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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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Unread 10-27-2008, 10:23 AM   #1
Rightstuff
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Default Vending Prices: What do you charge?

My wife and I have contemplated vending for several months. I don't want to pull numbers from my a$$ like somebody else (Don't worry Mrs. Mista, I want say names )! but I would like to keep it in line with the current market. So what do you all charge?

PP Sandwiches
Brisket
Sausage
Ribs
Chicken
Beans
Other sides
Drinks
Misc
Etc
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Unread 10-27-2008, 01:09 PM   #2
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You need to put this all into perspective. Unless you have a restaurant that continuously prepares food, each and every job will be a days work...at least. Therefore regardless of how many folks you are cooking for, you need to decide what a days work is worth to you. I have my price set and I take the cost of the food and add that figure to it. That doesn't mean that I will not do favors when cooking for friends or family, in fact we probably do that for free on most occasions.

Another thing to think about is trying not to undercut the competition, there are many folks who do this for a living. If you lowball them you might be ruining the local catering market. Another thing to think about is that your food is hopefully better that the local BBQ joint, so obviously you should charge more.

In the end, if you need the money, you might be willing to work for less money to get the job, but if you do, you are probably losing money and sleep and wearing out your family members.

As far as costs go, on each and every job you should install a wear and tear on your pit cost, say $100. I use $150 myself. You can also go to duckybobs.com and use their price list, that is what I do. I learned that from another caterer.

I catered two jobs this weekend, one was a freebie almost ($8 a head (20 persons) delivered, just brisket beans and taters in three aluminum half pans) and only because I made too much food for the other one and they didn't have as many guests as they figured on having. The other was to have 160 folks (I found it was half that on Wednesday after I bought all of my food) and I was doing ribs as well as PP, brisket and chicken, plus beans, taters, ABT's, peach cobbler and brownies. They ended up only having 90 folks show up due to the TCU game. My charge was $15 a head with a minimum $1500. In the end I like to add $1000 to my costs for a job. Then there are always things I forget, this weekend it was aprons and bottled water, so my profit was just under $1000, but I also have 9 racks of ribs leftover still frozen as well as two briskets and a chicken, plus several cans of beans and other misc...

You learn a little more on every job. I used to make my sauce, now I just buy it, less work and you know the exact costs. Any thing that I don't have to buy adds to my bottom line too. My one problem I still have is I cook way too much food mainly because I do not want to take the chance of disappointing, plus it works for me and I am as busy as I want to be.

All in all a successful weekend, but my wife and I were whoooped (we got there at noon because as we all know ribs are time consuming, but left for a few hours after getting them on the smoker). My wife and I both have great jobs during the week and this is still our hobby. We probably got a few jobs out of this one and stayed around for several hours afterwards drinking beer and listening to the band. (BTW, thillen works with a guy in the band so we had something in common and they also invited us to their holloween party next weekend) There were only about 12 guests left after 9PM and we didn't get out of there until 11PM. Networking with a twelve ounce I call it!

I also feel the need to add that when catering, you need to know that you are the hired help and by charging appropriately, it is so easy to say yes sir.

Our attitude is that nobody does it better and we make the best food and we always toss out the very best there is to offer. I was saying to my wife this morning, "It is so hard for me to do those catering jobs because I have a big mouth and have a hard time just saying thank you and leaving it at that" She just laughed.

back to the original question and away from my big mouth and big keyboard....Prices, well one way to check them is to go online.

http://www.coltersbbq.com/catering/catering.htm
http://www.sonnybryans.com/catering_menu.aspx
http://www.dickeys.com/catering-fullservice.aspx
http://www.shadyoakbarbeque.com/trad...ering_menu.htm

should you charge more....you are damned straight.... if you feel you are up to the task that is.

Like I said, based on these kind of prices.... hard work and very little money. I can also tell you that if you haven't cooked for 100-150 before, you are apt to find out that you have a job ahead of you. Plus I have three refrigerators and a full size freezer. All of that stuff costs money and you need to somehow add it to your prices. I am looking to get a full sized 6- burner commercial stove.... LOL

I included a copy of the list I used from this weekends catering job. By doing the little $8 a head job I was able to keep my profit at over $1000.

