Dessert Table

Decorating By ufo9978 Updated 5 Feb 2014 , 8:26pm by dotiloza

ufo9978 Posted 3 Mar 2012 , 11:23pm
post #1 of 14

Hello All,
I don't even know if this the right place to post but I need to know how to price a desert table. it might contain cupcakes, cookies, parfait, includes all custom decorations. Any help would be greatly appreciated icon_smile.gif

13 replies
FromScratchSF Posted 4 Mar 2012 , 1:40am
post #2 of 14

You know? I've asked this question before and got no response here. I don't think a lot of people here do dessert tables, and if they do they are not sharing their pricing.

I have just started offering dessert options similar to what a food caterer offers. I have no idea if it will be profitable or not. I also do not do the decorations,

indydebi Posted 4 Mar 2012 , 5:50am
post #3 of 14

As a former caterer ........

first determine the size of the desserts you are offering. My tables were always in the bite-size range because people want to sample more than one. Full size cupcakes demand a higher price than mini cupcakes. (I know that's a "Duh!" statement, but sometimes its the obvious things that we miss!)

Then determine if you are charging per piece or per person, or a combination of both.

when I charged per person, I told the customer "You receive 3 pcs per expected guest" (So a dessert table for 100 @ $8/person would have 300 pcs of desserts.) Now, that's not necessarily 3 pcs of EVERY THING YOU ARE OFFERING. Maybe 75 choc covered strawberries, 150 mini-cupcakes, etc., until it totals 300 pcs.

Not everyone eats one of everything offered. The larger the variety, the more difficult it is to provide good quantities and keep your pricing under control. Keep it simple in product but wow them in the table set-up and presentation! thumbs_up.gif

Curtsmin24 Posted 4 Mar 2012 , 6:16am
post #4 of 14

As a former caterer ........

icon_sad.gif I didn't know. I sent you a friend request on facebook a couple of weeks ago. I was wondering how you were doing.

scp1127 Posted 4 Mar 2012 , 6:51am
post #5 of 14

This has been one of those surprise turns in my business that I enjoy most of all. I have quite a few scheduled this year so far.

For anyone who wants to break into this business, I would suggest that you have an a la carte menu for individual desserts. Just price them the same as you price anything else, time and cost. Make a batch, size it smaller for a dessert bar, and count the pieces. Now you have a dessert bar menu with prices and count. This can now be plugged into IndyDebi's model above.

Sometimes people ask for things not on your menu, but you should be able to price and closely count what a recipe will make.

I have all serving pieces for a dessert bar in glass apothecary jars and white and various silver metal serveware. The three go together well. I also have all scoops and tongs that will work with the pieces. These will all be in my storefront. I'm just puuting them to good use before that time. When I do open the store, I'll just need more. I have all pieces displayed and clients can pick a style and do a mock-up while we plan. I do a final mock-up with their ideas and improve it. I take a picture on my phone and send it to them.

I offer all linens, material, candles, flowers, and professional labels. Each is again priced by time and materials. I have gotten familiar with what is available so I already know where thinds are that I suggest.

I ask for a budget. Before I get into any details, we have already established that a reasonable budget has been set aside. I then give the client plan I, II, and III. Plan I is a basic and just below the budget. II is on budget and Plan III is just above. On plan III is also a list of other items to consider but not priced.

So far, clients have gone with III and later keep adding a few of the list items as time progresses. They also seem to like to add a food item or two. I'm very up front about when they add too much.

I've dont this with a wedding cake as the centerpiece, six 6" cakes as features on the buffet, desserts only, desserts and candy, and I'm doing my first full candy only buffet in April. For that, you just have to be familiar wth the sources.

One big thing I have found... a dessert buffet takes at least one attendant from set-up to tear-down. If cakes need to be cut, punch served and maintained, two attendants are needed. If it is a wedding, one attendant and the bridal party can do it if money is tight. I personally don't like to put it all out at one time because it quickly looks empty and unkept. So an attendant is a necessity. My daughters do it for $25.00/hr each. They love the extra money. They dress in black dress pants, black shoes, and white blouses. I dress the same way if I go. I usually stay with them just because we enjoy doing it together.

