How much to pay for menu creation.

Joined Nov 5, 2010
How much should I pay a chef to help me develop my catering menu? Do I treat it as an hourly, or as a fee (and think of him as a consultant)?

Specifically, I offer 4-course meals. My clients have about 5 choices for each course (kind of like a restaurant menu). I would like to create 2 of these menus (a lower and a higher tier menu). I would need the chef to create menus that are consistent with my cuisine (American / French), and also provide recipes for each item.

Joined Sep 18, 2008
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the situation.

You own a catering business. You are the primary cook for the business. Correct?

May I inquire as to why you do not develop your own menu from what you cook?

What do you hope to accomplish by having someone unfamiliar with your cooking, clients, and your business create something that is such a strong part of your business?

If you explore this avenue further, I'm fairly certain you will find there is no adequate option to a fee based consultant and that will probably run into, um, a high four to five figure fee.

Of course, you might find someone to do it for less, but I certainly would not stake the reputation of my business on someone who is willing to.

Joined Apr 3, 2010
Are you the planner or the actual caterer??? If you are only the planner, the caterer should provide the choices of menu not you. Why not you? Because you wont be preparing it, he or she will. There should be no charge for this on the caterers part.

At least this is the way we always dealt with planners.
Joined Jan 21, 2011
Do you need help developing a menu that is easy to calculate food cost and profit? Do you just need someone to format your menu into a flyer or brochure?

Are you requesting an executive chef design your menu and hand you an owner's manual with recipies, how-to's and shopping lists?

Here is some advice:

1. Study what other catering outfits publish on their websites for some menu inspiration.

2. Sit down with your library of cookbooks, and just inspire yourself with the images and concepts.

3. WRITE DOWN what comes to you. What you feel would "work" for standard course elements - What you would want people to pick from as standard options?

4. Test all the items, nail-down your actual food/production/volume costs for each item. It takes time. You can't "wing it" and expect to make any money.

5. Come back and ask for a peer review/input/guidance/help/verification that your (YOUR) menu is well rounded, well balanced and well designed.

6. Go out and make some money. : )

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