Help Please! Catering a Christmas party for 30



I am new to the catering business and I need some help! I am catering a Christmas party for 30 people. How do you figure out how much to charge? I have figured out my food costs but I don't know where to go from there! I want to be fair but, I need to make a profit as well!

Thanks for your help!
Joined Apr 3, 2010
 A number of ways. Take your food cost x  3 and add your time by the hour.

If there are rentals involved add that in or charge client separate for rentals chaffing dishes, linen etc.

Mileage cost of shipping has to be calculated . Additional labor required.  There are many ways and many factors. Type of catering upscale,mid class etc. Location affluent or middle area.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
In many cases its just as easy to do 60 or 90 as it is to do 30 for a catering. There is money in numbers when it comes to catering, You have to do all the running for the food, prep, setup, serve, knock down and clean up, and then have a few cocktails. The problem with taking all this into account is, the client, in most cases can't see it, why does it cost so much, like your time isn't worth anything and you should do everything for fee. I always figure my time at $100 an hour when everything is said and done. In many cases this is hard to do at $10 to $20 a plate, but then again a small catering is hard to make money on. If I'm catering a lunch, the amount of my time is less, if I have a 5 course dinner, it could be 12 to 15 hours involved at a cost of $75 to $125 a person. There are two many variables for a stock answer, give more details on menu, shopping, prep and so on...............Take care.............ChefBillyB
Joined Apr 3, 2010
How to make a lot of $ in the catering business? The secret is tremendous VOLUME. The place I ran in New York did 17 million a year in banquet only with a volume so large that our food cost in season based on total sales was believe it or not 11%. This was in the 1990 s.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
One of the ways to break down pricing....

Food-don't forget garnishing platters & table decorations if you are going full service route....or disposables cost, they will eat you alive if you don't add them in.....

Beverages-ice, pitchers, cambros, glassware, napkins, garnish, etc....

Event Labor-aka many newbies low ball the time it takes to work an event.

Rentals-equipment used at the event (yours & the rental company)

Some caterers price by the piece, some per is finite  & one is fairly open.

When bidding on a gig, it's good to know who the guests are, what the budget is (you can guide this many times), where it's going to be held, timing.....this is very important and can be a way to manage costs ie buffet is out for 1 hour, then dessert instead of 4 hours or the total length of a party......what their vision is.
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