Catering bill

Discussion in 'Catering & Large Group Gatherings' started by bigfoot bbq, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. Did my first catering meat for a wedding last weekend. Did 20 10-12 lb. briskets and 70 lbs. of pulled pork. What the best way to charge. I'm thinking by the lb. which includes all labor and cooking or go by the plate. There where approx. 350-400 people served. We took nothing back as all the meat was gone. Thanks.
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The caterers that I deal with charge per person and it ranges from $8-$20 depending on the menu. A couple mains and a few sides is on the lower end.
  3. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Around 1600 or $8 a plate would be my estimate.
  4. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The meat is not the only thing you are selling , what about your time and exptice !

    Don' short yourself .

  5.  I think that should have been worked out before but I would have charged $12 to 15 a plate. You can't buy decent BBQ for less. Your time, wood, charcoal, staff to set up and sides...that adds up.

    I recently did a 8 person cater and they wanted brisket and a dessert. I charged $18 a lb for the brisket and gave them the pecan pie. I've had people tell me that if I don't charge a bit above the norm the customers wonders about the quality.

    You could always, if you didn't do this, cook a meal for the bride and groom of what you had to offer and state your price afterwards.

    B.F. , you can go to McDonald's and get a big mack combo for almost $8. Your selling your expertize as well as great food...don't hesitate to charge a reasonable rate.

    These same people that I cater now want prices for 30 and 50 people parties. They want a menu for $30 and $50 plates.

    Great catering cook!

  6. jcbigler

    jcbigler Smoking Fanatic

    This is absolutely true. I work in the arts (I'm a live sound and recording engineer). When you offer your services for less than what you are really worth, people start thinking of you, and your work, as being low quality. You have to price yourself according to what the market will bear, but don't short change yourself. 

    I have recently been looking into barbecue catering and restaurant operations as I might like to open a joint some day. Look at what the best barbecuers charge: $18-20 per lb for brisket is not out of the norm. Certainly $8 per person is low for barbecuing catering. I think most of the catering menus that I have seen (that are not a chain store) are in the $13-15 range per person.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  7. vwaldoguy

    vwaldoguy Smoke Blower

    Wow, that's a big smoke!  Congrats, sounds like it went well.  But wouldn't this be something that would be negotiated before an event? 
  8. golfpro2301

    golfpro2301 Smoking Fanatic

    I agree this should be done before the event. I just did a 100 person gig a month ago and charged 1600 plus 100 trailer fee which included me bringing my trailer to their office and cook out of it. I did brisket, pork, beans, slaw, rolls, tea. All of my expenses were $925. After tip they gave me 1900 which gave me a prodit of just under a grand
  9. Thanks for all the replies. Like I said this was my first that's why I asked on here. Turned out serving over 400 people. Went very well. Ended up at 9.00 a plate plus extra for milage and serving. Both parties very happy with outcome.
  10. golfpro2301

    golfpro2301 Smoking Fanatic

    Did you make any profit in that? Im just getting into catering but have some good friends that do various kinds and they say they always start at three times their cost. If it is for friends they will do double cost
  11. Yes made three times plus over expenses. I raise my own hogs plus my nephew works for a food processing company so that helps in cost.
  12. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The guys are right about not short changing yourself. Your time and knowledge are valuble. We do plate cost for everything we do. Some events we make a killing on and some we barely make enough for a PB & Jelly sandwich. But you have to pick and choose when your going to take a beating. The only way we do is if it leads to a bigger deal or it is a small one after a big one...... What a lot of people forget is the dry goods like plastic wrap, soap, spices, etc..... Figure out what you feel is a good food cost you can live with, we try to stay at 25%. Then labor and upkeep will come out of that. As for you raising your hogs yourself and selling them, make sure you have all of your ducks in a row with local food codes. Around here you would not be able to do that, it has to come from a USDA inspected vendor. If all is in line with that, the savings should mean more profit for you, not necessarily a savings for them. What happens if you quote a price months out based on your hogs and you have sold all of them? Now you are losing money.

    I think that whoever charged the trailer cost is on point. It costs money and time for all of that, but on the other hand it also makes life a little easier having the kitchen right there.


  13. That's a good way to get you into the ball park. It's better to shoot for 30% food cost, but then again you don't have the overhead to cover that a large commercial kitchen would.

    Charging by the head or per plate is probably your best option.

    This is probably a given but you always want a small buffer on food as well. Anything can happen and a lot of times guest count will jump last minute. With a buffer, you can cover the late arrivals or the ones who never RSVP'd without a hitch.

    With no buffer, you end up looking like the bad guy no matter who is at fault. 10%is a good rate to start figuring your buffer for. Figure the cost of your buffer into your standard per plate cost as well.

    One thing I've learned in food service, you never want to run out of food and most times having "just enough" is as good as running out.

    Don't go overboard and gouge your customers and have 20-25% left over. That'll leave them wondering if they got screwed. But enough for an extra 10 plates on top of the 212 already served makes customers feel like they almost got something for nothing.

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
  14. Also forgot to mention, just because you raise the hogs yourself doesn't mean it cuts the cost.

    I would check out avg cost on farm fresh hogs and cost out your meals based on that.

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

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