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Old 12-22-2006, 09:09 AM   #1
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catering is tough

We cooked for 40 Tuesday
Menu-
Ham
Smoked turkey
broccoli salad
real mashed potato
gravy
dressing
green beans
cut corn
deviled eggs
coconut cream pie
lemon meringue pie
pecan pie
Soft drinks, and iced tea, self served.
All turned out great. 18 a head.

Thursday we cooked for what we thought was going to be 75 which turned out to be more like 90, but we only got paid for 80. We got 13 a head but I feel it should have been closer to 16.
Menu-
Mini burgers
hotdogs
mini pulled pork sandwiches
grilled chicken
broccoli salad
potato salad
bbq beans
mac n cheese
cut corn
coconut cream pie
pecan pie
lemon meringue pie
Soft drinks and iced tea, self served

We feel that it was a mistake to have that many meats with burgers and pp sandwiches because we couldnt figure how many would go for burger or go for pp. I came up with the idea to make smaller versions of both and that worked out like a champ. The PP was the best we ever made too. I am real happy with that. It was better than anything we served to be exact. They wiped us out. Let me tell you, these guys were eating machines.

The grilled chicken was a pain. Trying to grill burgers and chicken, in the rain, for that many people can be a biotch. Both myself and my brother were ready to quit at one point. Stressed out, wet, and miserable to say the least we managed to survive. Most of the stress was gone as soon as the food was laid out. The guys we cooked for instantly praised our food which made it all worth while for us.

I cant see getting rich doing this so to speak with the high cost of everything plus we try to make most of our food instead of buying prepared which you all know is expensive and time consuming. We learned yesterday that cutting corners has to be done to compete with the competition out there if we want to actually make a living with this "hobby". This isnt easy work either. I thought it would be but it is not. Organization is key, and so far we are not even close. Cooking great food is only a fraction of this. That has been said before but I have now lived it, believe it, and understand it.

Thanks for listening and please do not think that I hate my hobby. I just got introduced to the real world of cooking yesterday.
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Old 12-22-2006, 09:23 AM   #2
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With a menu like that I'd pay about 20+ a head......
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Old 12-22-2006, 09:32 AM   #3
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I think dogs and burgers are a waste of time. We don't offer them due to the fact you don't have time to mess with them on the grill unless you tie up one extra person just for that job. More people on the job means less money in your pocket. My .2
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:26 PM   #4
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Re: catering is tough

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleP
\\

Thursday we cooked for what we thought was going to be 75 which turned out to be more like 90, but we only got paid for 80. We got 13 a head but I feel it should have been closer to 16.
Menu-

Mini burgers
hotdogs
mini pulled pork sandwiches
grilled chicken

broccoli salad
potato salad
bbq beans
mac n cheese
cut corn

coconut cream pie
pecan pie
lemon meringue pie

Soft drinks and iced tea, self served


Thanks for listening and please do not think that I hate my hobby. I just got introduced to the real world of cooking yesterday.
You were really not too far off on the first one

Second one : Hamburgers and hot dog, alone , with two sides, and no dessert, bout $8.50-$9 a person... chicken and PP, 2 sides, no dessert, $14$-15.. of course, both , with all the condiments, bread, cutlery, etc

if you're open to suggestions.. cut the dessert out, or get the choices down to two pies, and the sides, unless they want to pay for them seperately, to two choices, maybe three with 90 people

Sounds like you learned ALOT, this past week about catering.... only time you get glory is when they pay you the final money for the gig.. Hang in there.. It WILL get easier for ya.. and soon enough it will become second nature for ya.. I wish you a lot of luck, cause it can be a blast, and the money is good..
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:38 PM   #5
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There was only 2 of us doing all of the work. Dogs and burgers are easy compared to chicken. When we get our Stumps, chicken will be easier. I wouldnt do the hotdogs either but our burgers are too good not to offer. I had guys asking for the recipe. That was a good feeling, you know, giving out some lame recipe that they try, just to find out that it was good, but not as good as what they had from us. Anyhow the customers asked for all 4 meats and we just did as asked since these guys will use us off and on all year. We are going to work on a better price list to help us. Here where I live, catering prices are all over the place. There are guys doing close to what we did on thursday for 12 a head. Not near the quality we gave but cheap enough for people to use. Then there are the high end guys that are set up way better than my country @ss.
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Old 12-23-2006, 12:00 AM   #6
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Key is to work smarter, not harder at a catering event, perfect example is to add instant mashers to your real taters. (sounds gross I know) but in bulk they go a hell of a long way. Plus adds a ton of weight to your finished product with no problem. then add a little truffle oil to them. they go nut's wanting the recipe. Also add a little instant to your tater salad, that will bulk it up a little and make life more easy also. There are tons of quick easy tips to catering that will WOW your customers and your the hero. I learned these things the hard way many years(about 12 years ago) till Danny G set me right. You can make good money, and will once you figure it out. Sure it's not easy work, But I don't have to work a regular or BS job this winter!
P.S. There is only two of us running the show too.
P.S.S. I'm in New York! Thank the good lord there is the road house and other places that put out garabage Q.
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Old 12-23-2006, 04:52 AM   #7
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Two meats, two sides, and dessert. $15.00/person up to 200. $12.00/person over 200. K.I.S.S. Dale, how much do you figure you are "making" on cooks like this? It should be a minimum of 100% over the cost of raw materials. WM
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Old 12-23-2006, 08:43 AM   #8
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Well lets see, I have us spending about 700 with fuel so we have 1060 left over. Not alot but we are OK with that for now. plus we have cups, plates, ect leftover that we will use for whatever comes up.

I agree with the work smarter not harder thing. That is why I would like this to work out. Im sick of my real job. Done it all my life and now hate the thought of it. I have been owner of a small construction co for 19 years and my body hates me for it. It is almost time to throw that hammer and trowel into the garbage.

I still need to make some money and like everyone says, work at something you like to do. Well I like to party, but cooking is the best I can come up with that I might be able to earn $ doing that I actually like to do. We will see. Im just glad my wife is OK with this and thank God that she has a really good job.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-23-2006, 09:44 AM   #9
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Hang in there Dale if this is what you want to do. The catering business has treated me well over the years.Some may think I'm nut's for working as many hours as I do now and then, but it's worth it in my opinion. Ya got to pay your dues before you can join the club. If you ever need help on a job, PM me and we can talk on the phone. Plus there are folk on the board that can help you threw the transition of the business. I went threw the same thing when I first started out. If I can help ya out, with menus let me know.
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Old 12-23-2006, 11:07 AM   #10
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This site is awesome. Thanks Pigs, and I will be talking with you for sure. The holidays are shifting into to high gear right now around my house.
Merry Christmas!
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