Pricing a catering event for 250 people

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by bkees, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. bkees


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    Home Chef
    Hello, Im new on here but I just want to say thank you to those who read and reply.

    I have my own lunch services and private chef services, I just recently had a relaunch of the company and now cater. My first order came in this week and I need help with pricing

    The event is for 250 people it is a 2 hr event business casual event for a sorority it will be served in a ballroom setting. they have chosen 7 finger food choices and 2 dessert. 2 types of egg rolls with a vegetarian options for each type of egg roll. mini shrimp burgers, chicken wings, and lettuce wraps. they also placed and order for mini cupcakes and cookie sandwiches. how should I price this as well as how many people would i need to hire for prep they do not want servers or waiters just drop off. 
  2. chefboyog


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    Professional Chef

    On your next relaunch you may want to cost out a menu or two.
    There are books on costing and many, many answers here on these forums to the same question.

    I saw this somewhere here in a thread similar, its a decent answer;

    Food costs + rentals/supplies + variable costs + fixed costs + helper labor + your labor (including shopping, planning,
    prep, etc) + profit divided by # people == $$ per person.
    Then adjust as needed for local market!

    I personally like to price each piece, or by the dozen for hors doeuvres, i. E. Wings; 18.99/ dz. and charge them what they order, a la carte.

    A question is are you adding tax and gratuity? You may need a lawyer and a business accountant, and a book on costing lol.
  3. jasonrobear


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    Professional Chef

    You need to keep separate pricing for your catering, and run in differently than your other sectors of business.  Your pricing is based upon what it cost you to actually purchase the food, plus the cost to prepare and serve the finished product.  Keep in mind you have to know your audience, what can they spend or are they willing to spend.  You don't want to scare them away.

    A few ways to cost:

    Flat Fee (Time & Cost of food)

    Food Cost + Flat Rate (your time)

    Hourly Rate

    Per Item

    Only you know you (and your team), the more you do, the smoother it will work for you.  I don't always have a set charge, it's really based on what people can afford without it cutting into my profit.  Building your business is more important than making a mint on one meal!

    Chef Jason
  4. meezenplaz


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    Sous Chef, Event Manager
    There are quite a few threads on costing and pricing in the archives here. Just search "food cost", and "pricing".
  5. flipflopgirl


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    Retired Hospitality
    Welcome to Chef Talk, B!
    With some searching and the info already provided you should be fine.
    I just have one comment....
    Charge what the market will bear.

    With the current economic woes even the high and mighty are doing more on their own.
    Lotta drop offs and pickups going on.

    Hopefully you don't have too much competition but even if it is only you and a few others do not undercut their pricing.
    Even if you have to shift some things around, slide into the middle somewhere.
    No need to be the "budget caterer" cuz the price hagglers will swoop down and ask for a discount.
    Trying to justify it by all the exposure and new clients you will pick up.

    If the guests don't already have their go to for parties then they are all looking to get discounts themselves.

    Work smarter not harder.

    I see you have chosen to be a home chef here on the forums does this mean you don't have all your permits and licenses yet ?
    Then you can change to owner/ operator or professional caterer.

    Another thing about the competition.....they like to see the new kid in town pressured a bit.
    If just one person gets sick and you are not completely above board you can lose everything you own.

    Just sayin'