basic food cost per plate

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by mimie, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. mimie

    mimie

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    I would like to ask how i calculate to get the charge for 1 plate for catering.How do i go about it please help?
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Mimie, this is a place for professionals.  I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are just starting out.  Your question seems to suggest that you are not yet running a full fledged operation yet.  With that, I can only offer you one bit of advice, and that is to survey the competition.  Once you've done that you can then figure out your costs and determine what you can charge.
     
  3. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Whatever you charge, it must be:
    • more than whatever it costs you to make it AND
    • less than what will stop people from buying it.
    What it costs you to make includes:
    • Food
    • Labor
    • Overhead (licenses, insurance, taxes, rent, utilities, etc.)
    What will stop people from buying it includes:
    • being too much higher than your competition
    The difference is your profit, if there isn't any profit, you go out of business.

    If you use rules of thumb such as divide your food costs by .33 or multiply your food cost by 3,4, or 5) without actually knowing and understanding your actual costs, be prepared for unpleasant surprises, either you will go broke by leaving too much money on the table or you will go broke by not having enough income.

    So, KNOW YOUR COSTS, FOOD, LABOR, AND OVERHEAD, and know your competition!
     
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  4. chefsaunders

    chefsaunders

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    after breaking down your cost per plate what does your percentage from the cost represent
     
  5. mikeswoods

    mikeswoods

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    We took our food cost and used a multiplier---based on the style of service and number of guests--

    for example---food delivered only--with disposable service ---or served sit down style with linens and china---same food cost---very different over head--

    and guest count---a group over 80 guest will have average and predictable food quantities--

    Below 80?  the smaller the group the less predictable the quantities needed--also--the handling--packaging and everything else goes up--it takes the same time to prep and pack food for 30 as it does for 80-----

    Start with 3.5--3,75,--4--4,25---for time consuming items--5---then track your actual costs when you land a job and see how the actual costs line up---
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
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  6. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    I might add that this method only works after much refinement--many people want that shortcut to avoid

    all the accounting of exact costs--but if you do that right off you're gonna get scrubbed. Only after many events

    can you start tailoring a multiplication factor into your estimates. And even then as Mike pointed out, it still VARIES.