. But I also state in the contract the amount per person goes up (for the extra guests) by 50%, if the number of guests exceeds the agreed contract amount. I too cook extra, but that is to cover my arse and not look bad for running out of food. I have never ran out and if I did, it would be because the party invited extra guests without notifying me.
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Unread 05-12-2009, 03:43 PM   #4
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Whats the difference? It's all based on how many people your feeding.
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Unread 05-12-2009, 03:54 PM   #5
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We do the same thing. However, I present the price as per person to the client based on the number of people they have guaranteed will be there. If they run a little heavy (5-7 plates) I'm good. If it runs more than 10 peeps extra I will stand the chance of running out of food. Frankly, if they have 10 or more people eating than what they told me then they are most likly trying to stiff me. Just my .02
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Unread 05-12-2009, 04:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
Whats the difference? It's all based on how many people your feeding.
I concur!
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Unread 05-12-2009, 05:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
Whats the difference? It's all based on how many people your feeding.
The difference is expectations and payment. It's tough to get paid "PP" when the actual count is in excess of the estimate. And, it sucks when a client is expecting to write a 'short check' because people didn't show. (The extra food is still sitting there at the end of the event.)

My general rule is to get paid 50% on booking with the balance at the beginning of 'set up' as this avoids all sorts of complications and payment delays. I personally HATE dealing with payment, or refunds, at the end of a gig. I would MUCH rather end the event on a positive note of everyone having had a GREAT time as we pack up and leave the event site.

For me, this works, but I am ALWAYS interested in how other folks do it, and why.
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Unread 05-12-2009, 05:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrikeEagle View Post
The difference is expectations and payment. It's tough to get paid "PP" when the actual count is in excess of the estimate. And, it sucks when a client is expecting to write a 'short check' because people didn't show. (The extra food is still sitting there at the end of the event.)

My general rule is to get paid 50% on booking with the balance at the beginning of 'set up' as this avoids all sorts of complications and payment delays. I personally HATE dealing with payment, or refunds, at the end of a gig. I would MUCH rather end the event on a positive note of everyone having had a GREAT time as we pack up and leave the event site.

For me, this works, but I am ALWAYS interested in how other folks do it, and why.
Thanks for your thoughts! I charge by the person with a $300 booking charge (to remove the date from our books) with a guaranteed minimum.
The balance is due 10 days in advance (No chasing the client after the event). My guaranteed minimum is 75, I have been known to do 50.
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Unread 05-13-2009, 09:01 AM   #9
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I calculate my price for the gig on the number of persons. I for the most part know what I want to make per day (profit) and I calculate the final cost to achieve that goal.
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Unread 05-13-2009, 09:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big brother smoke View Post
Thanks for your thoughts! I charge by the person with a $300 booking charge (to remove the date from our books) with a guaranteed minimum.
The balance is due 10 days in advance (No chasing the client after the event). My guaranteed minimum is 75, I have been known to do 50.
Dayhum! I thought I was the only with enough balls to do that... of course, I have no business these days... but instead am doing charity events.

This is a great idea when you have a product good enough, as I know this guy does, that merits it.
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Unread 05-13-2009, 08:36 PM   #11
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We get paid PP, unless there is extra time involved. Had one yesterday with a $500 premium for 5 extra hours on site to maintain the buffet.
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Unread 05-14-2009, 10:30 AM   #12
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The one item folks really need to consider when catering or vending is the wear and tear of equipment. Also consumables, paper towels, plates spoons etc.... These items stand between you making a buck and going bust.

Many businesses out there are living or dying by cash flow alone. If the job can not generate a profit, folks need to opt out.

Of course after you do enough jobs you can more easily calculate profit and loss.

I did have several requests out there for my spread sheet and it is still available to anyone who wants it. It is very helpful in getting to the bottom line. Of course you will fill it in with your info.
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Unread 08-03-2009, 06:50 PM   #13
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I wouldn't mind taking a look at that if it's not too much trouble.
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Unread 08-05-2009, 11:20 PM   #14
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Food cost $
Overhead %
Shopping & prep time $
Labor $
Travel expenses $
Sales tax %
Gratuity %
Profit $
Miscellaneous $
Contingency %

Add it up and give them a bottom line, let the client do the division for a pp price
Base your numbers on a 75 minimum, and get your deposit
Request final head count 14 days prior as well as final payment, not your problem if it rains and only 50 show, never put yourself in a position where you have to cut a refund check unless its for a full cancellation.

If they cancel prior to food purchase take 30% of the balance due and refund the remainder, put this in your contract so everyone is on the same page.

If you already bought food, take your 30% and give them the food.

I'm not suggesting that anyone has to do business this way, this is just an example of how I do it, works for me.
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