When will people learn? CATERERS HAVE TO EAT TOO!

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by caterchef, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. caterchef

    caterchef Banned

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       /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gifWhen will people learn? CATERERS HAVE TO EAT TOO!

    I keep getting calls where they want a Fine Dinning Menu for casual dinning price.

    First off I don't even know where they are getting my number, I don't even advertise.

    All my regulars know my pricing system ,FOOD COST+LABOR COST+EXPENSES.

    I don't care if they eat Prime Rib, Short Ribs or Spare Ribs, that's up to them.

    When I turn my ovens on, I go to the bank with the same money.

    If they want fresh asparagus or frozen, Green Beans or Harcot Vert, it's their choice.

    I know times are tough but let's be realistic.Every business has to be profitable.

    Now I see KFC is giving a free sandwich to competitor employees that come with their uniforms on. " I am sure that Colonel Sanders is turning over on that one." /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif
     
  2. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Haven't seen that KFC thing around here, CaterChef. But that's an incredibly smart marketing ploy. Just think about it. You walk in to a KFC, and there are kids from Wendy's and McDonalds and so on eating lunch. What conclusions do you draw?

    For you to speak disdainfully about it says more about your marketing ability than theirs.
     
  3. caterchef

    caterchef Banned

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif  I know about Nathan's giving free hot dogs to doctors who would wear their uniform to his hot dog stand on Coney Island in NYC circa 1920's or 1930's. This is not the same thing or smart but, it is something I would expect a "food writer" to agree with.

    I have never worried about maketing ability "Good Food" sells itself.

    My biggest problem has always been finding hard workers./img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif

     http://consumerist.com/2010/07/kfc-offers-free-sandwich-to-other-fast-food-workers-today.html
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  4. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    I'm with KY on this...
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    It's a wonder your phone rings at all. Your attitude seems to suggest you could care less about what the customers want.  Price is always a point, it's awesome that you don't need to be competitive.
     
  6. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Settle down, Doug. We're kind of used to his smug, self-important attitude.

    Notice that instead of sticking to the issue his resonse was to sneer at my profession. That's typical of everything he's ever posted here. So most of us tend to ignore him.
     
  7. gypsy2727

    gypsy2727

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    Being part of the Market Share is not only food ..Product, Price, Place, Promotion

    KFC has a problem ...their weakness comes domestically in the lack of growth in the much saturated market.A major concern is the emphasis on healthy food. I will not be their with my chef coat on ...but ya gotta admit they are trying.
     
     
  8. caterchef

    caterchef Banned

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif   What I have done is take price out of competitve catering. If the client wants Prime Rib  they get USDA [email protected] $11+ or if the want USDA Choice @$6+ that's what they pay for.

    My Labor Cost is the same whether they eat Prime Rib, [email protected] $14+ or Turkey @$1+ 

    It is because I care what my clients want that I don't have to advertise or promote.

    If you go to a Doctor for a second opinion, do you ask him for a diagnosis first or do you ask him the cost of your office call first? Personally I don't want a discount Lasik Eye Surgeon. When most people go to a caterer, they ask price first then the caterer adjusts the quality accordingly. I don't do that, My clients choose the quality first. That's what I meant by not caring about their food choice.  Price is never an issue with my clients as they know up front what they are getting and what they are paying for. I can not say what romaine  wiil cost a year from now and my clients understand that. That's why I charge the indivdual prices for Food Cost, Labor Cost and Expenses. My clients are always HAPPY./img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  9. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Let me see if I'm following all this. 

    You add food costs, other costs, labor, and your own labor and set your price accordingly?   In other words, you're rolling "profit" and your own labor and just calling them labor.  Wow.  Who knew? 

    Anyone tell you you're an accounting whiz?

    You think promotions involving free samples are a harbinger of the apocalypse. 

    How about marketing genius?  

    I refudiate your slur agains food writers.  It is too raw.  Too real.

    BDL
     
  10. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    This is a worthy topic, without going deeper down a rabbit hole.....how about discussing marketing....

    does it help promote business to have others in your profession eat your food in their uniforms?