The attachment is from my catering job this past weekend. The orange indicates I didn't actually buy those items because I had them on hand that said, I still needed to apply a price to those items. Off to the side I added the costs that duckybobs would charge just to compare. I would work something like this up if you plan on doing catering.

Hope I didn't wear you out with my long winded answer! I will be amused to know what other folks who cater think of my statements??? I know you asked about vending, but this is as close as I get.
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File Type: xls example bbq.xls (27.0 KB, 29 views)
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Unread 10-27-2008, 01:16 PM   #3
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Wow! Lots of great info there!

Does the same info apply to vending? (Shhh...don't tell Tony that's what the question was originally about. )
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Unread 10-27-2008, 01:20 PM   #4
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Next weekend we will be charging

$6 sandwich
$8 sandwich combo (chips and soda)
$12 dinner (1 meat, two sides, bread)
$14 big dinner (2 meats, 2 sides bread)

We're serving Pulled Pork, Chopped Chicken, St. Louis ribs, Tri-tip and Links. Sides are Tater salad, coleslaw and beans.
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Exodus 29:18
Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD.

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Bigmista Custom Spicewine Trailer - Olivia J. PIMA
Large and Medium Spicewines
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Remembering Scott
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Unread 10-27-2008, 01:20 PM   #5
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LOL thanks big...... hehe "see the last paragraph"
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"Grilla in the Pits" "IMAGRILLA"

There's plenty of room for all of God's creatures.
Right next to the mashed potatoes.

Brinkmann Model 6668 Gasser
Hibachi Grill
Stumps GF223 w/ Stoker assist
ECB that wins the $
Weber One-Touch Gold 22-1/2"
#3 Komono
Large BGE w/ Stoker assist
55 gallon Drum Smoker
Wood Crate Cold smoker w/ smoke injector
No need for certification, I already know good BBQ!
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Unread 10-27-2008, 01:25 PM   #6
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All in all, I wish I could stay away from ribs, they are darned time consuming, that said, if I was smart, I would just do plain dry smoked ribs and let the customers sauce them.... but they are my specialty and I couldn't not do it. Ribs also take a full time person which means you can't do anything else. Then again they enable me to charge more as a whole.
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"Grilla in the Pits" "IMAGRILLA"

There's plenty of room for all of God's creatures.
Right next to the mashed potatoes.

Brinkmann Model 6668 Gasser
Hibachi Grill
Stumps GF223 w/ Stoker assist
ECB that wins the $
Weber One-Touch Gold 22-1/2"
#3 Komono
Large BGE w/ Stoker assist
55 gallon Drum Smoker
Wood Crate Cold smoker w/ smoke injector
No need for certification, I already know good BBQ!
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Unread 10-27-2008, 01:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony76248 View Post
LOL thanks big...... hehe "see the last paragraph"
I guess i was just dazzled by all of the info before that line.

*going to stand in the corner*
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Wait! Bigmista wrote a cookbook?

Exodus 29:18
Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD.

God loves BBQ!



Bigmista Custom Spicewine Trailer - Olivia J. PIMA
Large and Medium Spicewines
Weber Ranch Kettle - E.T.

Remembering Scott
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Unread 10-27-2008, 01:42 PM   #8
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Tony, thanks for the info. Much like yourself, we have great jobs during the week and will do vending on the weekends. My wife has catered for the past 10 years and I got a whole new respect for food service when she asked me to "help" a few times during large events. I realized; real quick, just how much work goes into pulling off these events.
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Unread 10-27-2008, 01:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmista View Post
Next weekend we will be charging
$6 sandwich
$8 sandwich combo (chips and soda)
$12 dinner (1 meat, two sides, bread)
$14 big dinner (2 meats, 2 sides bread)
We're serving Pulled Pork, Chopped Chicken, St. Louis ribs, Tri-tip and Links. Sides are Tater salad, coleslaw and beans.
Thanks Bigmista!
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Unread 10-27-2008, 02:26 PM   #10
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This WAS a vending question....wasn't it???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmista View Post
Next weekend we will be charging

$6 sandwich
$8 sandwich combo (chips and soda)
$12 dinner (1 meat, two sides, bread)
$14 big dinner (2 meats, 2 sides bread)

We're serving Pulled Pork, Chopped Chicken, St. Louis ribs, Tri-tip and Links. Sides are Tater salad, coleslaw and beans.
Great menu Neil but WOW, highway robbery!! j/k
Chips and soda for $2 more?

