Hey Indydebi And Others Who Cater Too.

Business By cakesdivine Updated 13 Feb 2009 , 5:00pm by cakesdivine

cakesdivine Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 4:22am
post #1 of 21

Don't you find that people don't really have a clue about the cost? I had a woman called me today and told me they are sending 400 invites but expect 250 at the wedding. When she saw I offered catering too she thought great get it all in one spot. So they wanted the 2 premium meat BBQ package and I quoted her 15.00 per person which included tax, and gratuity for the staff of 4. Buffet service with carving station for the meats, that includes use of plates, flatware and stemware, iced tea, coffee, bread, salad, 2 veggies, and all the condiments a bbq would require then the cake they wanted I gave a huge discount on and it would end up being $500 for it. So $4250 total...she freaked! I mean I told her that even if she went to the local BBQ place and ordered what she was ordering for 250 people she would still pay about that amount and she would have to supply all the dinnerware, flatware, and stemware. I also told her that it would be fine if she didn't use me for catering but then the cake would go back to full price. So do you think my price is way high for brisket and link sausages, plus all the other stuff?

20 replies
Lenette Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 4:28am
post #2 of 21

I think our price was great! I am no IndyDebi, I am pretty new to the catering game but it seems to me you were cutting her one heck of a deal!


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kelleym Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 4:34am
post #3 of 21

When my sister got married, the most rock bottom catering price she could find was 15 dollars per person, and that was at the local technical college, letting their culinary students prepare the meal (by the way, it was delicious). I think you were right on.

indydebi Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 4:40am
post #4 of 21

HELL NO that's not too high!!! I've seen caterers tack on $400 just for a carving station.

I actually have ... really, I have ... told brides, "Honey, you can't buy happy meals with that kind of budget."

Seriously, I find if you break THEIR budget number down by person, they tend to "get it" better.

They have $2000 to feed 400 people. "That's only $5 a person. I'm not sure you can get everyone Big Mac Meals for that. You might give Subway a call."

They have $2000 to feed 200 people. "Hmmmm....that's only $10 a person. You can probably just do veggie trays or a chocolate fountain for that."

In my Wedding Workshop I wrote, I call it "Going Math Dumb". If they are taking 6 people out to dinner for a $10 meal, it's easy for them to figure out it will cost them $60. BUT ..... ! If they are taking 100 people out for a $10 meal, the only thing they hear is "A THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!!!!" icon_surprised.gif They go Math-Dumb.

And that included tax and gratuity???? That means (based on my state sales taxes and assuming a 20% gratuity) that her ACTUAL price was only $11.50/person!!

She's feeding 250 people!!! PLEASE let us know what she expected to pay. I need a good laugh!!

Kelleym, my lowest buffet is $15.75 ... and that sure as heck doens't include 2 meats and a carving station!

Cookie45 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 4:44am
post #5 of 21

No ma'am that is not too much!!! People have no idea what it takes to put on an event like that. The increase in food prices as of late and the amount of time required to plan, shop, prepare, deliver, set up, pay help, and clean up the mess-leaving the venue as if you had not even been there...well, I could go on and on.

It galls me that food service is viewed so lightly. Not everyone can pull off a classy event...and some folks do NOT appreciate to skill it takes to do this.

indydebi Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 4:45am
post #6 of 21

Psstt! If you want to tell her you checked with some other catering friends, I would have charged her over $7000. And that does NOT include sales tax and her optional gratuity!

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 4:46am
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

In my Wedding Workshop I wrote, I call it "Going Math Dumb". If they are taking 6 people out to dinner for a $10 meal, it's easy for them to figure out it will cost them $60. BUT ..... ! If they are taking 100 people out for a $10 meal, the only thing they hear is "A THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!!!!" icon_surprised.gif They go Math-Dumb.
!




Struck dumb with math--I love it!!!

Frozen with math-ness.

Instantaeous deaf-ness, ears were permanently filled with sound of thousands of dollars. Heard not a word more.

Yep, seen it happen. icon_lol.gif

cakesdivine Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 5:03am
post #8 of 21

I told her that we could do away with the servers and they could self serve and all meat would be pre-cut, but when serving that many people you run the risk of the last people getting nothing because you ran out of food cuz the people who got their first grabbed too much food in their servings, and then you would have to purchase about 10 percent more food just to make sure that didn't happen then you are right back where you started. I did tell her the per person rate, then she asked how much is it all together with the cake, and that's when she freaked.