    When I was marketing Clayton Farmers' Market, a major part of the marketing and advertising included chefs teaching people how to cook "market" or local participating farmer's food.  Having them show up in their uniforms demoing, giving tours, and promoting their business as well as the market.   It was a total win-win-win across the board.

    When KFC offers a free sandwich to anyone in a competors' uniform the info goes viral....everyone wants what they percieve as a free sandwich.....mega tweets, blogs, mixed media promoting this "giveaway" plus the buzz generated....it made cheftalk's forum....  What does KFC gain?

    people coming into the store, mega mention of their name, the people coming in for a freebie will probably buy a drink or something or bring someone....money will be made, a feel good deal.....

    +some people will think that KFC is preferable to other fast food from this promo....silly but I'm thinkin' true. 
     
  11. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Very well, no rabbit hole.  In all seriousness.

    The practice of giving freebies and/or loss leaders as promotion is well established.  It can be done well or it can be done poorly.  The KFC promotion appears, so far, to be successful.  Furthermore, I'm afraid I don't understand the down side which caterchef seems to see.  That needs some explication -- at least for me.

    Caterchef's pricing formula is somewhat muddled in that he does not include "profit" as a specific item -- but apparently folds it into his own labor. 

    That's not good business.  If he's at all successful, he should be operating as some other business form other than sole proprietor (corporation, LLP, etc.) for tax and especially liability purposes.  That means accounting for an annual profit or loss; and usualy a salary beyond an hourly wage as well.  Ideally, the tax burden will fall more heavily on the business than the owner, because it pays at the corporate rate and has better write-offs.   

    If saying this is kindergarten stuff is going down the "rabbit hole," I won't say it.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  12. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Actually, "shroom, it's a no brainer from a marketing standpoint.

    When people come in and see that little girl from McDs, and the teenage boy from Wendy's, they're not thinking about KFC's campaign to get them there. What goes through their heads is, "wow. Even the competition eats here." Considering that the average fast food customer thinks that employees eat for free anyway, that's a ringing endorsement.

    Now add in all the other promotional value, as you itemized. And all for the wholesale cost of a sandwich.

    I was just discussing this off-line in another context. I used to work at a gas station that was the only one in the area which was both open all night and which accepted the special government fleet credit card used by many of our state and municiple agencies. Result: There was a constant flow of cops and squad cars.

    At one time or another, every gas station and motel in the immediate area was hit except ours. Anybody here with the brains God gave a turnip think that was because of my winning personality, rather than the uniformed presence? It's the same concept:

    Bad guy: Uniforms=cops=danger Will Robinson.

    FF Customer: Uniforms=competition=this is the best place to eat.

    Take it away from fast food, for a minute, and into the world of fine dining. How much business accrues to a restaurant with the reputation that "that's where other chef's eat?" Doesn't matter if we're talking about a two dollar chicken sandwich or a 40 dollar entree. The marketing result is the same.

    And the fact is, as every real professional knows, good food does not sell itself. The best dish in the world goes taste free if people don't know about it. And that's what marketing is all about.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  13. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    well said thank you both.
     
  14. rsteve

    rsteve

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    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  15. titomike

    titomike

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    Just a few things....

    In KFC my first thought would likely be... Hmmmnn...what's going on here?

    Why are they allowed to wander the streets in a corporate uniform they could just as easily be buying crack?

    When was the last time I let a teenager influence what I felt like eating or where I was going to get it?

    If I did see them haven't I already made my choice rendering it a moot point?

    If it's been as publicised as this isn't the jig up, surely it is in here?

    Who is 'people'...if it is just a paid for illusion that I assume no-one here is silly enough to fall for who do we think would and what sort respect is being shown to them? 

    So a 'viral' unjustified response to 'free' is a good thing?

    I thought there was supposed to be no such thing as a free lunch isn't that what we are trying to teach our kids?

    With 4% of the population and 33% of the the world's resources, the American market is busy and large enough to hide a lot of the evils of the free market but obesity is not one of them. Applauding cheap trickery that uses impressionable teens as pawns?....I'm truly disappointed. I live in a consumer society but that doesn't mean I have to believe in it...I actually think its what the hand-basket is made of.

