Why is catering so much more expensive?

1,414
17
Joined Mar 12, 2005
Why is catering so much more expensive?

For instance a lot of restaurants have 1 price for catering and thats like 25-50% more than if you ordered the same/similar stuff of their regular menu.
 
3,401
161
Joined Sep 18, 2008
I presume you are talking about "off-site" catering, i.e. prepped and cooked at the restaurant but delivered, set-up, and served at some other location, correct?

Well, there is additional
  • Labor
  • Equipment
  • Transportation
that someone has to pay for.
 
1,414
17
Joined Mar 12, 2005
No, even at the restaurant off their own catering menu.

I was thinking, either it costs them more in labor, or with a set menu they find people tend to spend less overall, IE only so many appetizers, so much wine, etc.
 
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3,401
161
Joined Sep 18, 2008
Somebody has to "pay for the room and labor", don't they?

Generally, "on-site" catering involves dedicating a room and staff to handle the party and, depending on the method of service, may involve more staff than typical restaurant service, especially where simultaneous service is desired.

Besides, group service ties up the kitchen facilities
 
1,447
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
Still recovering costs for banquet tables, service ware chafing dishes and such, extra labor to dress the room and prep and service.  Also they have to plan that kind of thing, if even a small party party of 40 just showed up at most places they would be sent packing. I know, my old guild used to have issues finding a place in the Bay Area that would take the 30 of us at short notice.
 
3,401
161
Joined Sep 18, 2008
Another "thought" for "on-site" catering. Many smaller places may have to "give up" the opportunity for "walk-in" trade to handle a catering job. That might mean losing a part or all of a "turn" and might even impact being able to serve anyone except the catering job.

Example: a restaurant with ten, 2 top, tables, total capacity 20 people at a time that averages, oh, 1 1/2-2 turns (30-40 patrons) per night. Booking a party of, say, ten may mean being able to serve only 25-30 instead of the average of 30-40. That means a gross revenue of 75-83% of normal at menu prices, somebody has to make up the difference.
 

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