How to price for wine and alcohol?

Joined Nov 5, 2010
Hi Cheftalkers! I'm a newcomer to the site and love reading all your insight on each other's posts.

To the point: I'd love your suggestions on how to build in the price of alcoholic beverages to my clean, FLAT per person fee structure. My base fee is $125/person for a 4-course meal. I'd like to charge additionally for the drinks -- in the same flat fee format.
  • Do I charge, say, $25/person additionally to offer 2 cocktail options? What is my cut-off point for how much people can drink to maintain profitability (say, as long as the one bottle of vodka lasts) -- and this is even the right way to approach the limit?
  • How do you treat wine? Do I charge a corking fee if the client buys their own wine? What service fee to charge to provide the wine myself? How to deal with a particularly expensive brand requested by the client?
Any input on how you deal with high-end services would be greatly appreciated! thank you!

Some background on my business:

I'm in the process of launching my catering/party planning business for high-end intimate dinner parties (5-15 guests). The service is offered at the client's home and features gourmet, seasonal 4-course meals along with gorgeous presentation (from the meal and plating to the table settings and decor/props). Think of me as something in between a personal chef and a party planner.

My goal is to simplify things for both me and my clients by offering a very clean and simple pricing structure. I charge $125/person for a 4-course meal -- and this includes everything from the ingredients to my time to the transport fee of doing on-site service. (There is an additional fee of $25/hour for an assistant if the party goes beyond 6 people).
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Wish I could get your prices here in Florida ! In any event I always figure my wines x3 my cost., my drinks higher. I do not charge corkage ,but due charge for server for wine(.theirs) mine the service included in price. My mixed drinks approx $7.50 per cocktail.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
$625, including food costs, buying seasonal local food, prepping, shlepping, site visit,decorations, cooking, serving, cleanup,equipment rentals?....

I'd include a minimum amount of hours for the staff....4-5 is typical. 

Others have a lot more experience with selling liquor.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
I don't know about the mixed drinks, but with wine it's pretty simple.  Just charge for the flight.  Also a lot of times your clients will want to supply the (very expensive) wine.  In these situations you should probably let them and just charge corkage and let them pour themselves.  There is nothing you can do.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
IMHO, there are to many variables to get involved in hard liquor, I would leave that up to the Host. I would get involved in the Wine and Wine pairing for each course. ........................The best.....................ChefBillyB
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Bonvivantinc. I used to cater many functions before I semi retired. In New York I ran a place that did in season about 40 to 60 assorted size and motive parties a week. At one time we were the largest social caterer in the US doing 17 Million gross annually. Glad ! I am semi retired could not do it now.
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