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glued2it
02-13-2008, 09:09 AM
Last night and old friend of mine called. He owns a small bridge building company and is working in sand springs(Tulsa suburb).
He asked me to smoke a brisket for his guys to have for lunch. He said he would pay all expenses including gas and $50.00.That's almost a keg!
Well I don't know what the regular going rate is, But I would have done it just for the expenses. OK I'll stop rambling.

:lightbulb:So I got to thinking...........Hmmmmm. catering probally wouldn't be a bad Idea.

My question is. If I was going to actually cater an event, How would I go about charging and figuring quantities.

peculiarmike
02-13-2008, 10:55 AM
Take a look at this -

http://www.ehow.com/how_2056417_start-catering-business.html?ref=fuel

Has some relevant information. Catering is a lot like judging BBQ comps -it ain't as easy as it looks. :bandit:

nascarchuck
02-13-2008, 11:07 AM
Check this file out. It's an Excel file. You can enter many variables and it should be able to help ya.




Here is an easy to use catering planner!

It is available either as an Excel file (catering303.xls) (http://bbq-review.com/planner/catering303.xls) or as a Zip file (catering303.zip) (http://bbq-review.com/planner/catering303.zip) you can download either, (by clicking the links in blue), and use them on your own computer for free!

You can change anything in the cells with the green backgrounds: -

The number of guests.
The number of meats.
The number of servings per lb.
The number of sides.
The servings of sides per lb.
The local sales tax %.

You can then input: -

The real costs / lb to buy the meat, etc.
The cost you want to charge your clients / lb of meat.

You can also input: -

The number of ribs / portion.
The weight of steaks / portion.

All the green background cells are available for your customization.

The Yields, in the cells with gray backgrounds can also be adjusted *, but the figures that are in these cells have been carefully considered, and work well as an average yield for each item covered. * If you adjust them please make sure that the figure is expressed as a "%", and make sure that there is a "%" in the cell or the calculations will not work out as they are designed to!

peculiarmike
02-13-2008, 11:08 AM
Here is a bit on pricing - from "How To Start A Catering Business" -


Pricing your wares can be one of the most difficult aspects of catering. On the one hand, you need to make a decent profit. On the other hand, you want your menus to be reasonably affordable. Therefore, it is extremely important to have procedures in place to control inventory and costs. A good rule of thumb to remember in order to cover food costs and other expenses and still have something left to put in your pocket is to make the price of an item around three times the actual food cost (your type of business and the cost of living in your area may dictate some adjustment to this formula). Another popular formula for determining catering prices is materials + overhead + labor + profit = price.
Materials – food and beverage items, consumables (e.g., plastic utensils or serving dishes), and any related shipping/handling charges
Overhead – any expenses required to sustain the business, such as equipment cost (purchase price or rental fees), vehicle expenses, food and supply costs (be sure to include the cost of contract development, printing, billing, etc.), utilities, marketing, advertising, and insurance. All of these items are tallied and then divided by the number of catering jobs expected.
Labor – wages for any employees, plus social security taxes, income taxes, and all benefits provided. And don’t forget to bill for your time. When deciding on an appropriate wage for yourself, consider your experience and level of expertise, wages paid elsewhere for similar skills, and your local economy.
Profit – the amount you want to have in your pocket after the job is done.

Here are some other pricing tips:


ุ Overall food cost should be about 33 – 40% of gross sales
ุ Estimate your sales and try to counter-balance higher cost items by giving them a lower markup and giving lower cost items a higher markup
ุ Pay close attention to what your competitors charge for similar items

SmokyOkie
02-13-2008, 11:30 AM
Here's another resource for you Jeremy.

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/businessmanagement/DF3220.html

I would only caution you that when one attempts to turn an enjoyable hobby into a revenue generating enterprise, the first thing to suffer is generally the level of enjoyment.

In other words, it ain't always a good idea to make a job out of the things you do for fun.

Kew_el_steve
02-13-2008, 07:27 PM
Don't forget food license and visits from the Bored of Health...

:twocents:

glued2it
02-13-2008, 08:27 PM
Thanks for all the replies. lots of help.

I really didn't want to go commercial but if someone offers I'd like to be able to bid.

PigCicles
02-13-2008, 09:18 PM
Congrats on the paying gig Glued. It doesn't hurt to know how much to charge if you get the opportunity to make some cash on occassion.

