premier cater negotiations

Joined Sep 30, 2015
I have a catering business and currently rent out a kitchen. I have a great opportunity to work with a venue as there premier cater, or that’s what they call it. Basically my company would handle all of the food for the venue from menus, to décor from start to finish. What questions do I need to ask...? I have a few but what I want to know is how much % of each catering should go back to the venue, or is it a flat rate per event? Those are the questions that I really don’t have an answer for.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Sounds like someone either tried to make a go of running a multi use venue and couldn't make it work or is going to buy one and knows nothing about the biz and needs someone to rent it from them.

IMO you need to get a lawyer involved and not ask advice of a bunch of strangers who have nothing to loose if you go broke.

just sayin'

Joined Feb 25, 2005
I would just listen to their proposal and not offer anything at this point. We are the exclusive caterer at a few different venues and each one wanted something different. And then there were some that wanted us to be one of their preferred caterers but wanted too much and we declined. You have to do what makes sense for your company taking into consideration the type of clientele, how much they have to spend, will the venues fee to you cut into your profits and not make it worthwhile, etc.

Once you hear their proposal, thank them for considering you and ask them for a few days to process what they've told you. You don't have to accept right off the bat. Once you've had a chance to think about it, accept their terms, counter their offer with one that works better for you or decline and let them know why.

Here are some of the ways we work with venues

1. One wanted 10,000 up front for a 5 year contract. 500.00 of that is applied to their kitchen fee. Once we've used up the 10,000 in 500.00 kitchen fees, we have to pay the venue the 500.00 kitchen fee each time we have an event there. Our menus for this facility takes this into account. We've been catering to this venue for less than 1 year and we've almost already gotten back that 10,000. This was a good deal for us.

2. Most of the other venues we work with just want a kitchen fee -which varies with each venue. We just pass this along to our clients

Any venue that has asked us for a percentage of sales we declined their invitation. It just created too many problems for us. We tried it in the past and clients don't like to see that % added to their bill since they are already paying the venue a venue fee. And having the same menu priced differently for a bunch of different venues created too much confusion. I'm not saying this can't be done, all I'm saying is we couldn't do it.

I hope this helps. Gina
Joined Sep 5, 2012
Ginamiriam is giving you very good advice. Didn't jump at any proposal but wait to think and sorr thing through. Get everything in writing and have your attorney review it and give his advice. Due diligence!

Always work with a flat fee, percents all of a sudden give the facilities a interest in everything you're selling and every side deal and subcontractor you deal with. You don't want their fingers in your pie like that.

Good luck to you. It sounds like it could be a promising opportunity.
Joined Jul 28, 2001
I think all of the above is right on the money. My question is for you. Do you do a complete service now or just food? If it's just food then I would do a little legwork before your meeting and get with other vendors, decorations, linens, floral, etc. just to see what their requirements are going to be to commit themselves to you. I think they need to be your premier vendors as to cover last minute, pop up, hot shots, etc. It requires a lot of time if you have to hunt down other vendors at the last minute. That all I have/img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif  good luck. Oh one other thing.  The event coordinator should be with you and not be with the venue. I've never witnessed a happy relationship between a caterer and a event coordinator that works for the venue. They have to be an extension of what you do. Gotta love the planner who walks in with a current magazine and says I just sold this for 300./img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif  
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Joined Oct 13, 2011
Before moving away, I was the house caterer for a venue for a few years.  They received a set amount from me (or rather the client) regardless of the size of the event.  They rest was mine to do with what I wished.  So, on a super small event (rarely happened), I may have broken even or even have lost a dollar or two.  But on the larger events (most often) I made more than enough to make up for it.  So, instead of looking at the profit from each job, I looked at monthly reports and always came out way ahead.

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