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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.

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Unread 06-27-2011, 08:58 AM   #1
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Default Help with Pricing...

I am sure this has been addressed over and over on here, but did a search and came up empty.

What is the average price everyone is selling their babybacks and st. louis spares for. I personnaly like the St.louis over babyback, but locally babybacks are eaasier to come by.

Thank you in advance for the input!
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Unread 06-27-2011, 09:06 AM   #2
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For catering, we do $17 per rack of St. Louis spares minimum 3 rack order. In the joint, we do $14 for half rack with 8oz side of beans or slaw & $23 for full rack with 8oz beans or slaw.
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Unread 06-27-2011, 08:26 PM   #3
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Cant make money on BB's.
Full rack vending, $20.00
In the restaurant its $22.00.
2 3/4 trimmed spares.
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Unread 06-28-2011, 07:31 PM   #4
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You're from IL...you got answers from MI & NY. Are they paying the same for product as you are? What is their overhead? You don't know these factors.

You need to learn basic food costing. Asking what people from all over the country sell a product for is easy, but it yields you little in the way of useful information. Just in those two replies, you got a $5 spread. Not reliable for your situation.
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Thanks from:--->
Unread 06-28-2011, 08:31 PM   #5
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Cook nailed it. You've got to learn about "food costs". In a well run food business (not high end gourmet with deep pocket investors) you need to stay under 30% food costs.

Example: if your ribs run you $6 per slab you must, at a minimum, charge $18 per slab. Some markets will support more. You have to build in your raw costs, production costs, and a fair wage or you are just playing around.

Pulled pork and such are a bit more difficult as are "plates" served in a sit down or carry out place. With pork, for example, you need to know your average cost per pound of raw meat. Then you must know your waste or what's called shrinkage. How much weight do you lose from cooked off fat, thrown away bone, thrown away fat, and just cooked out moisture. For my pulled pork I figure about 40% waste and over the years this figure has been pretty spot on. The percentage will vary depending on how you cook, whether you use bone-in or boneless pork, and not least how you pull and prep the product. So, for me that comes out to about $8-$9 per pound out the door carry away cost. I usually pack in 2# "quart" bags.

Brisket cost is figured the same way as is chicken, sausage, etc. You've got to know your food, prep, and cooking. I spent a few years managing for a full kitchen, all food from scratch cafeteria company. I spent a lot of my early training figuring and learning about food cost.

Then comes production cost. Your cooker, truck, trailer, pans, knives, etc. aren't free. Yeah, you can write them off because you already own them, but when replacement time comes around momma is going to want her Kitchen Aid mixer or food processor back and in her kitchen! Again, if you aren't figuring these costs into doing business you are just playing around.

Trying to do friends a favor is not business. I still "cater" for friends and charge less. I've got a wedding rehearsal dinner coming up. I'm delivering 20# of pulled pork, vacuum packed, and loaning a chafing rack and pans. I'm charging $9 per pound. I'll make some money,but it's chump change. However, it will recover about 1/2 the cost of my newest electric smoker. So, it helps pay for my toys.

I gave up competition when I could no longer work my little catering business. My catering, along with my initial $10K investment, allowed me to buy my big cooker and a lot of supplies. I catered to support my competition. My partner and I, Tim aka The_Kapn, split costs for several years. When I changed jobs where I couldn't cater as much and money ran down in the "kitty" I did a couple more with house money and quit.

I know food and the food business. I've never opened a full time catering business or restaurant because I've always been under-capitalized and had a family to raise. I'm reaching a point where my wife makes enough (more than me for several years now) to go back to the food business. However, unless something really fortunate occurs like a good partner or hitting the lotto I'll be cooking for someone else and letting them sweat the cash flow.

It's not easy. There are several good books out there on starting small businesses including restaurants and catering companies. Also, some Brethren own businesses and are willing to advise. But, they are not going to make decisions for you. Do your due diligence - gathering this information is tough work. I'd love to spend a week with BigMista out in CA learning from him about doing his farmer's market circuit and how he has parlayed that into his own brick and mortar kitchen.

Good luck and keep asking questions. Read and ask small business around your area how they make their decisions.
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Unread 06-28-2011, 08:33 PM   #6
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Cook is right, Got to know your cost. Don't under sell your self. Sell Quality. Service. Sell your self. Put some money in the bank bag.
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Unread 06-28-2011, 10:04 PM   #7
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A-Farkin'-Men to all of you guys!!!! We cater a bunch and I could care less what ribs sell for anywhere but here. I buy spares, trim the tips, sell the slab for 18 and the tip for 5 = $23 per. I'm in Missouri.

And I hate to sell ribs. More profit in pulled pork and pork steaks.
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Unread 06-29-2011, 06:59 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jbrink01 View Post
And I hate to sell ribs. More profit in pulled pork and pork steaks.
You are exactly right.

For most places, ribs are not a money maker...just like selling quality steaks is not a money maker for a restaurant that isn't geared solely around steaks. Many times I priced ribeyes at a near break-even point just to keep them on the menu.
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Unread 07-10-2011, 06:26 AM   #9
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The saving grace with ribs is that they are popular. I try to sell most of what I cook as rib plates and probably make as much on the sides and a drink as I do the ribs. As others have said, there ain't no money in slabs. Cutting your own St. Louis style out of the spares certainly helps, but you have to take your time into consideration for doing that.

Another negative for ribs IMO is the fact that a slab takes up as much or more room on the pit as a pork butt...which is where the money is.
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