TX Sandman
02-13-2008, 11:22 PM
Well, I can't offer much that hasn't already been said.

Good luck, Glued! :sign0111:

Kew_el_steve
02-14-2008, 02:04 AM
Good Luck!!! Doing it under the table is probably a good way to see if you like doing it, and probably a good way to keep those "overhead" expenses down (more in your pocket).

:essen:

glued2it
02-14-2008, 08:50 AM
Check this file out. It's an Excel file. You can enter many variables and it should be able to help ya.

Thats a pretty cool spread sheet!:sign0092:

ds7662
02-16-2008, 05:40 AM
Thats a pretty cool spread sheet!:sign0092:
Looks just like the one FBJ sent me.:twocents:

SmokinTexas
06-09-2008, 10:08 PM
would love to do some catering of Q and my wife can bake her arse off....
Be great if I could hook up with someone to see how they do it and get my feet wet.
Also looking to attend a few comps, to the feel for it before we jump in.

any advice would be great, thanks

SmokyOkie
06-10-2008, 11:04 AM
Welcome to The Joint ST!


Catering is a lot of hard work for no more than it pays. Are you sure you want to turn that which you do for enjoyment into something that you do for work?

As to comps, my advice is to judge one before you compete. That and see if you can help out with an experienced team.

glued2it
06-10-2008, 12:46 PM
would love to do some catering of Q and my wife can bake her arse off....
Be great if I could hook up with someone to see how they do it and get my feet wet.
Also looking to attend a few comps, to the feel for it before we jump in.

any advice would be great, thanks

Go for it!

If you think it's something you'll be interested in, Go for it!

There's things I liked to do as recreation that has turned into work and I still love it.

No if I can only fish commercially!:msn-wink:

Capt Dan
06-10-2008, 10:11 PM
Smokyokie is right, taking a passion and turning it into work risks hating your original passion in the end.

main reason, I never became a commercial fisherman, or a giggalo!:msn-wink:

smokin Jim
01-11-2009, 06:57 PM
The other thing is, when you take your hobby and turn it into a job, you have to find another hobby.

SmokyOkie
01-11-2009, 08:13 PM
Go for it!

If you think it's something you'll be interested in, Go for it!

There's things I liked to do as recreation that has turned into work and I still love it.

No if I can only fish commercially!:msn-wink:

Commercial fishing is not the kind of fishing you would enjoy.

Now if you could just find somebody that would pay you to fish the way you like to fish.......


The other thing is, when you take your hobby and turn it into a job, you have to find another hobby.


Amen brother, and a good hobby is harder to come by than a good job.

BigAL
01-12-2009, 07:12 AM
Well, I'll add my :twocents:. I cooked brisket and pulled pork for 300 last yr in early Nov, 2007. I had alot of fun smoke'n before that event, after........I got burned out. One reason was that you couldn't "play", try'n different rubs, etc. You need a consistant product and it got old doing the same-ol thing. Plus, I had to do it, and had to fit it into my work schedule.

Just something to think about if anyone is look'n into cater'n. Ya really got to love doing the same thing over and over.

SmokyOkie
01-12-2009, 12:32 PM
Well, I'll add my :twocents:. I cooked brisket and pulled pork for 300 last yr in early Nov, 2007. I had alot of fun smoke'n before that event, after........I got burned out. One reason was that you couldn't "play", try'n different rubs, etc. You need a consistant product and it got old doing the same-ol thing. Plus, I had to do it, and had to fit it into my work schedule.

Just something to think about if anyone is look'n into cater'n. Ya really got to love doing the same thing over and over.



Hey wise one, by my count last year was 2008.

Didja borrow a real smoker to cook it on?

BigAL
01-17-2009, 08:19 AM
Hey wise one, by my count last year was 2008.

Didja borrow a real smoker to cook it on?

Our calendars don't move up till spring planting.:D

No, didn't have to borrow any, I own two of them.:msn-wink::D

SmokyOkie
01-17-2009, 09:05 PM
:wow: You bought a real smoker.

Hey Mike, the Turd bought a smoker!

