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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 08-15-2018, 06:44 PM   #1
BruceB
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Default Catering 101 Class

The Great Lakes Barbecue Association is kicking around the idea of having a Catering 101 class aimed at those folks maybe already into comp. BBQ who think they might want to cater and at those who aren't in to BBQ but want to explore what is all entailed with catering.

I'm hoping you can help with some topics:
1. What would you have liked to have known when you started catering that you didn't find out until after?
2. Pricing, how to price your job?
3. Local regulations
4. Equipment?
5. If you were taking such a class what would you like to see or hear in the class, what's important to young caterers that you experienced caterers have learned?

The class will be taught by a former Comp BBQ cooker who has his own BBQ Catering business up here in Michigan.

Any ideas, suggestions, class topics, do's and don'ts will be appreciated. THANKS!
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceB View Post
The Great Lakes Barbecue Association is kicking around the idea of having a Catering 101 class aimed at those folks maybe already into comp. BBQ who think they might want to cater and at those who aren't in to BBQ but want to explore what is all entailed with catering.

I'm hoping you can help with some topics:
1. What would you have liked to have known when you started catering that you didn't find out until after?
2. Pricing, how to price your job?
3. Local regulations
4. Equipment?
5. If you were taking such a class what would you like to see or hear in the class, what's important to young caterers that you experienced caterers have learned?

The class will be taught by a former Comp BBQ cooker who has his own BBQ Catering business up here in Michigan.

Any ideas, suggestions, class topics, do's and don'ts will be appreciated. THANKS!
My only advice is you need to decide if charging $200-$300 (or less) per person makes it for you to do it. I proposed the same question on here last winter and the input that I received is that nobody wanted to pay competition price classes to advance their business way beyond the trial and error of learning as you go.

I could teach a class to new guys and gals entering the catering business and save them thousands of dollars and years or trial and error and hit the ground making bank compared to having to "Figure it out" on their own. I proposed an $800-$1000 fee for the class and was told that was ridiculous to pay to learn these things. I guess winning a trophy and walking across a stage is more important and worth those prices for a class. LOL
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Old 08-16-2018, 10:28 AM   #3
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I agree with HBMTN. I see some going to a community college for 2-5 years to get a "degree" and then see the schools say the starting hourly pay is a whopping $12.50 an hour. How long does it take to pay off a $20K student loan at that rate. If they would have acquired some "real world" training for $1,000 they could be off and running in a short time. Comp cooks need to ask themselves how much more profit they make, cooking comps, after spending the money for a class when they add in the total cost of attending.
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Old 08-16-2018, 10:44 AM   #4
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My thinking is that all the information is freely on the web (tips & tricks) that said, having it put together in one place at one time would be worth much more than $300.
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Old 08-16-2018, 01:11 PM   #5
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If there was one here in KC, as someone just starting out, I'd probably take it. The cost would be a factor, but we're really trying to get moving in the catering game and need to be prepared - we're signed up for a bridal show, things like that, and we're kinda still trying to "figure it out." We have to, or we're spending a lot of money on nothing.
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Old 08-16-2018, 01:45 PM   #6
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I would definitely take it if I could afford it. I'd much rather get some insight and tips from someone who's already been there than learn everything the hard way through trial and error.
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceB View Post
The Great Lakes Barbecue Association is kicking around the idea of having a Catering 101 class aimed at those folks maybe already into comp. BBQ who think they might want to cater and at those who aren't in to BBQ but want to explore what is all entailed with catering.

I'm hoping you can help with some topics:
1. What would you have liked to have known when you started catering that you didn't find out until after?
2. Pricing, how to price your job?
3. Local regulations
4. Equipment?
5. If you were taking such a class what would you like to see or hear in the class, what's important to young caterers that you experienced caterers have learned?

The class will be taught by a former Comp BBQ cooker who has his own BBQ Catering business up here in Michigan.

Any ideas, suggestions, class topics, do's and don'ts will be appreciated. THANKS!
I'm in as long as it's not Bubba

