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curious question

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

hey there guys hows it going?  So I have been smoking meat for about 2 years now.  Have a electric and big green egg love this hobby.  I do get asked all the time to cook for parties, gatherings ect but I have always said no way.  Want this to be a fun hobby and reason for people to come to our place and we entertain and they get a awesome meal. 


But my grandma asked me to do a surprise party for my grandpas 80th ....I guess he loves my pulled pork.  Shes knows I never do this and if I say no shes gonna hire someone and its my grandma so I cant so no to her.  All she wants me to do its the pork for 35 people.  I dont listen well my plan is to surprise everyone with a awesome smoked beans, and a bunch of poppers and the pulled pork.


My real question is what would someone charge to cater something like this?  No I will not charge my grandma i was asking thats all.  my wife asked me and i said i had no clue at all what it would be worth?


Let me know what you think thanks for your time


post #2 of 10

its most likely to depend on where you get it from. i recently got married and was looking for BBQ caterers because i knew i couldnt handle all of the smoking and getting things done for my wedding and for most of the ones i found were around 5 to 10 dollars a plate if everything is included. @Chef JimmyJ could answer questions about catering better than i could 

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

first of all congrats on the up coming wedding.  Be awesome to do your food but also nice to sit back and enjoy your special day as well.  I hear  where your coming from.  Thanks for the price idea.  Hard to put a price on something on this forum I guess because the prices are all over the place depending on time of year where you live ect I was just curious thats all.  Next time someone I could say no or throw out a price if I ever wanted to take on a dinner

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

well did the party went awesome and got alot of comments on the food.  Got asked if I would do more meals I said sure I would its fun.

I guess I will just add up my expenses and work out a price and go from there

what would everyone charge for a 50 person meal just to keep simple

-pulled pork



I have no idea at a guess

post #5 of 10

when I was catering i charged between $12-18 per person depending on what i was supplying and if it was a drop off or i was serving

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

think around here for most parties that size drop off all food in trays and leave would be great

so 600 for that?

50 people

appetizer, meat beans maybe salad 

post #7 of 10

Unfortunately it is not that simple. I always do Food Cost, EVERYTHING I need to purchase for the job...Plus my Time. Each Gig is different. Just food dropped off in disposable trays cost You less than a job that wants you to supply Food, Chafers, serving utensils, Rolls, Condiments, Sides, Plates  Siverware, Etc. Etc. Plus all the Time running around renting or buying all the stuff you don't have.  

This way for Grandma, she pays the the Food Cost and your time is a gift. Cousin Barbara, who you have not talked to in 20 years, pays food plus your time...$25 Hour, 4 hour minimum. You could charge more depending on your area.

That was the prices I got catering in PA. I now am in NJ and can get Twice that and folks are getting a deal from me as local Caterers get 50 a person for Luncheons and $100 per for Dinners.

Since you have an Electric Smoker, you charge an hour or two to cover electricity and the occasional run out to check all is ok. If you are messing with the EGG for a job, you spend more time, 12-16 hours, playing with it so you charge accordingly. Now NO you can't charge every minute but you get paid for more than if using the electric smoker.

Do a little research and put together some numbers based on what you spent for Grandpa's Party, then add your time. Check with local Caterers and see if you come in cheaper or are overpriced. This way you can figure out if any future jobs are worth doing, make some money. Or you won't bother because customers can get cheaper deals going to caterers. Don't forget, without a License, you may need to pay Retail and pass that on. Caterers buy Wholsale and have the basic equipment to do most jobs, no renting. You may not even be able to compete...

OH Yeah...Family and Friends are Family and Friends...Until MONEY is on the table! Now it's a BUSINESS relationship and expect to Treat and Be Treated as such. Make sure you get 50% a week out to buy food and the balance the day of!...JJ

post #8 of 10

It's hard enough for most caterers to come up with our own prices.


A few things to consider:


1. What are you physically providing? This starts with food, but can include drinks, silverware, plates, napkins, condiments, etc.


2. What do you need to prepare the meal? Aluminum pans, foil, wood, charcoal, plastic wrap, are a few things to consider.


3. How much actual work will you be doing? Add up the cook time, serving time at the event, travel to the event, and shopping for the event. And don't forget any workers you hire for the events.


4. What types of licenses are required by your state/county/city to operate a catering business? As much fun as it sounds to just cook some meals for your friends, what happens if some of them get sick from your food? As much of a pain in the butt all of the legal requirements are, they are in place to protect both the business and the consumer.


These are just a few of the factors I look at when pricing out my events. The same exact menu can fluctuate in price for a lot of different reasons. 

post #9 of 10

Somewhere, I don't remember if it was this forum or one of the other ones...Someone posted a spread sheet for catering food costs. 


Maybe that someone will see this message and offer it up again. 

post #10 of 10

What JimmyJ and BackwoodsKevin said.  Price it out down to the napkin.  And if someone gets sick - maybe (probably) not even from -your- food YOU are who they will look at.  Also be careful about licenses, here in Maryland a practice that is Required in one county can be Prohibited in the next county.

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