The idea of a combo is to get more for a better price.
Pop costs me .40 and chips .20 so we go a dollar more for a combo. I would think people would think your ripping them off for 2 dollars more.

You need to see whats going in your area.
It's pretty sad here in Michigan, but i still want to sell them PP sammies, so we go $4.50 for a sandwich and a dollar more for a combo....sell out almost every time.
A rib snack (3 bones) goes 5 and 6 dollars and we sell out!

We wanted to get our name going and did!
Will probably up our prices next year, so take a look around and see what your area will spend for good BBQ!
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Unread 10-27-2008, 02:33 PM   #11
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What Tony doesn't also mention thats needed for vending.....

HD permit and inspection.
Check your municipality where your vending, they may require a seperate permit or just a fee.
Where are you vending? There may be a charge for the spot!
Insurance.........Million minimum!!

Still want to vend??

Good luck bro and ask questions anytime!
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www.operationbbqrelief.com
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Unread 10-27-2008, 02:40 PM   #12
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I've got a party this comming Saturday for 80 people. Pulled pork, chicken thighs & breast tenderloins, rollls, sauce, slaw, and beans. They are supplying the tableware and I'm charging $12/person. Plan on having 15 lbs. of pulled pork, 14 lbs. of thighs (36 pcs.) and 12 lbs. of breast tenderloins.
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Unread 10-27-2008, 02:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
This WAS a vending question....wasn't it???



Great menu Neil but WOW, highway robbery!! j/k
Chips and soda for $2 more?

The idea of a combo is to get more for a better price.
Pop costs me .40 and chips .20 so we go a dollar more for a combo. I would think people would think your ripping them off for 2 dollars more.

You need to see whats going in your area.
It's pretty sad here in Michigan, but i still want to sell them PP sammies, so we go $4.50 for a sandwich and a dollar more for a combo....sell out almost every time.
A rib snack (3 bones) goes 5 and 6 dollars and we sell out!

We wanted to get our name going and did!
Will probably up our prices next year, so take a look around and see what your area will spend for good BBQ!

It ain't braggin' if you can do it, and it ain't robbery if they'll pay it! Here on So Cal, it's a whole different animal relative to what people pay (and will pay). Plus Neil "sells" it.
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Unread 10-27-2008, 03:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Rocke View Post
It ain't braggin' if you can do it, and it ain't robbery if they'll pay it! Here on So Cal, it's a whole different animal relative to what people pay (and will pay). Plus Neil "sells" it.
Ya, i WAS kidding.....

We actually hope to up our prices next year very close to that of Neils, now that we've made a name for ourselves!

And trust me, we can "sell it" too!
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Unread 10-27-2008, 03:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
What Tony doesn't also mention thats needed for vending.....
HD permit and inspection.
Check your municipality where your vending, they may require a seperate permit or just a fee.
Where are you vending? There may be a charge for the spot!
Insurance.........Million minimum!!
Still want to vend??
Good luck bro and ask questions anytime!
My wife and I sat down with the local HD this afternoon. I was amazed at how easy it all seemed to be. The inspector (only one inspector in our entire town) said that we can certify a vending/concession trailer for use as a comissary as long as we take it home each night and park it in a covered area with a concrete pad (we'll use our garage). She said we could store food in the trailer, or use a refrigerator in our garage as long as we didn't use the refrigerator for anything else. My wife has already taken the HD mandatory class since she already caters and is good for 4 more years. We are mainly looking at vending for fairs and festivals but have 3 great spots for weekend vending once the weather gets nicer. Haven't checked insurance yet, but I'm sure that I'm in for a surprise! The permit fee for our town is only $35.00.
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