gah, ...what to do

Joined Apr 3, 2008
I just got a phone call from a lady who attended a trail ride and BBQ dinner for 80 people I "catered" for a local non-profit that my wife works for. She wanted me to cater her 25th wedding anniversary for 200 people. I am not a caterer, 80 people was hard and my wife was helping me. I am more a line cook that does Private Chef stuff on the side. Still this is the third offer of 200 or more I have had to turn down since that BBQ back in Sept.

Should I just be flattered and consider myself coming along or should I be trying to jump at these ad make it something bigger. i could use the money thats for sure, but i am worried about issues like equipment , legal kitchens , good food supplys employees, insurance.... gah where to start


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I'd pass. But I have no professional aspirations in the cooking world. Lousy hours and I'm not a customer service kind of person.
Joined Jul 28, 2006
This is a marvelous compliment to your abilities. But you've said you're not keen on doing it. Since this has happened a number of times, you might consider having a couple if professional caterers to refer. You never know when a favor may come back to you. Preparing, storing and serving for 200 people requires space, equipment and staff. Not to mention the possible legalistics involved. :look:
Joined May 26, 2001
Yes, it's very flattering to have people want you. But it sounds as though you feel unprepared to handle this from the business side. If catering is something you really want to get into, you should do what you can to learn that part.

In the meantime, if you really want to take this job, do you know any caterers you can ask for advice? I'm no caterer either, but when I did a dinner in my home for almost 75 people, I asked those I know to recommend an equipment rental company. I also bought some product from a purveyor I knew from my restaurant days. (I still had to pay retail, but at least I knew they had what I needed and could deliver.)

Finding a legal space is a little more complicated, but you could ask local churches, schools, etc. if they would rent you space when you'll need it.

But if you feel totally unprepared to take the job, see if a caterer you know and trust will give you a finder's fee for bringing this client to them. This goes a bit beyond what amazingrace suggested. It's certainly worth something to them to have a client brought in without their having to work for it. Of course, you'll have to explain to the lady. And maybe the caterer will let you moonlight with them, not necessarily doing your own menu, but at least learning the business some. Who knows, it might be a chance to do additional $$ work in the future, while you learn the business.
Joined Mar 21, 2008
Catering BBQ is not easy and makes for a long work day. I always cooked on site(side stepped the health crap that way) and by the time I set up, cooked, tore down and loaded it was a 30 hour day. Worst cater was 200 people solo.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
Thanks for the replies everyone and I pm'd Pete with my e-mail though I think it's available in my profile as I am always up for being invited to dinner from anybody here. Suzanne and AmazinGrace are right. I should be in contact with more of the local caterers, as both a possible part time employee and possibly make some ducats via a finders fee. I suppose even alternatively they might chuck some more work my way in small parties they don't want to do...? hmmm
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Sounds like a plan, and a good one at that. If you can work with an experienced caterer, learn how to run a business from the inside out by doing, asking, watching etc, that'd work I reckon.

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