I have a house punch recipe that works for champagne and rum too. If alcohol is added, they must provide it and I do not maintain the punch bowl. I have a neon colored card that shows how the ratios are added. If no alcohol, I maintain the punch bowl.

I rent the punch bowl and all serveware. I charge $5.00 per item, $10 for the punch bowl. This adds up when these buffets require 20 pieces. The pieces are not expensive and all can be replaced. I have boxes and paper that I reuse to pack. For cleanup, I put each in a clean kitchen trash bag. Then I just keep the bags to use as trash bags, so no waste.

I get serveware when I see it. They run $10 to $30 each. I have tiered, flat, pedestal, micro sized, and large. I just get them when I see them. I don't stock colored pieces, but I have the places where they can be purchased available.

I get the money just like you all do wedding cakes. Contracts are similar too. No deposit is required because the attendants set up and bring it home.

If I forgot anything, just ask. Susan

indydebi Posted 4 Mar 2012 , 7:48am
post #6 of 14
Originally Posted by Curtsmin24


As a former caterer ........

icon_sad.gif I didn't know. I sent you a friend request on facebook a couple of weeks ago. I was wondering how you were doing.

oh I saw that but didn't know who you were do I deleted it! icon_cry.gif Please redo the request and I'll accept!!!

sugar rae Posted 4 Apr 2013 , 7:15pm
post #7 of 14

Thank you.That was very good useful information.

RoyalCreamery Posted 4 Apr 2013 , 7:43pm
post #8 of 14

AThis is something I was also wondering about!! I just did a dessert bar/candy buffett for my own baby shower. It was so much fun!!! My sister helped alot by doing the custom candy bar wrappers.. She even made matching confetti and the hanging paper ball things( Lol idk what there called) I would definitely like to add this to my business...

RoyalCreamery Posted 4 Apr 2013 , 7:46pm
post #9 of 14

A... Also what would be a good price to charge for the fancy glass vases?? Even if I'm doing a refund after there returned undamaged. Those things aren't cheap!!

BakingIrene Posted 5 Apr 2013 , 7:42pm
post #10 of 14
Originally Posted by ufo9978 

Hello All,
I don't even know if this the right place to post but I need to know how to price a desert table. it might contain cupcakes, cookies, parfait, includes all custom decorations. Any help would be greatly appreciated icon_smile.gif

To price a dessert table nobody can start with "it might contain".


Start with a list of baked goods that you are prepared to provide. 


Use your working recipes to make a shopping list to check on current ingredient prices.


Then you decide how much decoration each piece gets.  Piped flower? Gumpaste fancy figure? Sprinkles? That will tell you how much time it will take.


Then you can calculate how much you should charge per group: like per fifty brownies, per dozen cupcakes, etc.


None of us can give you any better guidance than that...and it is the same process as you would use to price a cake or a dozen cakes.

sfandm Posted 7 Apr 2013 , 8:46pm
post #11 of 14

And always charged a small rental fee for all your serving pieces, if they prefer to have someone else attend the buffet, get an adequate deposit to cover all you materials they are renting, they get a percentage back once it has been returned, undamaged.


ie. I had a bride a few years ago, who rented chair covers, linens, chair sashes. and other item from me, as well as lighting. She signed my contract stating that damaged or missing items would be charged in full. Well, I had 3 strands of lights that were completely severed before the plug, 4 missing sashes, and a wax stained runner, not to mention 2 missing chair covers. I got $172 from her in damages/missing items.


So, if one apothecary jar costs $40, and you rent it for $10, get a deposit on it for $25-30 more if you won't be present, you keep the $10 for the rental fee, and they get back the $25-30 for the deposit if the glass is not chipped, cracked or altogether missing.


I also had a checklist my customers would have to sign that they were receiving items in good condition, they checked everything they were renting, and it was checked back in upon return.


Also, do a search online to some of these rental places, you would be shocked at some of the prices they get for items.

RoyalCreamery Posted 7 Apr 2013 , 11:30pm
post #12 of 14

ASfandm.. Great info!! Thanks

SugaredSaffron Posted 8 Apr 2013 , 6:22am
post #13 of 14

AI charge rental as the price to replace the product, plus p&p and then the rental hire is about 25% of that.

dotiloza Posted 5 Feb 2014 , 8:26pm
post #14 of 14

Thanks for the info!

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