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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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Old 07-22-2013, 01:16 PM   #1
Wandering around with a bag of matchlight, looking for a match.
Join Date: 07-15-13
Location: Titusville, FL
Default menu cost calculator

anyone have a good menu cost calculator that you can suggest? or a good formula? Thanks in advance
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:02 AM   #2
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Join Date: 07-05-13
Location: lewiston, ny

Add the total of the finished product being served that took to make it, rub, sauce, inj, don't forget the fuel (wood or charcoal) then double for price. Check out other BBQ places to price accordingly.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:17 AM   #3
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:04 PM   #4
is one Smokin' Farker
Join Date: 06-22-09
Location: Eastpointe, Mi

Total food cost, and the cost associated to produce it (charcoal, foil and pans if you use it, etc), and multiply by three. Adjust from there based on your circumstance and area.
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Old 07-23-2013, 04:13 PM   #5
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Join Date: 12-30-12
Location: Nuevo, Ca.

2x on the 3x costs. Dont forget to add in your time shopping, prepping and cooking.
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:41 PM   #6
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Join Date: 06-26-09
Location: sAn leAnDRo, CA

You can go one of two ways, ingredients x4 or total cost x3, both of these will give you an good basis. The beauty of this is that it allows for ingredients and costs to scale as you either change to more, or less, costly ingredients, or scale in volume.

I have found that unless you are meticulous and work alone, 2x does not account effectively for overhead, almost all industry studies will agree with that. I do not compare to surrounding restaurants, for two reasons, I don't know how well they are doing, and I don't know their food costs and margins. This holds true for what I do now, I never charge based upon what others charge, I charge what I am worth.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:05 PM   #7
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Join Date: 06-25-11
Location: SW Michigan

As everybody has already said, using 3x cost is a tried and true formula for your initial pricing. Clearly, adjustments will need to be made given your specific situation, the event, the travel, the number of people, etc. so there's no calculator out there that will ever give you the right answer for your event/situation.

Bottom line is, if you take your total costs for the event and multiply it by three, at the very least you're giving yourself enough margin to cover your direct costs, most of your indirect costs, and probably put a little money into your pocket at the end of the day. At the same time, every event is different, and if you have to drive 200 miles round trip with your truck and trailer, that's a lot of added cost compared to hosting something in your own neighborhood. So, you need to adjust your prices accordingly to account for event specific requirements.

So, add up your costs and then start at 3x. Factor in any unique requirements that might make that number go up or down. Then look at what is leftover and see if it's enough money to make it worth your time doing the event. I don't know about you, but I don't want to bust my ass for 12+ hours all said and done just to come home with 100 bucks in my pocket, so in my book that would be a net loss. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:23 AM   #8
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Join Date: 05-01-11
Location: Santa Cruz, Ca.

I tried a couple of different programs. None of them were really helpful. I created my own spreadsheet and over time have added/altered the formulas to where it's really useful. This year I added a grocery list to track food costs and to update all my menu item costs.

It's too custom and wouldn't be very useful to anyone else otherwise I'd share.
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