how much to charge for appetizers for 300?

Joined Dec 7, 2010
i need help, im need to cater an open house for 300 appetizers only.. how much should i charge her? i am the clients personal chef, only been with them a month so dont want to over charge. menu calls for beef tenderloin, tamales, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed jalapenos, chicken n beef empandas, plus desserts
Joined Sep 18, 2008
What time does it start (to determine how "hungry" the guests might be"?

How long will it last (to get an idea of the number of apps and prep/cook time)?

Is it a buffet or are the apps passed (more labor for the second)?

If buffet, single line or multiple separate stations?

You listed five (5) major apps plus desserts, at one (1) bite of each for each person, that's 1,500 plus, what, 600 desserts (assuming small bites)?

As a personal chef for over ten years, my "off the cuff" starting point would be around $6,000 ($20/person, if you quote the $/person, LOCK the headcount 2 weeks in advance!)). Given time to detail food costs, rentals, and labor costs, it might come out a little less, but probably not much less.

As a "rough guess", your food costs are going to be in the neighborhood of $2,000-$3,000 depending on your sourcing. Rentals might run upwards of $500 or so, and servers/helpers and kitchen help, depending on your area, might run upwards of, oh, $250-$400 per hour, probably with a four hour minimum so say $1,000-$1,600.

So, your "costs" are going to be somewhere around $3,500-$5,100. That doesn't leave a lot of room for your fees, $900 to $2,500 for two to three days work, or $300-$800/day, maybe.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Question is to vague to answer, to many variables. Who serves this waitstaff, bar, who pays that. You need a helper. Who sets up the premise. Me personally would only prep the stuff. Let them worry about the rest. You were hired as chef for a family  not caterer for the multitudes. I cook for 2 people lunch and dinner part time I charge $285.00 net FOR DAY NET .      THEY SUPPLY FOOD AND WINE,LINENS ETC.
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Joined Aug 11, 2000
Pete & Ed were right...

time of day

amount of time

are you making from scratch or buying premade?

Do you have equipment? cambros, platters, props, sign holders, shtuff....?

Yolanda, do you have large catering experience?  300 is a pretty big number of guests.

Minus the tamales, it reads like finger all you need are plates/napkins.....

Passed, you control the amounts more.....

$6000 is not out of the ballpark for this gig.....300 heavy aps typically 20-30 pp
Joined Apr 3, 2010

When I went to cooking school and did apprenticeships  over 50 years ago, I learned the basics of cooking. Then someone asked me to cater a church party for 150. I thought I was a hotshot an said yes .After the party I realized I lost my shirt, did not make a dime and basicaly worked 2 days for free. What I learned was worth it all. I realized cooking, and the  knowledge of the Catering Business were two different very distinct things. How to allocate and charge for time, overhead, and product as well as shipping is the most important part as the rest is easy. Just a lot of hours, Or as Caterers say many times at every party ,it's ""Hurry up and Wait""
Joined Aug 11, 2000
better to wait than be catching up all night.....underestimating staff or setup time ,to menu-event expectations is a typical newbie learning curve.
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