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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 01-18-2018, 09:29 PM   #1
HBMTN
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Default How'd your 2018 bookings going?

I have not raised prices in 2 years but I'm seeing a trend of wedding couples and other events too with lower budgets than in years past. Not sure what's going on how about you all?
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:46 PM   #2
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I'm new to the catering thing but I'm already seeing people with unrealistic budgets. One guy wants me to feed 300-350 people with an appetizer, pulled pork, chicken and two sides with a budget of $3000. I want the job just because it will get my name out there but it's going to take some finagling to get that to work.
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Old 01-19-2018, 10:14 AM   #3
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medic92- once you set your price too low it puts you in the cellar for your next job. All your client will be telling his friends is how he bullied you to loosing money. DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by medic92 View Post
I'm new to the catering thing but I'm already seeing people with unrealistic budgets. One guy wants me to feed 300-350 people with an appetizer, pulled pork, chicken and two sides with a budget of $3000. I want the job just because it will get my name out there but it's going to take some finagling to get that to work.


Poorolddan is correct however there may be a way to spin it to work to your advantage. If I were new I'd figure a way to take that gig just to get your name out there. The appetizer is what will kill you on that budget so maybe you can offer to do the event with legs and thighs on the chicken (cheaper cuts) and drop the appetizer. 300 for $3k maybe 350 for $3k no way. But just like Poorolddan said doing too much of that will doom you.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:56 PM   #5
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Poorolddan is correct however there may be a way to spin it to work to your advantage. If I were new I'd figure a way to take that gig just to get your name out there. The appetizer is what will kill you on that budget so maybe you can offer to do the event with legs and thighs on the chicken (cheaper cuts) and drop the appetizer. 300 for $3k maybe 350 for $3k no way. But just like Poorolddan said doing too much of that will doom you.
I was thinking more in terms of pushing him away from pulled pork and maybe consider pork loins. I could get enough loins to feed 350 for around $250 and that could clear up the margin enough to include the appetizers. I use boneless skinless chicken thighs for the chicken and it's pretty reasonable as well.

Side will probably be baked beans and cole slaw, which are two of the least expensive sides I have. If he wanted mac & cheese there would be an extra charge. My mac has heavy cream, three cheeses and bacon so I'd have to charge more.

He wouldn't try to bully me, this is a small town and I know where he lives.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:24 PM   #6
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I was thinking more in terms of pushing him away from pulled pork and maybe consider pork loins. I could get enough loins to feed 350 for around $250 and that could clear up the margin enough to include the appetizers. I use boneless skinless chicken thighs for the chicken and it's pretty reasonable as well.

Side will probably be baked beans and cole slaw, which are two of the least expensive sides I have. If he wanted mac & cheese there would be an extra charge. My mac has heavy cream, three cheeses and bacon so I'd have to charge more.

He wouldn't try to bully me, this is a small town and I know where he lives.
Butts for that job would run about $305 based on a 5oz portion @ $1.39lb. I think you will find that $55 doesn't go very far for apps for 350 people.
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:35 PM   #7
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$10/person is completely unrealistic, I agree with others above - take this job and they will tell all their friends how cheap you are. Hard to climb out of that basement after that.

I understand wanting to get your name out there - tough call. Food for 300 people is a lot of work - how much is your time worth to you?
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Old 01-21-2018, 03:16 PM   #8
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While not in the catering business yet, I do web site design on the side and it is true about entering the pricing cellar. You hook up a friend with a website and he will tell all of his buddies and his buddies' buddies what your rates are. And boom, you have a market you cannot get out of.
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:30 AM   #9
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Seems pretty low to me especially if you have to serve.
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:06 AM   #10
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Better to be known as the best, not the cheapest.
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Old 01-28-2018, 10:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medic92 View Post
I'm new to the catering thing but I'm already seeing people with unrealistic budgets. One guy wants me to feed 300-350 people with an appetizer, pulled pork, chicken and two sides with a budget of $3000. I want the job just because it will get my name out there but it's going to take some finagling to get that to work.
Will you also be supplying bread for PP sammies, plates and utensils, BBQ sauce? You need to consider you time and your expendables (Rubs, wood, charcoal, foil pans, etc...). Are you serving or is it buffet style? Are you doing enough meat for everyone to get their share of each meat? Are you setting up the tables and tearing down the tables? And so on and so on...
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Old 01-28-2018, 01:12 PM   #12
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Will you also be supplying bread for PP sammies, plates and utensils, BBQ sauce? You need to consider you time and your expendables (Rubs, wood, charcoal, foil pans, etc...). Are you serving or is it buffet style? Are you doing enough meat for everyone to get their share of each meat? Are you setting up the tables and tearing down the tables? And so on and so on...
It's all up in the air right now and he's now aware that his budget isn't going to get him much.

On the positive side, the venue he's booked has full commercial facilities so other than the smoker I'm able to use all their equipment for prep right on the premises. The price for that is included in the price of booking the venue so he's already paid that. They also take care of cleanup afterward so that's a huge bonus.

I can work within his budget, just not with exactly the meat he wants, and he's working on coming up with the exact menu so we can give him a concrete price. Our decision has been to give him the price we feel we have to have in order to be successful and if he chooses us, great! If not, there will be others.
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Old 01-28-2018, 02:43 PM   #13
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Best of luck to you. I hope he goes with you guys. It's pretty cool to get that first big catering gig (I'm assuming it's the first big gig). It can get stressful so hopefully you will have some help cooking.
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Old 01-28-2018, 03:34 PM   #14
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My Grandfather was a very good business man and I remember talking with him one day when I was in my mid-late teens when I would help him with jobs. He had bid a job, a fairly big job, we were at the house for lunch and my Grams said that the guy had called about the job and wanted him to cal back, these were the days before cellular phones. We have our lunch and after he goes to his office and soon emerges, my Grams asked how it went, he said that he wanted a lower price so he would not be doing the job.

As we were driving back to the job I asked him about it, and he said that it was not alot that he wanted off, but he had figured it to be fair for both parties, just as he figured every job so it was ok that he did not get it. I will never forget his next statement, " You can't afford to do every job, and if you are getting every job you had better check your pricing and your profit because you can't be the low bidder on every job."

This stuck with me and I have walked away from jobs over a few hundred dollars because that can make the difference of being here and being successful for many years.
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Old 01-28-2018, 04:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Best of luck to you. I hope he goes with you guys. It's pretty cool to get that first big catering gig (I'm assuming it's the first big gig). It can get stressful so hopefully you will have some help cooking.
If he goes with me I'll be happy but I've basically adopted the attitude ThunderAlley just described with his grandfather. If he wants cheap then he can go with Hy-Vee and their $9.50 a plate bid. My food is all homemade and I don't skimp on ingredients. I use cream instead of milk, real butter, etc...

I've got a job this Wednesday for 250 people. Pulled pork, baked beans, cole slaw and chips. First time I've cooked for over 200 but it's not exactly the most challenging menu.
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