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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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Old 06-15-2009, 04:03 AM   #1
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Default small catering job nightmare

Hey boys (and girls) just did a 41 person wedding that turned out to be a pain in the ass. Served tri tip, chicken breast, artisan salad, chinese chicken salad,baked beans, brocolli caulliflower (too tired to spell check)rolls and butter and coconut chicken and beef kebab appetizers and a sampler of hot wings. Here is the kicker she tells me when I am there that she will be giving me a menu of what each individual person wants. Here is what it looked like.

Tri-tip rare med welldone

bbq chicken


bbq beans

chinese chicken salad

(they circled what they wanted on the menu)

They had to circle if they wanted tri (rare, med or well) and what ever they wanted, some got just chicken and beans others got everything. Everyone cherry picked on the food. They just handed me a stack of menus with names on it, and my server had to yell out the name one by one, as I served it. I learned my lesson I serve buffet style you get what you want and thats it. Any one else have problems like this.?
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Old 06-15-2009, 04:23 AM   #2
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:16 AM   #3
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The lessons best remembered, are the lessons that created the most pain.

Catering is a million dollar education---stuffed up your backside---one nickel at a time
And that can be a pain in the ass.

Thank God it was a small event. Thank God that you were professional enough to handle it.
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:31 AM   #4
somebody shut me the fark up.
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This is why you spend the time and the dime by working out a detailed contract. Any deviation gets a change order and you charge for that. If they are going to be a pain, they are going to have to pay. The way you did it sounds like a nightmare.
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:41 AM   #5
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somebody shut me the fark up.
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You originally agreed to this?
What did you charge per person?
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:23 AM   #6
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that is one reason any wedding gets a minimum upcharge of 20&#37; over my already outrageous prices<lol> ---bridezilla
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:32 AM   #7
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Yes what did you charge for this?
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:00 AM   #8
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:02 AM   #9
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I make it clear as day that I am serving buffet style. If the customer wants something different it has to be discussed way in advance. Sucks that happened to you on such short notice.

What did you charge if I may ask.

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Old 06-15-2009, 09:35 AM   #10
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LOL! I would never have agreed to that. Contracts are made to keep things civil.

Just recently, I was in negotiations for a wedding and after they filled out a questionnair on what they wanted or didn't need, I sent them a quote. The soon to be husband responded that I won and to call him back. Once I did, he decided to verbally add table serving to what we agreed to previously. I stopped him in his tracks and explained to him that he did not want that. He responded by saying, he did, but I must be too small of a business to handle it. I replied, NO. You stated that you did not want table service in our e-mails and I quoted you accordingly. If you wish for table service I would gladly send him a revised quote. Of course, my contract would have put the cobash on changes as well.

I did not get the job. It didn't matter, because I felt he was just trying to goat a caterer into doing something for nothing. Be on your toes and get your terms on paper (contract).

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Old 06-15-2009, 12:39 PM   #11
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Yep, huge difference between buffet and table service. As a guest, I would rather have a buffet.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:48 PM   #12
somebody shut me the fark up.
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As the other have written, Everything needs to written out in a contract and signed.

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Old 06-15-2009, 01:51 PM   #13
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$25 per person and you guys are right a contract is the way to go.
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:21 PM   #14
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Buffet service is the only way to go for catering, at least as far as we are concerned. Our local chamber of commerce sent us a request for a quote for their annual awards dinners, table service. We declined to bid on that one. My lovely step-daugher just got married last week, it was a very high-end event, and even that one was buffet service for the reception dinner. No, we did not cater the reception, just the rehearsal.

The contract is the most important tool of communication. I have learned that when people start asking you to do "just one more thing" I start adding those things and the labor costs to the contract. I used to bend over backwards to more than was contracted for and my staff almost mutinied

I made a last minute, small change to the menu for a reception we are catering this weekend, but only because it was an option for that particular item when we first set the menu and wrote the contract.

P.S. I have often been asked about cake cutting duties. Some caterers charge an amazing amount for cake cutting. I tend to give them a good deal, since I would be there anyway while my crew is normally cleaning and packing while I cut the cake. But still, put it in the contract!
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Last edited by Marsha; 06-15-2009 at 10:39 PM..
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:08 AM   #15
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thanks for the input Marsha. Nice to have seasoned caterers to talk to
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