Pound Cakes And Sweet Potatoes And A Sil....(Long)

Lounge By liapsim Updated 24 Nov 2008 , 3:35am by liapsim

liapsim Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 1:55am
post #1 of 15

Okay, well my SIL got an offer to cater our local Home Depot's Christmast Party for 200 people. First off, she isn't a caterer, she works for a cater, prepping veggies, setting food out, cleaning dishes, and waiting tables...let's start there. She doesn't have the facility or the supplies needed to cater for 200 people (she is going to ask the lady she works for if she can "rent" her stuff to do this).

So she called and told me about this offer and how she didn't know what to do because she didn't have enough room to bake everything (hinting at me to use my ovens-but I didn't fall for it). Then she called again asking if I still had my Sam's Club membership (again, hinting at using it-again, I didn't fall for it). Then she called again, wanting to know my mom's family recipe for Sweet Potato Souffle which is ALWAYS a huge hit wherever we take it (again, I denied her...mainly it's because it's a family secret, but also out of annoyance).

FINALLY, she called to tell me that she wanted for me to price out the desserts (pound cakes) and the Sweet Potatoes, so that I could do them and make some extra Christmas money too. So, I said sure. So I priced them out and she said "excellent" and then said as soon as she heard back if we got it or not...she'd let me know and that is supposed to be tomorrow (Wednesday). Well, she wants to know if I can do different flavors of pound cake first, so I say sure...I can do 3 different flavors for X amount of dollars. Then she calls me a couple of hours later to ask me....can I just do a plain and a chocolate iced...again, I say sure and I change the order again. Then she text messaged me late last night and said that the best option is to do plain pound cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream on top.....again, I say sure but the strawberries are gonna cost her because they aren't in season....

Well, today (Tuesday), I went to her house to pick up my son. She wasn't home yet, but my BIL was. I sat down on the couch and just happen to glance at the sofa table and there was a typed paper with "Home Depot Christmas Dinner" typed across the top. So I looked it over, thinking...great, she's come up with our total price on this. So scanning down the menu, I see that where I said I would do pound cakes....there is Red velevet cake there instead. So then I look at the price per head and there is absolutely no way that the price she has listed is covering me too. So she comes in the door and lays her keys down on the table and moves the paper to cover it up with her Bible????????

So here's what I am thinking....she's just going to do the whole thing herself (how, I'd like to know)....and doesn't want me to know yet. In which, that would be fine, if she was up front and honest about it. But for the fact that she would go ahead and make the menu and not tell me, especially since she made me go through all of the changing of the pound cakes, etc....makes me mad!

Thanks for listening to my rant....I just had to get it all out!

14 replies
indydebi Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 3:05am
post #2 of 15

As a caterer and, (ironically), I'm ALSO doing a Home Depot's Christmas Party next month, I read this story with total amusement at what she is about to go thru. She really has no idea, does she?

Was she able to rent the equipment? I hope she's renting cambro's and not just the chafer sets and serving pans! icon_surprised.gif

Oh PLEASE let me know how this turns out. I'm not wishing her misfortune ..... but from your story, it sounds like she just jumped in with both feet and didn't check to see how deep it was first.

Reminds me of the girl who has been a bridesmaid a time or two and thinks that qualifies her to know ALL about weddings so she hangs a shingle of "Wedding Planner". icon_eek.gif

kakeladi Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 3:28am
post #3 of 15

She could be in for **Super BIG trouble** if she is not licensed!
Putting out food for lots of other people. All it takes is one person to get sick and she could loose her home and everything!icon_sad.gif This is nothing to mess around with.

mkolmar Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 3:32am
post #4 of 15

Was she able to rent the equipment? I hope she's renting cambro's and not just the chafer sets and serving pans!

Indy that was my exact same thought. She's about to find out how hard it is to cater. Did she hire any staff to help her set up and tear down? There is no way she can do this all on her own, especially considering it will be her first gig.

I hope it goes well for her, but I'll be interested to see how this one turns out.

adonisthegreek1 Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 3:46am
post #5 of 15

I thing your SIL is in way over her head. Why didn't she just tell them that she is not a caterer and refer them to the caterer that she works for. I've had people ask me to cater a few times, I always tell them that I only do desserts and chocolates. I hope to do more in the future, but I am nowhere near that point now. I think you are better off not to even get involved.

indydebi Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 4:05am
post #6 of 15
Originally Posted by mkolmar

Did she hire any staff to help her set up and tear down? There is no way she can do this all on her own, especially considering it will be her first gig.

Oh heck yeah!! I use a MINIMUM of 4 people PLUS me on a 200-person catering job. Does she own a cargo van or is she going to rent one? Does she have ANY idea how much space this stuff takes up? And a family mini-van is NOT going to work. Sometimes I have to rent a 2nd vehicle on big jobs like this, depending on the menu.

and triple dittos on kakeladi's comments, especially since she is dealing with a business client and not "just a bride". She also better find out if the facility requires a copy of license and proof of insurance.

Carolynlovescake Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 5:48am
post #7 of 15

quote="indydebi"]She also better find out if the facility requires a copy of license and proof of insurance.[/quote]


um yeah I strongly suggest that!

I was just heading over to update my thread on that exact topic from over the weekend. icon_lol.gif

Mike1394 Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 9:44am
post #8 of 15

icon_biggrin.gif I don't think she's over her head just yet, BUT she's standing on a slippery rock, and taking in water real fast. YES, please let us know how this turns out.


michellenj Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 2:42pm
post #9 of 15

Oh my lord. Please keep up informed!

