Prizes for simple hors d'oeuvres

Joined Dec 2, 2000
Iam in Portland Oregon and I will adjust the prizes according to what it costs to make simple hors d'oeuvres
I understand that the prize depends on what it includes, overhead and state etc..
Iam well aware of the costing process et al.
My question is regarding what the" average" customer is willing to pay for a simple crostini with toppings, barquettes, bouchees, salmon creamcheese filled cuke cups etc.. for that kind of stuff.
What is the average prize for those types of things.
My chef at school says 75 cents to $1 a piece..
Give me your opinion and a prize breakdown of your hors d'oeuvres, appetizers etc for your area .
Iam having some parties at home and word of mouth is just amazing people want party food..
I just don't want to loose sales by charging too much..
What has your experience been.
Thank you in advance

How about more intrecate things like Pate' en croute, galantines, terrines etc etc
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Is there anyway you can put your pricing into "a tray of" like a '10" round tray of'.....because the average person freaks at individual pricings and runs. They run right to the frozen food section of the local wholesale club. They don't stop to think the box of frozen h.d.'s cost $25. for 30 items.

Plus, when you get people counting they really do some other dumb things. Like skimping and making you look like you dropped the ball. It also leads normal people to stop and inventory each bite, while you stand there. When they see how many 20 pieces are, it's either not enough or too much (now their the experts guessing their consumtion and their clueless usually) and you get to take off and add on to their tray as your ruining something else their distracting your from..

Also if a fancy veg. h.d. cost any where near the same as a meat h.d. they'll order only the most complicated, least profitable items from you and make the easy stuff themselfs. THAT'S WHAT YOU REALLY HAVE TO WATCH FOR. Trust me dealing with the people aspect can take as much time/profit as making your h.d.'s.


I always, always prefer to play it a different way. Ask them how many people they have and price per-person ONLY! Make them let you use your best judgement on quantities, and make sure you fill in with (cheaper) items to be certain everyone gets enough. Let them consult with you as to which items from your list they want. But then make it an all inclusive thing so you can balance out things (for your costs and needs). You can explain how this is an advantage to them and lets you be the most creative and generous, etc...

Selling by the piece can drive you crazy. Hitting quantities that tightly is crazy, you'll have more waste that way too. What happens when you run our of pate' for the last 10 canapes? Go back, scrape off the finished ones and start again? It's easier to run out of something and put a few of this on a tray and use up alot of this if you have the you follow?

Alot of people have tried this avenue and gotten burned. You have to do it so it really works for YOU!
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Sorry, me again...

How much that intricate pate' should cost COMPLETELY depends on quantity.

It cost more to make 1 lb then 40 lb.s in labor. Yet, when your a small business, making 40 lb.s means you need to buy more equpiment to process that 40 lb.s or it takes you alot more time (which costs too) in smaller batchs.

Look at the math this way (If I can make sense?)... week 1 you sell 10 crabmeat wontons (and throw out 90 because they didn't hold) and week 4 (of the season) you sell 1,000 crab wontons. The first week they actually cost you more money (less volume, higher cost).

You begin to gamble and make a larger batchs of somethings and freezing it, but that requires investment and a gamble at a possible loss, right? Plus that also changes some quality, depending on the product.....OR you don't gamble making larger batches and you constantly make a little batch of this and a little batch of that.

What about the trays you send them out on, they cost money? You have to gamble and buy some in bulk, or buying them in ones and twos will cost you half the trays profit just to set the h.d.s on something. The tray cost goes into the h.d. cost too.

For a small home project selling hd.s can be fun. But you might make more money working at McDonalds. P.S. There's a big market for this because no one has really figured out how to do it and make a good profit selling per-piece unless it's a frozen line. IMHO

Again, make it a catered h.d. party, with per person pricing.:cool:
Joined Nov 15, 2000
I usually give my customers either 2 or 3 menus to choose from or a list of h.d. that are divided up into 2 or 3 categories. So for a certain price you get a certain number of h.d. from each category.
One category may have the labor intensive h.d. and the other may have the simpler filler h.d.
It depends on the type of cater, number of people, and what type of eaters they are. Overall though, the pricing comes out to about $.75 to $1 per H.D. If you limit the per person amount people will usually include the filler type h.d. to ensure their guests have gotton enough to eat.
I agree with W Debord that with the intricate stuff it depends upon what type of ingredients you put into it. Figure in how much time you spent making. It will drive the cost up . So I think it is difficult to price it per person. You would have to price it per recipe. Take into consideration all that went into it. You will be able to get more than 33% profit from such high end items. I would go for at least 40-50%.
Hope this helps a little...

Joined Jan 5, 2001
Why don't you do your costing first, then add a 30-35% profit margin. Set three price points for each HD within your profit margin range and post a poll on Cheftalk for your market research.
Joined Oct 13, 2001
W. DeBord is dead right in my opinion . Trying to cost out each one seperatly ? Make a price for the function and work within your parameters , and dont forget the labor . Making all those little dainties can be very labor intensive and time consuming .
Dont make it so much work but make it fun ..........................:chef:
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