Am I on the right pricing track?

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by bakinglady18, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. bakinglady18


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    Professional Pastry Chef
    Hi there!

    I have a party to cater to for 100 people. It is the kickstart of my business. I have been postponing starting it for 2 years, and this person who knew my work already, asked me to cater for her birthday party.

    I have 9 items on the menu. Everything is gluten Free and finger food. 

    The menu as requested by the client consists of: mushroom Tartlets, smoked salmon/cream cheese barquettes, dried tomato mousse bruschetta, open face cucumber sandwiches, feta pesto and tomato in puff pastry shell, brazilian style corn bread, meringue cookies, fruit salad, lemon tarts. 

    My cost is running at 2.84 per serving (food+ my hours +overhead). The software I use, suggests a price cost of 6.84 . Which I thought I too low (I don't consider my labor profit), so I raised the price to 9.00. I am still debating hiring someone to help me. It might be too ambitious, but I think I can do it all by my self. (the day of the party I have 4:30 hours to assemble and arrange the food). 

    So, the total price is running at $995.90 (tax and $20.00 for using my platters, trays, etc - is that a good price, or should I charge more/less?)

    If I should hire some help, how much should I pay the other cook? For my hours I am charging 20.00 (is it too much/ too little?).

    I need to give them a quote this week (the party is at the end of july), and I would deeply appreciate all the insight I can get from ya'll.

  2. chefedb


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    Retired Chef
    Your menu as it reads is not gluten free(puff paste, tartlets, barquettes,tarts)  Price seems fair but not a great money maker.
  3. flipflopgirl


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    Retired Hospitality
    IMO you should have help because it is good to have a shoulder to cry on when you drop a platter or the main dessert lol.

    Seriously tho... if nothing else the extra pair of hands is easier to send home early than to try to find in event you really need them.

    A high school kid who helps mom in the kitchen can do some prep and help carry heavy trays.

    Speaking of trays how many, what size and how much does the rental place charge for a comparable item?

    How much to replace?

    Deposits are good things and even if this was my brother's do I would add them in.


    Because he catered a crawfish boil at my house 4 years ago and I still have one of his bowls.

    Keep forgetting to stick it in the car.

    Maybe today....  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif


    Pricing IDK...

    There are lots of lengthy threads on here that touch on all the ins and outs.

    Why is your labor not a profit?

    Just curious.


    (edit because I spelled crawfish with a y... how embarrassing)
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  4. bakinglady18


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    Professional Pastry Chef
    Hi chefdb, the menu is gluten free. Including the pastries. I am making. Gf versions of them.
    Thanks for the insight. I do know a kid that is willing to work with me. At least the prep part. The client plans in having the food "displayed" so guests are free to serve themselves. The trays are my personal silver trays. Family heirloom stuff. Not big, they are tea trays sizes. Mainly for dusplayibg the food. Also thank you flipflop girl for the help. I appreciate.
    I also did change some of the numbers, and quantities of savory vs sweet items and came up to a total of 1600somethig . .. tax included. With that number i have about 1000 profit. I am wondering if i am on the right track. I don't want to be too greedy! This is a first catering gig i do. And my min bizz is actually only baking, thus i have all these questions.
    Thank ya'll
  5. elitecatering


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    Professional Caterer
    I'm not sure of the demographics in your area. I would think $1 to $1.25 per item is the going rate per serving of Hor d'Oeuvre in most areas of America. So with 9 items the $9-12 per person range is fair. You said you changed some things up, so not sure of final menu. Gluten free flours and doughs will be a little extra.

    Food cost times three, divided by # of guests, is the catering gold standard which will still put you in the $9-12 range if your food cost is $300-400.(again, variable depending on area)

    One another note, smaller serving plates require more refilling. So hiring a helper is a good Idea. Go with $10-15/hr. depending on the amount of work involved. Are they cooking or just helping serve? I pay $10/hr. for set up and service (+split tip if applicable). $15 for a cook that truly knows what they are doing without my help. I pay myself around $40./hr with that formula, but I do most cooking by myself. I agree with flipflopgirl, if something does happen, it's nice to have someone to keep everyone, including you, cool.

    I live in a small city in Pennsylvania with 12,000 people plus a gated community of about 3,000. So it's a mix of incomes. If I was buying, the $1000-1200 with tax included would sit better with me than $1600 for self serve apps. Check the competition to see if that's about right and adjust accordingly, but I'm sure it's in the ball park.

    Hope that helps,

    Chef Dee