Tips for Cocktail Party for 150?

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by c0ffeemom, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. c0ffeemom

    c0ffeemom

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    I have been asked to cater a cocktail party for 150 women.  The budget is limited - $10/person total. I will not be providing plates, utensils, napkings just food. I'm looking for suggestions for finger foods/appetizers that are inexpensive to keep cost low while still having a small profit.  Also, this is the first time i will be doing an event this large - suggestions on best way to transport/keep warm foods warm, etc?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    A. Let someone else do it! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif

    B. RUN!

    OK, on a serious note, figure on 8-10 pieces/bites per person over a two hour period, 5-7 the first hour, 3 the second hour. Cheese tray(s) (15 pounds total, 3-4 trays scattered around the room(s), crudites & dip (um, 15 pounds broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, etc., w/dip, say ranch), three passed appetizers like chicken satay, meatballs (Swedish, Italian, whatever flavor fits), Athens mini-filo cups with whatever suits your fancy or matches the theme.
    • 15 pounds of cheese @ $7.99 = $120
    • 15 pounds crudites @ $2.99 = $45 plus, um $10 ranch dressing
    • 160 Chicken satay (always have a little more than the number of people) @ $1.50 = $240
    • 160 meatballs @ $0.90 = $144
    • 160 mini filo cups @ $1.50 = $240
    • Total food = $799, say $800, that leaves $700 in your pocket, assuming that you hire no labor
    Personally, my minimum would be closer to $2,250 ($15/person) because I'd use two to three servers as well as one or two in the kitchen.
     
  3. c0ffeemom

    c0ffeemom

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    Lol...thanks! It is a fantastic networking event so those benefits even out the lack of profit :)
     
  4. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    I've been in this game for over 12 years. The networking benefits are nil. You're providing cheap food at your cost.

    How much would you be willing to PAY to go to this event? $10? $20, maybe even $50? That is what the networking is WORTH! Not what the organizer/hostess says.

    My guess is you will get, um, 10 referrals to do similar "networking cocktail parties" (because you don't cost much /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif), one or two dinner parties, and six leads which, when they find out what you really cost, will evaporate.

    A year from now, you'll be wondering how to keep going with all the networking you are doing.
     
  5. c0ffeemom

    c0ffeemom

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    Good point..l hadn't thought of it like that. Thanks! Am going to relook at it
     
  6. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    150 women....2 hour event

    drop off.cold or room temp, use your equipment and pickup.  Make the tablescape a wow!  Lots of fun garnish, keep in mind a design.

    Med-Eastern works well......

    Hummos (any verisions)

    Pitas/pita chips,lavosh

    Olives

    Caponata

    Baba Ganoush

    dolmas (premade are fine)

    cuke-yogurt sauce

    Brie with whatever topping...you can stay with the theme and do pomagranite/pistachio or orange black pepper caramel

    *sandwiches.....on dollar rolls or sheets of herb fogasse, simple with a twist.....turkey with curry aioli & apricot chutney

    Shwarma chicken with lemon-rosemary aioli & persian cucumbers.....can be one kind, I'd keep it white meat 

    Something sweet is nice....fillo fingers, brownies, cookies whatever and make them tiny.
     
  7. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    or go Asian

    edamame hummos with rice crackers or shrimp chips or wonton strips

    fresh vietnamese springrolls

    sesame noodles with snow peas and scallions

    Miso dip with veg.......make it unusual as well as popular veg.....

    Chicken teriyaki something.....you can make it heavier as a sandwich or with other noodles

    you get the jist......very little protein, something sweet, high end is garnish or nominal amount, no $$$ cheese....loads of filler and some wow garnish or serving containers.
     
  8. c0ffeemom

    c0ffeemom

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    Thx shroom girl!
     
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Give them a quality selection but do not be afraid to charge. It is the quality that will bring you repeat business, not the cheap price.  For a cheap price, you can't do quallity. Don't become known as the most inexpensive caterer become known as the best caterer.
     
  10. c0ffeemom

    c0ffeemom

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    I really appreciate the suggestions!  I agree the quality must be exceptional even with the limited budget because it is an opportiunity to market to 150 professional women :)
     
  11. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Ice chests will keep things warm as well as cool.

    Warm- place a dish of boiling water in to preheat. Remove before loading.

    Cold- place an unopened bag of ice in to chill. Your choice if you want to remove prior to loading.
     
  12. lagom

    lagom

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    May I suggest that if their budget is 10 dollars per person that you present the with a menu of by the piece apps.  ie.. poached asparagus wrapped in dried ham such as panta negra, bacon wraped waterchestnuts, chicken satay skews, tuna salad stuffed cocktail tomatos. That way they get the food the order, spend what they want and you definatly get paid for you work. DON'T sell you work cheap.
     
  13. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Food

    Staff

    Rentals (equipment etc)

    (+extras......gratuities, etc)

    Remember, you don't get filet on a burger budget....but you can get some good budget food.

    I don't agree with Lagom on letting them choose how many of whatever.......running out of food is not cool.   Being able to come up with a menu that reflects their budget/event/demographics/venue/your style....is what makes catering fun.
     
  14. c0ffeemom

    c0ffeemom

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    THanks everyone for the continued suggestions!

    I am going to provide as much variety as I can at high quality with the budgeted money.  Ultimately what I serve will be a reflection of my services so I want to leave everyone with a good impression.  I'm hoping that by being creative I can be successful.