    As for Caterchef's  pricing this was how things were always priced until relatively recently in the history of commerce. The emphasis then shifted to 'what the market can stand' competitive pricing rather than the value added pricing (defined as offering your product at a fair and reasonable price that makes sense to the purchasing customer) which the OP tried to point out he prefers...his call morally and financially.

    When was ad hominem upgraded to legitimate in debate? People living in glass houses should not invite he who is without sin over for dinner!

    In my humble opinion what we say reflects more about us than whom we are talking about..../img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif
     
  16. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    One "minor point" that doesn't appear very clear in the above comments; there are two distinct topics being discussed, Marketing and Advertising, and they are NOT the same!
     
  17. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I think most of us do know the difference, Pete. The OP, however, obviously not only doesn't know the difference, he doesn't apparently care. If he's to be believed, he doesn't do either. And yet he infers that he attracts new clients.

    Makes ya wonder.
     
  18. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    When I first referred to caterchef's pricing system, I think I was pretty clear that I didn't (and don't) think there is anything novel or original about it.  That post was a little too blunt and personal, so I wrote a follow up and talked a little bit about pricing, bookkeeping and artifical person business formats.

    I never suggested "corporate pricing." 

    A corporation or other artificial business form is highly desirable for anyone who wants make a living running his or her own business.  For one thing, it allows an onwer to protect personal property from lawsuits against the business.  For another, it creates a highly advantageous tax position.  And for yet another, it allows long term planning in terms of retirement benefits, group purchase price of insurance, and so on.

    If you actually make money as a sole prop or other form of "mom and pop," and you're not thinking of incorporation, a limited liability partnership or some other business form -- you're either nuts, and/or working off the books and trying to cheat the IRS or some other creditor(s).  Most likely both.  It's not so much the taxes and opportunity to plan -- which should be enough on their own -- it's the liability.

    Now if you're more of a private chef who only working small gigs out of the clients' kitchens than an event caterer, liability it's a different story.  But even then, why take the risk? 

    The last thing you want is some SOB asking you, in court, "How do you explain to the jury that it's not fair for them conclude you were as sloppy about making food as you were about planning?"  Those questions do get asked, and pretty much just like that.  Trust me.
     

    Getting back to pricing, everyone has to take the same things into account and figure out how to charge the customer for them.  There's nothing novel about caterchef's pricing scheme.  From purely business and tax standpoints, I can think of better ways to do it -- but they aren't better enough to make a big deal about it.  Anyway, his charging scheme seems to be a form marketing:  Honest Caterchef's Catering Company."  So if it works for him, cool beans. 

    When I was still catering I used a variation of "cost plus," pricing -- which is typical of the high end.  I'd adjust the amount of "plus" if costs were either very high or very high or low or the event were much larger than the "intimate catering" my company Predominantly French usually did.  Naturally, the customer was informed as to the price structure along with the first estimate; and informed again with the adjusted final bill, if there was one.  Also, I furnished receipts if requested (once only, for a hugely expensive wedding I got roped into doing). 

    I think caterchef was reacting to a pricing schema that you don't see much anymore outside of a few restaurants, low end, limited menu catering, or the kind of catering companies that do HUGE events for a fairly static client list -- where it all averages out eventually. 

    There's too much competition for very many people to figure the total as a straight product of food costs times a constant multiplier.  For instance, "My bill is three times food costs, no matter what" really won't work outside of turkey-roll and lasagna catering or your doing twenty events a year for that client.

    You only have to go online to caterer's websites to look at how menu prices see that nearly all caterers are aware that other costs don't necessarily vary with the raw food prices and set p/p accordingly. 

    Just my $400/hour worth

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  19. gypsy2727

    gypsy2727

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    Actually it is Pete.....Being part of the Marketing Mix is ...again I say Product ,Price Place, PROMOTION
     
  20. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Hm, maybe I've been misinformed all these years. I've always thought the Promotion of a product/service to prospective customers was marketing while Price & Place were relegated to advertising. BTWDIK