I do feel sorry for the client.

liapsim Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 3:08pm
post #10 of 15

Well, it's Wednesday morning (10am) and I haven't heard yet. So as soon as I know...I will definitely post!

No, she hasn't heard back from the lady she works for yet on renting the equipment. She doesn't want her boss to do it because she says she won't get paid enough to work it that would be worth it (She'll only make about $200). She's catering the whole thing herself for $12 a head which comes out to $2400. I know she's got to do turkey, ham, green beans, sweet potato souffle, cornbread dressing, red velvet cake, dinner rolls, and tea for that amount! I know she already priced the meats and that is going to run her almost $500!!! So I guess by the time it's all done she'll make about $500-600. But if she's doing it all by herself on a single oven with 4 burners...she'll have to start cooking DAYS in advance! So not worth it!!!

And no, she isn't hiring staff to help her...that would cut into her profit! Yes, she did ask her boss for Cambros too....on my suggestion! I do think she jumped in with both feet too. I told my hubby last night that I really hope she doesn't get it and doesn't involve me in it at all....I can hear the phone call now....the day before the party "Um, yeah, I know I said I didn't need your help, but I do...so do you think you can do all 8 pound cakes and 4 sweet potatoes tonight?" And my answer would be without a doubt....HELL NO!!!

I mean, I have done SMALL catering events....like 30 or less people. I have my own equipment but enough to do on a SMALL event....I have turned down larger parties because of this. I am aware you can rent equipment, however, it's just not worth it!! So her calling me, trying to be my boss is a little frustrating since I do NOT work for anyone and she does.

Anyways, I will keep you all posted as I know what happens this week! Thanks for listening to my rant....I think I'm just stressed about the holidays! LOL....

michellenj Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 5:15am
post #11 of 15

Is the client aware that they will have no service staff whatsoever? In my experience, the client would rather pay extra to make sure there is sufficient staff so they don't look bad, rather than have a crappy party. I would staff a couple of kitchen guys (1 or 2, depending on how strong they are) and 5-6 front of the house people, plus me to run the floor. That way, if they forget/run out of something, or if someone calls out, they are still okay. It always takes twice as long and is much harder than you think!

Assuming this is a buffet, how does she plan to maintain the tables? Put out some trash Brutes and let them bus their own?

And please tell me that the $2400 is not inclusive of tax, service charge, etc.?

This is stressing me out just thinking about it!

indydebi Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 1:34pm
post #12 of 15
Originally Posted by liapsim

But if she's doing it all by herself on a single oven with 4 burners...she'll have to start cooking DAYS in advance! So not worth it!!!

Green beans to feed 200 people ... that's about 8 of the big restaurant size cans. Is she also renting some of the really big cooking pans (you know ... the ones that are 3 feet deep?) icon_eek.gif Slhe can't cook these in her litte household pans. It's just not going to work.

Ham is projected to be sky high this year because pork exports are at an all time high. TWO meats for $12? No salad? No bread or rolls?

Labor isnt' that expensive (in the grand scheme of things AND if the event was priced out right). She needs to get at LEAST a couple of friends, pay them $10/hour (so it's a total of $50-70 each). When those food pans on the buffet need refilled, they tend to need refilled all at once. Just loading and unloading the equipment from the van is hard enough!!

SHe's about to find out there's a reason caterers charge what they charge. A friend of mine worked for me ONCE ... and that's exactly what she said she learned from the experience!

The more I read about this, the more I actually feel sorry for her .... she has no idea. Preppie veggies and waiting tables is not the same as being a caterer. I drive a car ... that doesn't qualify me to be in the Indy 500 race.

stephaniescakenj Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 2:25pm
post #13 of 15

Did it ever occur to your SIL to talk to her boss and say hey listen, I've got this huge order and I want to refer you, will you give me a referral fee to make it worth my while? And what employer in their right mind, would be ok with their employee taking on a huge job and then asking if they can borrow all of their equipment to do the job? As the employer, I would be furious!

cookingfor5 Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 3:01pm
post #14 of 15

I am guessing that the person who hired her is a friend. I use to work for a major retailer and had to plan the food for the whole weekend every year, but we had to feed 150+ people 3 meals each day. We couldn't afford to have it catered. The one meal they are having was our entire budget. We pieced meals together and might have one part of the meal catered from the local grocery store, and that means a drop off and pick up.

She is going to get complaints I am sure. There is always someone unhappy and always some complaining.

I would be mad at her also if I were you. Lying or hiding is the worst thing someone could do. Why don't you ask her and tell her you need to know today, or you will not be able to help her. If not for any reason, just to put her on the spot.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and a wonderful stress free weekend after!!!!!!!

liapsim Posted 24 Nov 2008 , 3:35am
post #15 of 15

Wellllll....sorry it's taken so long everyone! I just actually found out the answer TODAY!!!

So, first to answer the last few questions....no this isn't for anyone who knows her...they don't know her at all....they are her hubby's employer!!!! Which I believed, made it all the scarier! Yep, it's a buffet, no she won't hire staff cause she doesn't want to pay ANYONE!!!

Her boss told her she could NOT rent her equipment, that it wasn't a good idea. Plus, Friday, the more I thought about it, the more angry I got! So I told her I was unsure about doing it because the time was getting so close and I didn't have definite answer yet.

But anyways, Home Depot called her Saturday and told her that they were just going to do it themselves and not use any service...good luck to them!!!

Anyways, thanks again to all of your supported advice! I really appreciate all of you!

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