Pricing for a wedding/ bridal shower

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by cherresethechef, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. cherresethechef

    cherresethechef

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    My business was asked to cater a bridal shower for 35 people. The menu consist of a green salad shrimp alfredo pasta a fruit salads a bread iced tea and water the client told me that she would need two trays of each item her budget was $200 I'm trying to get advice on if I'm being underpaid.
     
  2. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    That's only $5.71 per person and that is including the gratuity if you have one (you should to pay your staff). 2 trays of each item? Only 35 people? $200 budget with tax included too? Wow... 35-40 people is usually the minimum guest count that a banquet facility will do. And that is if they have no chance of selling that date and the party is willing to pay several hundred dollars (or more) at a minimum for food/bev. I'd pass... Don't sell yourself short.   
     
  3. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    If you truly are an owner/operator and Chef like your profile states, then surely you understand that you need to cost out your food, understand your expenses fully and build your pricing to reflect a profit for every event you sell?
     
  4. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Sounds like yet another client looking for uber cheap catering.
    Vic is right about minimums (Heya Vic, aint seen ya in a while!) I
    generally wont touch an event for less than 400.00 abouts.
    Thats 35 people at about 12.oo per head....if its 25 people, its
    still 400.00. These little parties that ask you for the moon will
    make you go broke if you allow it.
    Id personally charge this woman minimum of 12.oo per person,
    but again as Vic mentioned, the only correct way is to sit down
    and cost out each item, from food to labor.
     
  5. cronker

    cronker

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    Numerous issues here.
    Firstly, she is way under catering for the amount of guests if each item is only two trays (you haven't specified how many pieces that is)
    Rule of thumb in my experience has always been:
    1 piece of each menu item per person minimum.
    Reason being, if you have, say, twenty portions of prawn salad being passed around between forty guests, half miss out. You can be sure the guests who miss out aren't thinking "oh, the party host only ordered for half"
    No.
    They're thinking "the caterers ran out of food, very poor!"
    This could damage your reputation and kill any hope of picking up more work from the guests.

    I think you're being low balled, but this is not uncommon in wedding catering. Any bride to be knows that as soon as they say "wedding", prices skyrocket. How a wedding cake can be three or four times more expensive than a birthday cake is anyone's guess.

    That being said, you need to do your homework and come up with a price per piece on each item on the menu. Including labour, cost of goods, travel, overhead, cleaning etc etc. add your profit expectations and arrive at your sales price.
    Now add all sales price together and divide by number of guests and you have your price per head.
    This becomes your quote, and from there you can decide whether you might be willing to negotiate downward with your client.

    Good luck
     
    meezenplaz likes this.
  6. jimyra

    jimyra

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    At that price you are paying her.  She needs to change her budget and expectations.  Cost out your food and decide how much profit you want to make.  At that budget she needs to go to KFC and get a bucket.
     
    flipflopgirl likes this.
  7. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Speaking of KFC.... Olive Garden has their catering menu online.

    Check it out Fettuccine Alfredo (sans protein of any sort)  for 6 peeps @ about thirty dollars.

    Take it from there if you cannot run your own numbers.

    @Cronker  lets not go there on the cake prices, K?

    We run a tight ship here lol.

    mimi
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  8. just jim

    just jim

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    As mentioned earlier, 2 trays means nothing, unless you've already set your trays up to serve, say, 50 people.

    By the way, trays of what?

    Pasta?

    Salad?

    Not really tray food so I don't undergettit.

    All that being said, less than six dollars per person doesn't buy what they want.
     
  9. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Exactly, very well stated.

    The way I've taught myself to look at it, its crucial to establish an understanding with the client about certain things, 

    such as the quantity of each item. And if they decide on an amount that you know might run them short, it is ESSENTIAL

    that they know this and agree that its okay if you run out of an item. An example would be estimating 2 of each items per guest, 

    and, based on your past experience, youve actually had plenty left over....but then when you do the current event, a few people

    REALLY like one of the items, and decide to take 3 or 4, justifying it by not taking any of the the others.

    (Anything stuffed with crab comes to mind lol) Unless of course you're going to enact precise portion control, which carries

    its own set of problems and resentments.  

    Conversely, if they dont want to run out of anything, they need to know theyre gonna be charged for that extra "buffer" of 20

    or 30 % more food..... whether its consumed or not. 

    Cuz unfortunately, even after hundreds of events, I have still not perfected a system to accurately determine the expected eating

    habits of any given event,. Every crowd is different.....but that is actually one of the things I find so rewarding and enjoyable

    about catering. And learing to cover your backside with enough food, while not having to charge exhorbitantly is a true art that

    only comes with experience.  
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  10. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    Hey buddy! :) 
     
  11. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    You can't get a foot long at Subway for $5.71 (the budget) A burger, fries and soda is $7++ at Micky D's

    I think you need to do some homework.
     
  12. cherresethechef

    cherresethechef

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    Thank you all for the help. Ive decided not to take her as a client.
     
  13. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Just a piece of advice as you grow in this industry....

    You will have people wanting you to donate/take a substantial cut by hinting re about all of the exposure and clients you will pick up once they have your menus/service.

    Run fast and far.

    Most of the guests mentioned will either have their own caterer or will come calling wanting the same "deal" you cut for the first event.

    Not worth your time to even entertain the thought.

    mimi

    One more thing....take your time and comb thru CT, reading everything (not just related to catering).

    This site is a huge repository of good sound business advice.

    Not just the financials.... lots of great tips about menus and service as well.

    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    m.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  14. cherresethechef

    cherresethechef

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    I have only been in business a few mths and Ive put off starting the business for this very reason but once I started it was done. I want to be successful and I believe that I can. So far the site has been proven to be very helpful.
     
  15. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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     Good luck to you and welcome to Chef Talk!

    mimi
     
  16. jimyra

    jimyra

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    You made the correct decision.  One more comment all events should have a contract signed by all parties.  Study about how much to get down and how changes are made. Good luck!