OK, seriously, the opportunity to learn from someone who has lived through the phases of starting a catering business would be great! I think the hardest part of the proposed topics is local regulations.Things change just going from county to county around here, so what the presenter may have experienced in Michigan may have no real use for me. But, if it were more general, like how to approach the health department, overcoming their objections, etc. than it would have value just about anywhere.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:43 PM   #8
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When we put these classes on, regardless if it's our Comp BBQ 101 class we have in the spring or this one that we're contemplating, we try to hold costs down for those attending. Our association always struggles with "what to charge", we have had classes that our Team of the Year teams teach and charge $200 for and we sell out every year and then we have brought in "big name" cooks who charge $700 and we sell those out also. What we strive to do is bring some quality information to people who may be veterans or may be rookies at a fair price and make it worthwhile for the presenter.
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:53 PM   #9
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I'll say this, after all my years of catering and knowing what I know now and knowing what I could teach myself or anyone else in a catering class and how many headaches could be saved and how much faster I could have become efficient and profitable I would easily pay $3000-$4000 for a 3-4 day class with some follow up coaching support for say 12 months after the class. Now someone who is starting out fresh will read this and think no way would I pay that. Let me tell you I could move to another state and start a fresh new catering business side by side with a "Newbie Caterer" and I would produce at least 500% more gross sale in 18 months than the newbie would and I would do it with less wasted cost. So if you start catering without a class and 12 months after opening you had $25,000 in sales but the guy on the other side of town took a $3000 class and he had $50,000-$75,000 sales after the same amount of time then I ask was it worth it? Nobody else here may agree with me but if you are going to spend $30-80k to start a catering business why not spend a couple $1000 to help you hit the ground running and make fewer mistakes.
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Old 08-16-2018, 06:03 PM   #10
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I'm hoping you can help with some topics:
1. What would you have liked to have known when you started catering that you didn't find out until after? Real world food prep quantities, how to market my business, what traps to not fall in, how to develop a timeline, tips for prepping and hot holding large amounts of food. How to close a sale and book clients, what my time is really worth, how and how not to hire help, oh gosh I better stop or I'll write a book.
2. Pricing, how to price your job? Most definitely
3. Local regulations Like stated above this may be a hard one to teach because rules are different everywhere.
4. Equipment? Yup
5. If you were taking such a class what would you like to see or hear in the class, what's important to young caterers that you experienced caterers have learned? I think I answered most of these in #1 but there is much more that could be offered.
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
I'm in as long as it's not Bubba

OK, seriously, the opportunity to learn from someone who has lived through the phases of starting a catering business would be great! I think the hardest part of the proposed topics is local regulations.Things change just going from county to county around here, so what the presenter may have experienced in Michigan may have no real use for me. But, if it were more general, like how to approach the health department, overcoming their objections, etc. than it would have value just about anywhere.
This. I would have no problem paying say $500 for an in-depth session on starting a LEGAL catering business. But like Ron stated, the issue would come in the form of the laws that not only vary from county to county but town to town. They are especially challenging here in the NW suburbs of Chicago and you never get a straight answer from the local health departments. It’s kind of like when people are learning how to cook. I can’t tell you how much money I would have saved (and how much better my overall “Q” would have been) from the start had I taken a cooking class from an “expert.” But I guess that trial and error part is half the fun. However, there is a lot more on the line when we’re talking a catering business. I hope it works out for your organization.
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Old 08-16-2018, 10:24 PM   #12
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Maybe you could do it online, I’d definitely take it.
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:21 AM   #13
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http://17bbq.com/blog/barbecue-class-content/

Mike and Amy Mills offer a catering class as well as a few other classes throughout the year. Dates vary each year.
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Old 08-21-2018, 06:09 PM   #14
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There are a lot of BBQ Folks out there that feed their comp need by catering including just selling the leftovers. Honestly, when I cater, I have the hardest time telling people prices. You end up finding out that the people that really like your food, want it for as little cost as possible. In fact, I just catered a wedding this past weekend. Menu was 2 meats, 3 sides, veggie/fruit trays and garden salad. it ended up being less then $10 per person. Was it worth it? Absolutely!
I'd like to see the following topics:
1. What made you do this?
2. How long did it take to make a profit?
3. recipe building
4. quantities
5. talking about price.
6. What to include in your price?
7. Best way to approach the local health authority (and if you have too)

I think there are many more then can be listed here.
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Old 08-21-2018, 08:16 PM   #15
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I just catered a wedding this past weekend. Menu was 2 meats, 3 sides, veggie/fruit trays and garden salad. it ended up being less then $10 per person.
This kind of proves my points above. I too started out simply to fund a few competitions by catering. After a few years of learning and realizing how hard catering is I decided to run my business as a caterer and not a barbecue caterer. There is a difference between the two and the difference is that most barbecue caterers tend to give their time away. Now back to proving my points from above, you said that you enjoyed catering the wedding and you only charged less than $10 per person. Part of a good class would be teaching how to charge for what you do and how to find the clientele who is willing to pay for your service. The average wedding that I cater our bill is between $60-$100 per person once food, services, labor, and ABC are all factored in. So a good class that costs as much or more than a competition class can be well worth the price. It just shocked me that when I tested the waters of interest in a catering class that the response I received was that $800-$1000 for the class was too much.
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