Catering Packages- What should they include? What are most people looking for? Why is it better than

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I own a catering company in Sandpoint, Idaho. So many wedding coordinators and event planners have encouraged me to develop catering 'packages'. I currently design my menu ala carte style. There's plenty of variety without being too overwhelming and they can choose their own theme and price range. I'm unsure what to include in a package. Costs are what they are, so what exactly am I bundling and why is it a better value? Is it just that it's easier for the customer to understand?
 
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Party planners package and rent most of their stuff over and over (linens, chair covers, trays you get the idea) and they package in order to increase their total sales.

If you think it would catch some extra bizness pick their brains for a couple of themes but don't under any circumstances lower your prices.

In fact you may be able to increase the price due to the convenience factor.

It has been my experience no matter what the dish is most BTBs will ask for subs anyway.

Just sayin.

mimi

OBTW...welcome to Chef Talk!

Don't be a stranger, K?

m.
 
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In this part of the country a package usually is grouping foods that fall under the one price range. Say you had package 1, that would include a choice of 2 proteins and regular daily veges, starch. Hypothetical That package might run30.95pp, Package number 2 would be a step up in value. might include 2 proteins and maybe 1 fish, nicer vege selection and a good starch. That package might be 39.95, pp. And package # 3 would be an offer of your most upscale items. Maybe 60. ++ dollars pp.

I personally feel it takes a lot of pressure off the caterer. It would allow your Party Planners to offer packages and actually sell your product. They just sum up the client and get an understanding of what the clients budget is.  Recommend a package that might be in there budget. They sometime take on the responsibility of what choices of the package they picked. It also cuts down on your tastings. You may want the package 3 client in for an ala cart tasting.

If the catering does not do the wedding cake,and add ons,  They will contract with a bakery and ask for pictures in different price ranges. included in the package. The will also with other vendors ( ice carvers) (susi stationi) A lot of clients sometimes like to know they don't have to visit all the vender they might want.

We do wedding cakes, we dropped doing packages yrs. ago, but many do. I have a bunch of different packages from different venues.

I'll look tomorrow and I can send you them in a pdf.

Party planners always like to have as many sales tools as possible.  The perfect consultation is one where they can offer the client as many items and prices from valet to linens to achieve the goal in the first interview (closing the deal). We've found that in this economy (except the very upscale client) people are usually shopping by budget instead of quality.
 
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I hate packages. But we have them  because that is what the customer wants to see. Many wedding couples don't have a clue how to create a customized menu, don't want to think too hard about it and don't know what things cost. Packaged menus gives them a starting point and a better idea of how much they will be spending.  However, I also send them our complete menu, minus pricing, so they can see everything we have to offer and can customize a menu if they prefer that option.

We offer 3 buffet menus at different price points. Then we offer a plated package. And we offer a station package.

In these packages we include apps, dinner, dessert, soft drinks and coffee service, service staff. There are options to add rentals, upgraded food options, bar package or mixer package, bartenders, etc.

Hope this helps!

Gina
 
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 A big welcome from your neighbor down the road and around the corner in Washington State. I looked at your website It tells everything that is needed for a person looking for a catered affair. The problem I see the party planners having is  " Prices do not include service, rentals, taxes or gratuity." .........Looks like I'll finish in Red.........The problem with the party planner is, They don't realize that logistics change with every function. I have catered  functions on beaches in Hawaii that we had to carry big warmers down cliffs. The logistics are what most caterers screw up. They are to worried about getting the function and don't worry enough about how it gets done. The only way you can give them a package price is if you were an "ON" premise cater. The on premise price of every function would be in most cases a constant. I bet you must shake your head and roll your eyes on some of the requests you get. I always told my clients, I can do anything it's just a matter of how much you want to spend. I also make sure I have 100% accountability for what I have to do. I wouldn't worry about the party planners they have no idea what you have to go through to guarantee a successful function. The party planners I have worked with in the past knew what I could do, hired me because they knew it would be done exactly the way the client requested. Like I said, when I know whats expected of me and my company I take 100% accountability. I don't expect the party planner to interfere after that. ...........Good luck and have a great holiday season........Bill
 
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Thank you for sending this reply.  Just a couple quick questions.... obviously service fees would increase per the number of people. Have you ever included service fees in a package or do you just do 'food' packages. It seems like when people want a package, they're looking for that all inclusive price, I just don't see how it would be accurate right out of the gate knowing nothing about what the potential client needs.  Any suggestions helpful. Send any PDF's my way. Thanks again for your time and attention.
 
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Thank you for sending this reply.  Just a couple quick questions.... obviously service fees would increase per the number of people. Have you ever included service fees in a package or do you just do 'food' packages. It seems like when people want a package, they're looking for that all inclusive price, I just don't see how it would be accurate right out of the gate knowing nothing about what the potential client needs.  Any suggestions helpful. Send any PDF's my way. Thanks again for your time and attention.
It's all about logistics and the wants and needs of the client. Like I said, I could almost always give an all inclusive price to an on site banquet hall setting. I could never do the same for a off site function. Just think of something that happened to me while catering in Hawaii. We did a Luau wedding at our banquet halls on Oahu. The price was around $25 to $30. We got a call from a family member that wanted a Luau also. They wanted it at a remote setting on a beach. The cost quoted was twice as much as the in house Luau. People never understand the price of logistics involved in a catered affair......I would explain this to the party planers. I can't see how anyone can quote a fixed price on a function that changes on every event. It's not a constant so it can't be costed like it is..........Good

luck........P.S. just be good at what you do, don't worry about the party planners. 

I did have a set catering menu for a City center banquet hall that the CofC was houses at. That menu was only for the banquet hall because they provided everything except the food and labor. I could do it because it was always a constant. The only way I could see you doing something like this is to make up a few popular wedding menus. You can then figure the Meal coast, labor, linen & Napkin, wine glasses,water glass, chairs and tables, tax & tip. This would be the basic requirement. I'm not really sure what their looking for. This is also the other reason why I don't like party planners. I would rather sell and explain my goods to the person buying them.
 
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ChefBillyB gave you good advice. You can offer "basic" packages like we do, but all inclusive packages for an off prem event where location logistics are unknown is just not possible. Unless you want to go broke. And if you do decide to offer packages, I would put a blurb at the bottom saying something like additional costs may apply based on location. This covers you in the event you need more staffing, cooking equipment, etc. for a venue that is a nightmare to work. In off-prem catering, one size does not fit all. Gina
 
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This is all great advice. But additionally in my opinion, whether service packages are offered or not, in the end the contract needs to be customized to the specific event anyways--naming location,time, number of people, menu and any restictions etc., before things are signed and the deal is done. So even with packages it essentially ends up customized--they just help a little with the initial ballpark pricing.
 
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I own a catering company in Sandpoint, Idaho. So many wedding coordinators and event planners have encouraged me to develop catering 'packages'. I currently design my menu ala carte style. There's plenty of variety without being too overwhelming and they can choose their own theme and price range. I'm unsure what to include in a package. Costs are what they are, so what exactly am I bundling and why is it a better value? Is it just that it's easier for the customer to understand?
It makes it much easier for the event planers can shop your packages to your competitors.  They can drive down their costs (your profit) and make more profit themselves..  
 
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I own a catering company in Sandpoint, Idaho. So many wedding coordinators and event planners have encouraged me to develop catering 'packages'. I currently design my menu ala carte style. There's plenty of variety without being too overwhelming and they can choose their own theme and price range. I'm unsure what to include in a package. Costs are what they are, so what exactly am I bundling and why is it a better value? Is it just that it's easier for the customer to understand?
 
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