All Inclusive Fees-need help on pricing

154
10
Joined Jan 23, 2002
Okay, as a new caterer, I have a question regarding pricing an event. I have seen two different methods for pricing the service fee. This would be the fee over and above food, rentals, etc. One method had a line item for food ($ per person), beverages ($ per person), rentals, wait-staff then sub-total; a 20% service charge added to this then sub-total; then applicable sales tax. The other method must have included this service charge in the per person food charge using a 3x or 4x multiple per item cost, then listed beverages, rentals, wait-staff and tax. Is there a preferred method here? Also, do you ever price out individual hor d'oeuvres per person and let the client choose from a list to come up with a per-person charge or are you inclined to just put the menu together and price it as a total menu per-person. Is one way easier, more time-efficient etc.? Also, are tips normal/expected?

Thank you for your help. It seems that ever since I accepted my first event last week I have had four other phone calls for quotes. I'd like to atleast appear like I know what I'm doing from the get-go. :(
 
732
10
Joined Dec 12, 2000
That's usually for something like a three course meal, with a no host bar. Buffets are usually a bit cheaper.
 
232
10
Joined Jul 2, 2001
Why would you charge for both the wait staff and the service charge. I fold in my staff labor to the food price. The only time I would charge for labor as a separate line item would be if the customer wanted a lower staff to customer ratio. I use a 1-22 ratio for my events. This way we give much better service than our competition. Ihave found also that my customers like the fact that they know what their bill will be before hand as my price includes everything as I own my own materials for up to 300 people in both silver/bone china and stoneware/flatware. While you are new I don't know if I'd buy these things new but there are alot of auctions out there as unfortunately people fail lot in this business. No matterwhat buy quality and buy it once. Just my thoughts about it..... Good luck!
 
90
10
Joined Jun 13, 2002
our banquet staff gets minimum pay so the tips are what makes their paychecks, the charges are plus tax and plus gratuity, they split the tips according to how many hours they work, we sell packages at a flat rate or people can order ala carte, i have seen some places sell hor d'oeurves by the dozen and by the piece, we sell by the 100 pieces, for example, meatballs, 100 bucks for the 100 pieces, drumettes the same thing, the served dinners are by the person ++ or plus gratuity plus tax, does that make sence, if you surf the web yu can see what others are doing by checking out their menus and pricing, we also have per diem rates, which are quite low and almost always inclusive, the govt is cheap, hope this is of some help to you and good luck, find out how much your clients are willing to spend and go from there, the more they are willing to spend the more you can do for them;)
 
154
10
Joined Jan 23, 2002
Thank you for your input. I don't know why one would charge a service charge on top of staff, but that's what I saw. I just want to be sure that I am getting paid what I need for all my work involved in an event. I guess I'm just looking for some simple formula here to stick with from this point forward. F - what is the difference in your food price and your food cost? Do you consider yourself paid from this or do you add yourself as part of the staff charge that you roll into the food price? I'm almost clear, I promise :confused:
 
232
10
Joined Jul 2, 2001
I work my food cost/sell price at 4x That covers me nicely. I also pay my staff $11.00 - $12.00 p/h that way I don't have to worry about who worked what parties or what hrs. No I do not include my salery as part of the expenses as my check comes from my corpartion as a whole and not from food and beverage only. Although, generally there is enough there to do so.
 
154
10
Joined Jan 23, 2002
F,

That helps me out nicely. I didn't realize, though, that you have a salary coming from somewhere else. If you don't, how would you include yourself? I guess if the 4x cost covers your time while you're gathering/preparing all the food then would you just add on yourself on to the staff cost per hour for the day of the event or do you still consider this time spent part of the 4x? You see, so far I haven't had anyone balk at my prices, which are all-inclusive. So maybe I'm not charging enough. I'm sure that over time, I will become much more efficient in gathering/preparing these events so my margin will go up but I'm a numbers-girl and very anal. I don't want to find out in the end that I had a great time, busted my a__ but broke even. The websites help a little but of course you won't get an insight into things like this.
 

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