Needing Help On Deciding What/how To Charge For A Dessert Bar/buffet

Business By PatienceCheyann Updated 13 Jan 2016 , 2:31am by -K8memphis

PatienceCheyann Posted 8 Jan 2016 , 9:46pm
post #1 of 8

Hi! I was asked to cater desserts for a high school prom for around 200 people. Just a little background on myself, I'm 18 and this is the first actual catering event I will be doing! I've always baked for people and cakes and other desserts for birthday parties and smaller events and for family so I have no idea where to start pricing wise for something like this. Also, I graduated from the high school I will be catering for, this is how I got the job/gig, all the teachers and staff know I love to bake.

Anyways, what I had in mind desserts wise based off of them telling me buffet style/finger desserts:
-Variety of cookies

-Mini cupcakes

-Brownie bites

-Cake balls

-Chocolate dipped items(school student body choice)


I'm not for sure if I should add anything else to the dessert list, they said to keep it fairly simple. Prom is April 16, 2016 and their prom theme is "Bow Ties and Pearls" so I'm trying to stick to that decoration wise.

Any advice about anything would be greatly appreciated!!(: Thank you!!

7 replies
-K8memphis Posted 8 Jan 2016 , 11:17pm
post #2 of 8

additional finger food ideas -- fudge, pecan sassies, rice krispie treats -- i think a total of 3-4 choices is enough -- so you'd do 200 of each -- too many choices means they want one of each -- i'd avoid anything that requires refrigeration since this is your first gig --

my first thought is that these peeps will be all dressed up so they need real easy to eat neat items that won't mess up their clothes -- mini cupcakes are potentially messy and do you mean a chocolate fountain where they dip this would also be tragically messy plus policing the double dipping thing is no fun but i'm not exactly sure what you mean there -- nothing powdered sugar covered -- no things like that -- unless you provide bibs :)

so do you decorate? the bow tie and pearls onto torso shaped cookies is a perfect idea --

what do you mean school student body choice?

-K8memphis Posted 8 Jan 2016 , 11:26pm
post #3 of 8

also schools are notorious for low balling on the money so you might want to ask them their budget and then decide if it's going to work out for you -- this is a major undertaking as you already know so you need to be properly compensated and not feel pinched by a duty or obligation because it's people you know and your alma mater -- take your time though -- you don't have to rush any of your decisions -- just say "i'll get back to you on that' -- it's easy to want to try to please and regret it later kwim

-K8memphis Posted 8 Jan 2016 , 11:32pm
post #4 of 8

so an idea to hold down costs is to do the decorated cookies and buy candy to provide the variety -- not everything you do has to be produced -- just make it a pretty display and it's gotta be located in at least two spots for 200 people to get up to it to serve themselves finger foods -- and i'd make it so there's access from both sides of the table -- that's still fifty people needing to belly up to each side of the table so three tables would be cool too

PatienceCheyann Posted 9 Jan 2016 , 12:09am
post #5 of 8

By chocolate dipped I mean I dip them in chocolate already, like pretzels, marshmallows, oeros, etc.. andby school student body choice I meant this is what was most asked for but I'm not to certain if that's still a good idea because of the chocolate melting a little and getting messy just sitting there. The teacher in charge of prom is also going to get back with me about if the location where the prom is being held will allow and not allow certain things and if the school principal is okay with the choices.

I decorate a little(still practicing), mostly simple decorations, I've done something like the torso cookies before so I'm somewhat familiar with the theme and decorations.

Monday I'm supposed to be getting more information on the event budget wise which will me help a lot to see what exactly I'll be able to do.

costumeczar Posted 9 Jan 2016 , 12:45am
post #6 of 8

I assume that you have a business license, or are in a state with cottage food laws? If you don't, I'd make sure that the venue will let you bring food in at all. Some places want any outside vendors to be licensed, so just double-check.

I think I'd avoid anything dipped in chocolate since that's going to get really messy if people are eating everything as finger food. 

Sweets.N.Treats Posted 11 Jan 2016 , 12:39am
post #7 of 8

My boyfriend manages a restaurant, and here is the equation he told me to work with:

First take the cost of the supplies, then double that for the non reusable items like flour and sugar (in the event you have an issue while baking and have to start over, that way you will not be out any money) then add what it costs for you to work on it by the hour (paying yourself at least minimum wage)

sounded pretty legit to me.



-K8memphis Posted 13 Jan 2016 , 2:31am
post #8 of 8

how's it going -- have you heard from them? 

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