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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 09-21-2007, 08:20 AM   #1
jdub
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Default Question for pro caterers..

I have asked a couple caterers this question and have never gotten a real straight answer-I guess the idea is a bit foreign but it makes perfect sense to me. I ask only for knowledge-to those in any food business A tip of the hat from me, not my bag.

Here is what I see. A"regular" caterer has money invested in kitchen gear, staff, and gear to move food. The "real barbeque" people have their money in a giant iron tube on a trailer.

A "regular caterer" is going to be hard pressed to create the good barbeque to go along with the other good stuff that they do well on their menu

Barbeque guys do the standard barbeque sides and what not, but they are hard pressed to come up with the fancy stuff, the froo froo tables, liquor, good deals on tents, inside line on entertainment, lighting, etc etc.

So, my thought is, if you are a nicely stocked barbeque guy/gal, why not offer your services to "regular caterers"? They create a menu that incorporates some smoked/ grilled meats, plus they do all the other stuff they do well, and there you are with your 20 foot long custom smoker wowing the crowd.

It seems like a great win/win to me. Neither side of the equation has to fool with something they don't do day in and out. I guess the only question is (as it must be), is the money there? Can the caterer get enough scratch for an event like this to be able to pay the "smoker guy" enough to make it worth his while?

What say you?
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Unread 09-21-2007, 08:40 AM   #2
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For the most part the reason this doesn't happen big time is the local Health Department rules and regulations, in order to supply you would need a HD inspected and approved commissary, and most HD rules state that it can't be in a residential situation.

In other states bbq caterers are not actually "caterers", they are personal chefs, or independent cooks, they either have to buy the day of the gig and prepare on site or only cook on site the food supplied by the client.

In order to get around these rules and regulations , you basically have to become a bbq restaurant, and if you are going to become a bbq restaurant why would you supply your goods to another restaurant in the same area that you work, so they can compete with you using food you supply them with at a lower cost?

There are some have arrangements with bars and markets to supply bbq on site, but it is normally in places where the rules "are" being followed. It doesn't take much , miss handling the food by one person, to have the HD on your case for breaking the rules, and a single uninsured loss will wipe out every penny you have ever earned.

Just my take on the situation, I'm not a bbq caterer, nor have I ever played one on TV or in a forum!;)
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Unread 09-21-2007, 10:01 AM   #3
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We cater, and do offer "contract" cooking as an option to select customers. For example, there's a private club with their own kitchen, staff, and chefs. Their membership wants to have a barbeque for 400-500, but don't have the fabulous equipment to tackle the job. Here's where we come in. They supply all the meat and materials to our specs. We bring the pit and cook. They process the finished products, and serve it. The times we have done it, our experience has been pretty good. Like everything, there's advantages and disadvantages. You know what you're getting into upfront.

We don't offer this for the Smith Family Backyard BBQ for 50-75 people.

The HD rules and regulations are tough, as they should be. They don't mess around. Once they get to know you and realize you are following the requirements, they turn out to be pretty good people.

And insurance is a solid investment. We wouldn't think of cooking without it. It expensive, but so is getting sued if anything goes wrong.

If your goal is to make money, it would be a tough sled to make it cooking for other caterers, and the like. There's just not enough of a margin to have it marked up twice, before anyone takes a bite....
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Unread 09-21-2007, 10:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
If your goal is to make money, it would be a tough sled to make it cooking for other caterers, and the like. There's just not enough of a margin to have it marked up twice, before anyone takes a bite...
There you go!
Basically a loser sounds like eh?
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Unread 09-21-2007, 09:32 PM   #5
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You have to be very careful with this. If something makes someone sick your insurance company may ask that the "cater's insurance" take care of it, And thier insurance may try to blame it on you and want you to take care of it. You can also run into problems if the "other" foods or services that are provided are not up to par. It could reflect back on you even though your end of the bargin was just fine.
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Unread 09-21-2007, 09:40 PM   #6
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I only cook meat for select people. If someone that knows someone wre to ask me to cook a holiday turkey, I would dirct them to the nearest deli. However, if a close friend that doesn't have the equipt or know how asked me to cook a few ribs for them, I would.
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