I asked her first what her budget was for the reception food and she said she didn't have one she just knew how many people and the exact menu that they wanted. So I quoted her for the food she wanted. Now if she had given me a budget amount first I would have guided her to a package more suited to the budget and not so much the menu she said she had to have.

idgalpal Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 5:07am
post #9 of 21

Indydebi said it best:
In my Wedding Workshop I wrote, I call it "Going Math Dumb". If they are taking 6 people out to dinner for a $10 meal, it's easy for them to figure out it will cost them $60. BUT ..... ! If they are taking 100 people out for a $10 meal, the only thing they hear is "A THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!!!!" They go Math-Dumb.
That is so true. I work occasionally for two caters. I actually saw one perspective client asked one of them to cater a Christmas party for $5.00 a person. I suggested she tell the lady to give each guest $5 to go through McDonald's drive through and see what $5 got them!

Katie-Bug Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 2:23pm
post #10 of 21

I just wanted to let you know that I even think you gave her a great deal!! I tend to do too cheap for lack of back-bone and confidence, so you shouldn't bad about the quote!!

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Win Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 2:41pm
post #11 of 21

Shoot fire!!! 25 years ago I paid $7.50 per buffet serving! It never fails to amaze me as to why people think these prices are unreasonable. They won't blink an eye when they are charged $10.00 per head at their local Golden Corral, but they resist $15.00 for a wedding...?!

edited for typo

cakesdivine Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 3:07pm
post #12 of 21

I didn't think I was off base with this, I do have to hire staff when I do a large event and that cuts majorly into the profit margin! Just wanted to sound board it off you guys just to be sure.

Edited to add that it sounds like another bride with champagne tastes on a beer budget.

Katie-Bug Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 3:22pm
post #13 of 21

Gotta love those that want champagne on the beer budget!!!

I turned down an event next weekend for this very reason. Do I not need the business..sure, but what's the point of doing it is they are going to nickle an dime me to death?? The last time I worked with this group I didn't make hardly anything, I know my fault, I let them bully me. So, this time..I'm gonna be at the Farm Show an not caring what they are having for supper.. icon_biggrin.gif

sweetlayers Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 3:38pm
post #14 of 21

You gave a really good deal cakesdivine! But are you making any money?

How much per person, does it usually cost to throw a cake and punch reception?

cakesdivine Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 3:57pm
post #15 of 21

I highly doubt I will hear from her again. The cake she wants is a wilton cake that requires fondant, but she doesn't want fondant. Well the decor on that cake is the royal icing embroidered look, you can't do that against a BC at least not my BC as mine doesn't crust. Even if it did crust I would be afraid to try the embroidered effect on BC. So who knows what they will do. She had already told me she had priced other bakeries and they were too high, don't know how I faired against them, but I originally quoted her on a BC cake with my level 3 decor at $4.75 per serving with the cake only serving 200. Then she showed me the wilton cake that only feeds 115 and I told her that cake is $11 per serving if she doesn't use my catering. I do give a big discount on the cake when I do the catering, and actually when I went back to my menu I really goofed when I quoted her. What she wanted really was my silver package at $20.50 per person! So even I misquoted her originally and it still was more than she wanted to spend!

margaretb Posted 8 Feb 2009 , 1:34am
post #16 of 21

You know, I would probably contact her and say that you made a mistake and the real quote should have been $20.50 per person so total whatever with the cake, sorry for the error. Because what if she does a little shopping aruond and realizes what a great deal you are and then WANTS to book you at the original quote. Unless, of course, you really want her business and you would be willing to do it at the lower price.

cakesdivine Posted 8 Feb 2009 , 1:37am
post #17 of 21

It isn't in her budget, they way she was talking is that she didn't want to spend more than about $1500 total for cake and food, There is no way, not even if they cook the food themselves are they going to be able to feed 250 people for that amount. If she calls back fine, I won't be chasing her down for sure. The wedding isn't until September anyway.

indydebi Posted 8 Feb 2009 , 1:44am
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

It isn't in her budget, they way she was talking is that she didn't want to spend more than about $1500 total for cake and food... to feed 250 people ....



icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif $6 a person! Like I said ... they go Math Dumb. My favorite lunch, Wendy's Meal #6, costs more than that.

Momof4luvscakes Posted 8 Feb 2009 , 1:49am
post #19 of 21

I think I would run from her as fast as I could. I have learned a lesson or two from not charging enough. I have decided that I am too valuable to give my time away for free. If she does not like your quote then so be it!!!

johnson6ofus Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 7:15am
post #20 of 21

Wish I catered, but raised 4 sons...lol, almost a caterer.

My two sons split a large pizza last night that THEY PICKED UP, and THREW OUT their own box. Cost me $12.98, including tax/ no gratuity.... no napkins included (they used the jeans I have to wash).

Sounds like a wedding to me..... icon_biggrin.gif Only $6.49 pp and this was the papajohn's "special" (not full price)--- OK, they got one garlic dipping sauce they had to share (read- fight over).

cakesdivine Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 5:00pm
post #21 of 21

Ha! I got you beat! Last night we did Fox's Pizza $30 for the big daddy size and garlic cheese stix, 3 garlic sauces. For 3! $10 per person. But we do have lots of leftovers... icon_smile.gif

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