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Rate of pay

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hello folks!! I'm new to this site so still finding my way around. I'm Perry, and been smoking meat for about 5 years. Recently bought a Lang and word is spreading on our cooker and what we cook. My question is, with all the labor, prep, and an all day cook, how much do some of you charge for labor only, excluding all products and meat? Thanks!!
post #2 of 10

Only time i do a deal like that is a charity cook. The time is donated.

 If i'm cooking to sell i buy everything and do everything . That way i know that all safety procedures have been followed and that i will turn out a delicious and safe product.

  But since you want your questioned answered let's try.



 Today we are going to sell Chicken leg 1/4 w/ 2 sides (baked beans , cole slaw)  and a roll  for $7.50


 Here are the cost for everything

 leg 1/4  20 cents

 3 oz beans  15 cents

3 oz slaw w/ dressing 15 cents

 1 dinner roll 5 cents

1 -  3 compartment Styrofoam tray  5 cents

1 plastic utensil / napkin pak  5 cents

 Let's just add in  35 cents  per serving for your seasonings and sauces which is very very high  and round the cost per plate to $1


So your food cost per plate is $1 That means  you have a $6.50 production cost ( Labor )


Unless your customer is buying at wholesale or getting stuff donated ,it is not worth there time to have to shop and deliver and pick up from you  for $1 a plate.


If the customer is wanting you to cook on site then  you have to add your labor for packing up moving setting up tearing down packing up and moving everything back home. so jump your total cost to $8 /plate.


 Hope this helps. Bob

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help Bob, and that helps for when I do a per plate event. I should have clarified, this particular event will be a company event where everything is paid for. Am particularly wondering after all costs are paid how much is our labor only worth? Meat prep the night before, set up, cook all day, tear down?? Thanks again....Perry!
post #4 of 10

all depends on what you are cooking ? meat and sides.  If you are doing butts or brisket that require 13 18 hour cooks then it will be one price, vs chicken that takes 3 hrs.

  i would figure out what they want and are buying and then break it down as cost per plate.  They nee3d to tell you 1st thing how many you are feeding.  If they say you are feeding 150 folks and the cost per plate raw is $2 then you figure  your labor.  I would probably go with   $4 per plate / person if i had to buy nothing, If i had to buy seasonings ,sauce any serving stuff it goes up, so baseing on my numbers your asking $600 to cook for 150 . but if you figure 4 hrs prep 2 hrs set up 12 hrs cook  2 hrs serve and clean up  and time to and from.  it's less than $30 hr. then if you have to pay help out of that ???

post #5 of 10

Also you need to let them know up front .since they are buying everything that all of it will be cooked but that you can not be responsible if there is not enough food, 

 When i do big cooks i try to cook extra and if i don't serve it i can usually sell it by the lb to some of the diners that enjoyed the meal or freeze it for later.

post #6 of 10

Also if this is a company you work for . Then  EVERYTHING changes. they are wanting something for nothing. . It may affect your job if you charge them what i would charge the public.

  At work i would write up a itemized bill of what it would normally cost and then cut it by at least a third.if not half.  show them the bill and what they saved. But unless you are happy w/ that amount tell them that it's a one time deal.

 This is why i won't cook for big jobs at work.!!!

post #7 of 10

Yep, for the office changes everything.


When I do a batch of pulled pork, the office buys the materials (everybody chips in and brings sides, but the two main bosses buy the meat).  I "donate" my time, but since it's an overnight cook, the day before, they let me "work" from the house.  On the smoker by 1-2pm, off at 200-205 internal between 6am and 9am (depending on stall, if any, usually hits the 7:30 to 8AM mark).  Double foil wrapped and into a mid size cooler.  Still too hot to handle when pulled at the event at 11:30am.   I also make a cooked homemade vinegar based sauce which goes about 5x faster than any of the store bought they buy, but they always buy KC original too.


The flip side..... my pit is running on a power draft.  If I have fuel, I have fire and the temps are rock solid requiring no real tending.  Yes it still takes time to trim, rub and prep the meat, but for the office we just sort of trade it out time wise.  I cook up a batch of sauce while the meat is smoking, etc...


We do have another guy who owns a catering service who has a commercial smoking trailer.  He does not do the office gig anymore.  Says it "costs" too much.  I look at it this way, as long as they buy the supplies (especially the meat with today's prices), I'm good with a trade (and it does make you real popular at the office).

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey thanks guys!! We like popular when it comes to our cooking. Lol. This next cook is actually for somebody else's organization and not my workplace, so I'm gonna look at your advice and go from there. I was talking to a D.J. friend of mine and he gets 200 bucks for 4 hours. So taking all this into consideration, I now know, labor wise, I'm not gonna do all the prep, an all day cook, then teardown, for 100 bucks. Thanks again, Perry.
post #9 of 10

Also check what the local competition is charging - most places have a catering menu that breaks it down to either a cost per plate or a price per lb. + price of sides. You may have the best product in the world, but if your charging 5x the local competitor cost you still won't get the business. Call competitors and ask for a quote on 100 people and ask what is included for that $$.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Great idea. I will call. Tks!!
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