Have to cater food for 150 people

Joined Mar 4, 2017
Hi everyone! I'm new to the group and becoming an established independent caterer in chicago of puertorican favorites.
I was asked to give prices for several entrees either per tray or per person- i am still trying to figure that out as to which would be best.. ?

Its for a party of 150, requested entrees are-
-Steak and onions (bistec encebollado)
-puertorican rice (arroz con gandules)
-stewed chicken (pollo guisado)
-potato salad

Can anyone PLEASE give me any helpful tips calculating cost?
I did on my own and it averaged out to $10 per person for only food costs. And i want to make sure i did it correctly: for example, i multiplied cost per pound of steak xs 150 xs 0.333 + 5...
Thank you so much!
Joined Jun 23, 2015
Search the site for catering pricing read the threads then come back and ask what you did not learn.
Joined Feb 25, 2017
I'd say the first mistake is assuming 1/3-1/3-1/3 split in entrees.

Have you ever done pricing on catering for smaller events before? what method do you use there to set your pricing. 
Joined Feb 8, 2009
I would figure your using a cube steak for the (bistec encebollado) this could be a 4oz portion. The (pollo guisado) could be made with Chicken tenders so as to portion two pcs per person. With the rice and potato salad.

4 oz cube steak

2 chicken tenders 11/2 oz each. Then figure in what the rest of the ingredients cost for the stewed chix dish and the meat dish. The Rice and potato salad should be that high of a cost. I can't see you having more than $4 to $5 food cost in the meal not including paper products. That being said you could be around the $16 to $18 range per person. This is what I would would want for a catered party.
Joined Jan 31, 2012
What you will find, should you follow Jimyras advice and read some of hundreds of threads and posts

regarding catering pricing, is that you MUST plug in your own numbers--no one can do this for you. 

Sit down with pad and paper and list out your food cost, (and like Chef Billy, I think 10.00 sounds high,

I can feed 150 steak and chicken with 2 starches for much less than that too)

followed by all other expenses; fixed costs, rentals, variable costs (what youre providing) your labor,

any helpers labor, prorated expenses (insurance etc), Then add in your desired profit and divide

by 150 for $$ per head.

Again, the archives are chock full of posts covering all this in great detail.
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Joined Feb 25, 2017
very good input, thanks guys. would agree on the portions about that wt on the protein. tenderloins are pricy but would potentially save on prep to get cut into portions, I'd usually go with thighs, but those have been catching up to breast prices slowly too. the Ur-advice of reading posts and really getting your brain wrapped around the question is key. what is a portion. how many portions are required. what is the cost of that portion based on my recipe, scaled up to commercial quantities. and then plug in solid numbers for things ...

if you can get from your full-line distributor a 50# bag of rice for say $30 and you know you need a certain amount of it, ditto your price on cases of chicken, and ditto again on a full Round from your meat guy you can break down and turn into those cube steaks... then you can actually do the math. 

back to the point I was trying to make ... 

if you expect an even split on entrees you're in trouble, it won't ever be even thirds given the typical three options

if you are doing a 'buffet' rather than 'plated' you'll have harder time doing portion control, some people will eat only one item and heavily, others may try each thing, etc.

And one fear is that you run out before everyone has been fed and is satisfied if you mis-guess low (or you make far too much and food is wasted if you mis-guess high) ... that'll cause the host stress and reflect badly on you the caterer too.

most parties of this size for me have been wedding receptions, and for those I found it useful to:

make sure you have a solid number of attendees by a cut-off date that gives you enough time to tweak your ordering ahead of your prep and adjust prices if need be, and then make sure you "pad" that number a little in case there are day-of "+1"s or people who attend that didn't RSVP, or band/photographer etc. types that the hosts end up wanting to feed that aren't in the guest count. thinking about all of that up front makes the day of the event all that much smoother. 

hope that helps.
Joined Feb 25, 2017
Oh, yeah, right, that'd be an equally reasonable way of interpreting that statement... actually would make better sense as portion size. I think you're probably right. =-)
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