How To Price a Catering Job

Catering business

Running a successful catering business hinges upon serving great food, providing excellent service and correct pricing. Pricing your catering jobs will involve accounting for all your catering costs and quoting a price that is competitive and will give you a good profit margin.

Here’s one way to price a catering job.

Make sure you have already computed for your monthly overhead costs. Monthly overhead costs or operating expenses are added to the catering cost per event. Overhead costs may include any of the following:

  • Equipment cost – rental and depreciation of equipment like tables, chairs, flatware, glassware, dishes of all sorts including serving dishes, cooking and baking equipment and any other equipment you own that is used for your business
  • Transportation – include gas, toll fees, vehicle rental (if unowned)
  • Utilities – water, gas, electricity and others
  • Insurance
  • Advertising

Once you have your monthly costs, divide this by the number of catering events you normally have per month on an average. The amount you come up with is what you should add to the cost of each event in order to cover for your monthly expenses. Adjustments to this amount can be made based on the size of the event that is not usually the norm.

Find out all that you can about the event. Talk to the client and get as much information including how many are expected to attend, where the event will be held, what food and beverages are required. Ask if there are additional set-ups and requests that the client may have.

List down all expenses related to the specific event you are catering. Expenses for a catering job may include:

  • Food costs
  • Disposable goods
  • Staff salaries including a charge for your own time
  • Venue rental fee
  • Rental of other equipment that you don’t own (chocolate fountain, ice cream cart, extra tables, etc)
  • Rental of equipment you own that is not part of your monthly overhead costs
  • Cost of other extras that your client may ask for (extra flower arrangements, balloons, loot bags for kids, hiring of clowns and more)

Add the proportion of your monthly expenses to the total cost specific to the catering event. You will now have the total cost for the event.

Compute for the total price of the event by adding the total cost to a reasonable amount of profit. This total price is what you will present as your quote to your prospective client.

There are other ways of pricing a catering event. You can come up with packages that are priced per person or per menu. By computing for the cost per person, you should have a specific minimum number of people that you are willing to cater for. As the number of persons increase, your costs tend to get less expensive so you can give a lower price. For example, for a minimum of 50 people, charge the regular price. Give a discount if the number of persons is between goes over 50 but is less than 100. Charge even less per person for events with more than 100 persons and so on. Create your own sliding scale based on your cost and profit.

The longer you stay in the business, the better you get at pricing your catering jobs. You can easily make adjustments for items or set-ups not included in the original package. To play safe, try to find out what your competitors are charging so you can come up with a competitive quote.


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