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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 02-27-2012, 08:47 AM   #1
HBMTN
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Default How would you hand this?

I have a date on my schedule that I was trying to keep open for something that I would like to do. I have turned down several events for this date that were for groups of 50 to 100. I have been contacted to do a catering for a group of 500 people on this date. I would definatly do an event of this size over my current plans, however when I research this event for past years it appears that the attendance is more like 150 people give or take.

I have to talk to them this afternoon, would it be unprofessional for me to tell them I was not interested in doing the event for less than 350 people? My concern is that they will book me and say 500 now and that will turn into 150 when all is done.

I guess it is a good problem to have but I am getting to where I could book every weekend in BBQ season (and pretty much am) but there are a few I would like to keep to myself BUT would be willing to give them up for events of 500 if you know what I mean.
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Unread 02-27-2012, 10:08 AM   #2
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Would offer them @ 500 per person quote.

Not your concern if they overestimated... you were contracted to do a different figure... and get it in writing. Get paid either way.
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Unread 02-27-2012, 10:13 AM   #3
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I usually have set per person prices and they are good for 50 people or more. I would normally get my final head count and payment 10 days before event.

Is it ok to tell client that the minimum I will cater for on this date is 350?
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Unread 02-27-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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Larger risk... no fault of yours. CYA factor.

If you quote 350 - and 500 shows up?
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Unread 02-27-2012, 12:59 PM   #5
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I would offer a proposal based on 500, and then add a line to say that if final count (which you should have at least 7 days in advance) is less than XXXX, the per person will be XXX higher.

This is what we do.

i would also request a deposit, and payment in full 7-10 days prior based on the final number. If they tell you 350, you agree, and 500 show up, not your problem. Although, no matter what, we as caterers get the blame.
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Unread 02-27-2012, 05:49 PM   #6
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Yes all good suggestions above and I practice all of what you all have said. But I'm not sure I was able to make clear what I was asking. Basically I was wanting to know if it were unprofessional for me to tell a client that I did not want to do the event if they could not guarantee a minimum of 350 guest on this particular date.

I have spoke to the gentleman and he has guaranteed me 500 and said upon final count prior to event there may be as many as 650 so it looks like I will be doing it if they want me to do it and they talk like they do.

Thanks everyone
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Unread 02-28-2012, 07:53 AM   #7
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I thought what you said was clear. The answers you received were to me, clear as well. You get paid no matter what if you get the money up front.
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Unread 02-28-2012, 03:53 PM   #8
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Hi Gooose53, I'm sure it is me not asking the question correct but I am not worried about getting paid what I would like to know is if people think it is or is not professional for me to tell a client that on a particual date I am not interested in catering an event unless it is for 350 people or more.

The thing is on most any other dates I will cater for 50 people or more. But this one date I would turn a group of 100 away. So should I A) Cater by the guidelines of any other date or B) Tell clients that I am availible to cater the particular date for groups of 350 or larger only?

Would option B be considered unprofessional? One half of me thinks I should cater for any size group or none at all dates and one half says it is ok to require large groups only on a date of special interest and I just am wondering what others think.
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Unread 02-28-2012, 04:28 PM   #9
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Two ways to handle this. Be upfront with the client that if the final count will be less than 350, you are not interested. Second option is to price it so that the final count will not be below 350. For example, your pricing could be $10.00 per person (350 min) and $18.00 per person for less than 350. Either way you make the $$$$ you want.

Hope that makes sense. Personally, I would be upfront with the client and make him confirm, now, to a min guest count.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HBMTN View Post
Hi Gooose53, I'm sure it is me not asking the question correct but I am not worried about getting paid what I would like to know is if people think it is or is not professional for me to tell a client that on a particual date I am not interested in catering an event unless it is for 350 people or more.

The thing is on most any other dates I will cater for 50 people or more. But this one date I would turn a group of 100 away. So should I A) Cater by the guidelines of any other date or B) Tell clients that I am availible to cater the particular date for groups of 350 or larger only?

Would option B be considered unprofessional? One half of me thinks I should cater for any size group or none at all dates and one half says it is ok to require large groups only on a date of special interest and I just am wondering what others think.
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Unread 02-28-2012, 05:31 PM   #10
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I think when you firm up on the pricing for all scenarios, cover all bases, then the customer seems to take more of an interest when they know the cost changes. One never wants to run out or serve extra food that's pitiful just to serve something. Like boiled hot dogs or cocktail weenies when you just had brisket, pulled pork and other more substantial proteins. In answer to your question, I don't like to limit a customer to having to have so many. We do five to five hundred and just alter the prices. Never tell them your too good to have to have this or that, with the exception of good pay. Steve.
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Unread 02-28-2012, 06:33 PM   #11
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Hi, HBMTN. I'm not a caterer, but I am a consumer. I understand what you're asking, and I just want to tell you from a consumer's point of view that I would not think it unprofessional of you at all to require a minimum of 350 people for a particular date. Even caterers are allowed to take a day off once in a while for their own special purpose. If you're going to give up that special date, you have every right to put special conditions on it. I think any consumer should be able to see that logic.
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Unread 02-28-2012, 06:53 PM   #12
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I'm not a caterer, but I occasionally do photography on a per unit basis. I always insist on a guaranteed minimum. If you have other opportunities for the same date, it is even more important to have a contract for a minimum fee.

Hope that helps.

CD
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Unread 03-04-2012, 01:21 PM   #13
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It's your business so you decide what you want to do and tell the potential customer. Just be upfront with them and explain you have a really important event on the date in question but that you would take the job on with a guaranteed number of meals - whatever that number may be. Then get it in writing and cook for that number of folks. If a smaller number of folks show up, no biggie. You got paid for the number of folks stated in the contract and can turn the leftovers over to the customer to do whatever they choose. As for shortages, with the contract, you don't have to worry again. Your client should have done a better job of RSVPing to make sure he quoted you a good number.
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