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Catering Calculations

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    Catering Calculations

    Anybody have any advice on how to calculate prices to charge if catering an event. I've been asked to do pulled pork and garlic sausage for a wedding this spring and would appreciate any advice on what percent profit I should ask for.

    #2
    Your food cost should be about 30% plus a buck for every side(per person, you have to decide portion size) plus a buck for overhead(per person). This is a basic calculation, but should get you started.

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    • Dr ROK
      Dr ROK commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Strat! So just to make sure I'm understanding this I'll use some simple numbers. if I'm serving 200 people, and I've got $200.00 invested, I'd shoot for $260.00 (30% of investment on food) plus $400.00 ($1.00 per person (1 side) & $1.00 per person for overhead) for a total of $660.00?

    #3
    It deepens on how much time it's going to take and how many people you have to provide to service the guests. You have to calculate your travel and clean up time. Who is going to provide the necessary tables and serving dishes. If you cook it and they come to your location to pick it up... 30% is margin friendly... If you have to take the product to them, do setup, clean up and the serving... Food costs should be 20%.

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      #4
      A couple of questions. Are you only doing the pork and sausage? Any sides? Providing paper supplies? Chafing dishes? How are you transporting the food to the event? How are you going to keep the food warm? Cambro?

      I just did a catering for 50 last week and I overdid the food amounts. I made MH's mac & cheese recipe and did it scaled up to 16 times. 8 times would have been plenty. I did 6 lbs. of slaw and 3 lbs. would have been plenty. The slaw was on the end of the table so by then, peoples plates were full. I also bought 10" 3 compartment plates instead of bigger plates to limit how much food people could pile up at one time. I did pulled pork, mac & cheese, baked beans, corn bread, slaw, fruit tray and a veggie tray.

      I spent around $300 for all of the food. 26 lbs. of raw butts and had a decent amount left over. I was going to charge the widow my cost but someone gave me a check prior to the meal to cover it for her.

      You should also read MH's article on catering. He raises some really good points

      Good luck!

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        #5
        I did some small-time catering a few years ago. I would charge what I thought was a fair market price (I know, that's not really helpful). For me pulled pork sandwiches were probably the most profitable food item I produced. People were willing to pay a premium price for them and pork butt is inexpensive meat. Keep in mind production costs as well - fuel to run your smoker, etc.

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          #6
          I think Jeff has a good point. If you make real authentic pulled pork sammies, even if your prices are what some would consider 'a bit high' per plate, it's worth if it it's the best darn pork sammich they've ever had. Meathead's recipes will get you that level of goodness. Pork butts by the case are discoutned at Sams and similar. I'm sure I'm not saying anything you've already thought about but I'm just joining the conversation.

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            #7
            The National BBQ Association has worsheets, spread sheets, and calculators free for members.

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              #8
              Ok, how does a hayseed from western Nebraska become a member?

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                #9
                Thanks everybody! Sent the puter in for repair so will be doing limited responses from the phone till I get it back. Please don't think I'm not appreciative of the all the great responses!

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