after gathering food and other items bought for a catering job ... what is average profit margin to charge.
I will be cooking for 150 to 200 (TBA) ..
chicken/beef and hot sides .. etc.
30% to 50% .. I have seen both. Also times the costs by 2 & 3 ... I wish to be fair to all.
Cathy, it depends on too many things, such as whether it is drop off or served, whether you are supplying the setup and clean up, tables; china, silverware and glassware vs paper/plastic. You probably are not ready to do this if you don't know how to estimate it.
You also need liability insurance in case of accident or food poisoning (is it worth losing your house over? if not, you need insurance); a license from the public health department. etc.
I have had this question before and here is what I wrote:
Please see this site for an example of billing from a real caterer.
Catering Cost FAQ
18% catering fee
Cost of rentals (that we obtain on your behalf)
Labor charges for service staff-We charge for our staff by the hour, based on a five hour minimum per staff person. We do our best to estimate the amount of time that our staff will be needed for your event. However, since many variables exist, the final cost is based on the actual time worked. For large full service events, we require an Event Manager to oversee staff and ensure the coordination of a successful event.
Gratuities are not itemized in the bill (unless directed to do so by the client), nor are they required. They are, however, graciously accepted by our staff for a job well done. A gratuity of $25-60 per staff member or a percentage of the total is customary.
---, some caterers include only the price of food in the per person cost, others include food and service, others include linens and/or china in the per person charge. It is important when comparing bids from two or more companies that pricing for all of the necessary items are included in both quotes for an accurate comparison.
This is a pretty big party for a first catering adventure...
You will need about 4 cooks (total) plus about 6 servers per 100 guests for buffet style service. You need a written contract that specifies what food, beverages and set up, service, and equipment you are responsible for including in the price. If this is a paid event, you PROBABLY need a public-health inspected kitchen to work out of, unless there is one at the site you are using- check licensing requirements in your state. You need LIABILITY INSURANCE for the event- what if someone gets sick, claiming food poisoning, or a guest or server is burned or cut?
Here are a few rules of thumb for you:
Read all my food safety articles before you start selecting the menu and planning the prep. The storage and kitchen facilities may affect the menu.
Finally, go on line and inspect prices for comparable meals in your area. You will find some consistency, and there is a reason for that. If your estimated price differs markedly, ask yourself, why? As to price, professional caterers charge 3 to 4 times the food costs, depending on the type of service, number of staff supplied, table and equipment rental, insurance (you DO have liability insurance, don't you?) and many other factors. See the pro catering bpoard at chef2chef.com for lengthy discussions of amounts, contracts, etc.
I hear your hopes, but have to ask some hard questions. Do you have previous food experience, market contacts, liability insurance, a business plan and a kitchen with health department approval? If not, you can be shut down in a minute. The failure rate on food businesses is over 50% at one year and most that survive go two full years before going into and ataying in the black.
----, this site is primarily for home cooks and volunteers. There are LOTS of things, besides how much food, you need to deal with. You need event insurance (business liability to cover staff and guests in case of accidents, food poisoning, etc). You need written contracts specifying lots of things, including who is responsible for setting up and taking down the seating and tables (and renting all the dishes, tables and chairs, chafers, providing linens and centerpieces, etc.)
Please go to chef2chef.com and cheftalk.com and read all their thread from new/ starting caterers before you commit to this.