Before making any final decisions about which catering service to go with for your upcoming occasion, it is important to understand how different types of caterers might price their services. When you sit down with a catering representative at a company of your choice, you may be in for a total surprise when you read the quote they offer you. Furthermore, they may even try to up-sell you on services and amenities you do not need.
To avoid being caught off-guard by an expensive or unnecessary catering quote, it is helpful to understand how some catering services segment their prices, and how to match your catering needs with the right provider in order to save money. With this knowledge, you can ensure that you pay for only what you need. Continue reading to learn some common catering price models, and how to find the proper catering service for your particular event.
Varying Costs of Catering Services
It is important to understand that catering services differ among providers, from fancy and formal, to casual and simple. The type of catering service you choose will have a major impact on the cost and amenities you receive. If you are planning a wedding, you would want to choose a more formal, all-inclusive service that can additionally provide wait staff, linens, table décor, and more. If you are planning a family reunion at a local park, you could opt for a less formal catering service that can provide hot meals, deliveries, drop-offs, and cleanup, saving you time and money. Overall, the less formal the catering service, the less expensive it will be.
Common Pricing Models
Restaurants that offer catering services generally use a conditional method that is fitting to their unique business model. This means that most catering companies price their services differently. It all depends on their available resources, experience, number of staff, and more. A more accomplished and experienced company may be able to provide lower costs and additional discounted rates, while a new company just starting out may not be able to offer any deals in order to cover their overhead costs. Here is a list of factors that change, and ultimately determine, the total cost of catering service from company to company:
☙ The Distance in Which the Caterer Needs to Travel to the Appointed Destination
☙ The Type of Venue
☙ Amenities Offered (i.e. On-site smoker, chocolate fountain, champagne tower, etc.)
☙ Start Time and Duration of the Event
☙ Number of Guests
☙ Special Requests and Preferences
☙ Type of Food, Beverage, and Dessert Menu
☙ Cost of Food
☙ Requested Number of Catering Staff
☙ And More
It is also important to know that some caterers use certain “thumb rules” when providing their services that affect the total cost of catering. These rules are specific to each company, and will differ among caterers and their business models. For example, many large-scale catering companies will typically add an additional 5 to 10% of food so there is never a potential for shortage. This also covers them in the case that a dish or part of the menu is dropped, prepared incorrectly, or disrupted in any way. It is like a safe-guard that ends up costing customers more money, but also protects them from a lack of food. It is also good for clients to know that large-scale caterers often charge three times the rate of the actual food cost. This means if they are preparing a dish that is $10 per person, they will charge clients $30 a plate to cover their overhead and services they provide along with the courses.