Seriously though, show us a pic of the whole hog smoker!

okie joe
01-18-2009, 09:38 AM
It must be a seperate Kitchen.....Food grade /ALL Stainless Steel Helath board approved and Heath Depertment inspected.Stainless sinks and hot water.....etc,,,,just do it under the table as a friend if ya dont have Insurance to cover your Bussiness.....When money changes hands its legal man.....Now if ya want to somke a brisket and he happends to tip ya or give you a GIFT...and You give Him a GIFT of brisket....ok other wise if you dont have a llc limited libility company...they can sue you for being sick and take the house.....it has happend.

DaveT
01-18-2009, 10:14 AM
Ive smoked meat for friends having parties where they buy all the wood, charcoal, and beer. Smoking things like pork shoulders and briskets take a lot of time, usually around 24 hrs. I really do not have a clue what a person would charge.....

Hillbilly
01-18-2009, 11:19 AM
Here ifin yer doin the cookin fer somebody else, lets say they buy all the stuff, you take yer smoker ta there location, you can get by without the kitchen cause yer a chef fer hire. I would still have the insurance an the LLC cause it ain't that expensive an sure beats loosin everthin.

Ifin yer wantin the kitchen, best thin ta to is talk with yer health inspector an ask him er her exactly what is needed. I can put a seperate kitchen in my basement.

Good luck.

Gunslinger
01-18-2009, 06:59 PM
Here ifin yer doin the cookin fer somebody else, lets say they buy all the stuff, you take yer smoker ta there location, you can get by without the kitchen cause yer a chef fer hire. I would still have the insurance an the LLC cause it ain't that expensive an sure beats loosin everthin.

Ifin yer wantin the kitchen, best thin ta to is talk with yer health inspector an ask him er her exactly what is needed. I can put a seperate kitchen in my basement.

Good luck.
A hillbilly from North Central Iowa? That's funny.
But I agree. Even if you're doing it for a "friend." A friend could become a sue-happy foe if he gets sick.

My wife catered my auctions back in my auctioneering days. She loved cooking before she started doing it for money. When we got home, we had to fend for ourselves because she developed a hatred for cooking. Or maybe we just didn't pay her enough.

The bad thing is when you decide you've had enough, you can't get even a 10th of your investment back. And if you do it right, the investment is substantial.

jminion
02-23-2009, 07:43 PM
I cater and have been for a few years be happy to try any questions you may have.

glued2it
02-23-2009, 09:24 PM
I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions come next event.

Thanks.:thumbs up:

SmokyOkie
02-23-2009, 10:37 PM
I cater and have been for a few years be happy to try any questions you may have.

Is it easy to make lotsa money without having to work hard doing catering?:shrug::msn-wink:

Capt Dan
02-23-2009, 10:48 PM
Is it easy to make lotsa money without having to work hard doing catering?:shrug::msn-wink:

Most of the folks I know who cater, work plenty hard for their money, and the work starts way befor the event, just like comps.I think if you were to compare it to a payroll job, the catering is harder and pays less for hour worked. Lots of folks enjoy it for the interaction with the public, which makes up for the lack of benifits and good money!:twocents:

jminion
02-23-2009, 10:59 PM
Catering is not easy work but do enjoy it. Profit is about
what you want to be known as, if you are worried your
losing jobs because your prices are too high then you
will work real hard for a little bit of money.

I want to be known as the best and folks want to
pay for the experience. :msn-wink:

SmokyOkie
02-23-2009, 11:00 PM
Most of the folks I know who cater, work plenty hard for their money, and the work starts way before the event, just like comps.I think if you were to compare it to a payroll job, the catering is harder and pays less for hour worked. Lots of folks enjoy it for the interaction with the public, which makes up for the lack of benefits and good money!:twocents:

I trust you noticed a certain degree of sarcasm and cynicism in my query?

However, I would be willing to bet that if you want to learn how to at least make good bucks for your hard work, you could do so by picking Mr. Minion's brain ( ie if he's willing to let it be picked.):msn-wink:

SmokyOkie
02-23-2009, 11:07 PM
Catering is not easy work but do enjoy it. Profit is about
what you want to be known as, if you are worried your
losing jobs because your prices are too high then you
will work real hard for a little bit of money.

I want to be known as the best and folks want to
pay for the experience. :msn-wink:

And how true that is for most fields Jim!

jminion
02-23-2009, 11:08 PM
In my case I'm getting to old for the lifting and stacking :msn-wink: so I hire young ones that want to learn to Q and the trade. The hours are long but if you like to be rewarded for your food then choose the best ingredients and use your imagination. Find the best suppliers, control inventory and stick to the plan.