The Caterers Corner
Where can I find links to catering organizations? Caterers Corner: Where can I find links to catering organizations?

By ImDaChef on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 09:16 pm: Edit

I've been looking all over the internet for catering organizations. I found NACE which is ok, but it's not really what I'm interested in. I'm a small shop, me being chef and owner and I do about 15-20 events a month. NACE's resources are good but I remember another organization that was more for me (less corporate activity) at the last NASTF Fancy Food Show I went to. Darned if I can remember their name. They were geared more to my type of business. Started in my home, moved to a commercial kitchen, was actually able to hire a "staff" (still lovin' that one), and started seeing a bit of profit. Mind you a bit. (smile) NACE is more for the executives and managers. I don't care about their location.

By Cateringkid (Cateringkid) on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 02:20 pm: Edit

Try the NCA/ICA. They "cater" to all aspects of catering and may be what you're looking for. Here's the web address:

By Carl on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 05:56 pm: Edit

The absolute best is not an association per se, but a subscriber network

By sam on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 10:35 pm: Edit

another great association that is geared to all manner of foodservice is the ACF...American Culinary sears, cec

By Matt on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 11:51 pm: Edit

Thanks Cateringkid, I wasn't aware of the address for that one.

By Cateringkid (Cateringkid) on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 01:01 am: Edit

Oh yeah, I forgot about CaterSource. Thanks Carl. I plan to attend their seminar in January as well. Vegas anyone? LOL. I'm looking forward to it.

NACE didn't work for me either ImDa...good luck in your search.

By ImDaChef on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 01:02 am: Edit

Oh hey thanks everyone. This is good. Why I couldn't find these people I don't know.

Thank you.

By Timetoeat (Timetoeat) on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 12:42 pm: Edit

Catering Forms

Does anyone know of a site that may have Planning and Event forms that I can download specifically for catering?

Any help greatly appreciated

By Yeschwartz (Yeschwartz) on Thursday, March 14, 2002 - 07:30 pm: Edit

Mobile Industrial Caterers Association-International

304 West Liberty Street, Suite 201

Louisville, KY 40202

(502) 583-3783 Voice
(502) 589-3602 Fax

By Mags (Mags) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 07:01 am: Edit

Are there any good reference books for catering, i.e. with pricing structures and how and what you charge a client for? I am new to the business and am trying to get it right.


By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 09:30 am: Edit

Pricing is such an individual mechanism, I would venture to say that a book on the subject would not do a lot of good.

I will attempt to give you the basic structure you are looking for:

Cost basis: A good formula for pricing involves taking all your costs associated with an event: food, prep and kitchen labor, service labor, labor burden (payroll taxes, FICA, workers comp, FUTA & SUTA, benefits) supplies, etc and adding them together... You can then multiply by say 1.5 and that will give you a 33% gross margin. (mathematically, it works)

Now, understand that you still have other costs to take out before turning a profit. Such as: Occupancy Costs (rent, note, interest, depreciation, advertising, property taxes, property insurance, liability insurance, utilities, state and federal taxes, f & e taxes)

So, now you are faced with the decision (through careful analysis of a business plan and proforma income statement) whether or not that 33% is enough to pay all of those expenses and leave you with a decent profit. If not, then you have to raise the 1.5... but that may price you out of your market.

Food Cost Basis: Perhaps a more simple way is to take your total food cost and mulitple by 3.5, this will give you a food cost of 28.6% ( a decent average ) however, you are then faced with the quandry of when do you mark it up 3.5 and when 4.5 or 2.5 , because sometimes you are dealing with an extremely low food cost item, like pizza or high food cost item like beef tenderloin... This is when you hear the cliche, you don't take percentages to the bank... so you have to be flexible, but KNOW what you are doing so you don't lose your ass-ets.

Market Basis: With all that said, another way is to get prices from all of your competitors and model your prices after theirs...

But the important thing to know is that your total sales drive profits or losses. It does not matter if you are making a 30% or even a 60% gross profit if your annual sales do not drive enough margin in real dollars to pay those fixed expenses I mentioned above.

What to do? A good solid business and accounting education is essential to owning a business. Some may argue with me on this one, but lack of knowledge is the main factor behind the horrific statistics of business failure which is more than 90% of all independent businesses will fail the first year and 75% of those who make it at least a year will fail eventually.. that means less than 3 people out of 100 will be successful. I can assure you the people with experience, solid education and working capital are those 3% who make it!

Aren't you glad you asked?

By Mbw (Mbw) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 02:49 pm: Edit

And YOU said a book wouldn't help

By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 05:41 pm: Edit


I agree man, I fell asleep writing the post... can't imagine a book on the subject....

By Mags (Mags) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 06:31 am: Edit

Thank you CaterGreat for such a thorough message...I'm feeling a littled daunted but am glad I asked. My husband and I both have the educational background and the working knowledge but catering is a little off the beaten path and this is our first solo venture. We priced out a party like you said above and took our costs and multiplied by 2.5; the woman nearly fell off her seat even though she had several high food cost items she wanted. We ended up losing the job but when I checked other local caterers, our price was well in line with theirs.

Thanks for all the information. You've been a great help!

By Cater2002 (Cater2002) on Thursday, October 03, 2002 - 11:00 pm: Edit

Guys, I own a small catering hall. My brother mostly does onsite and I do offsite catering. I found this site especially useful -

By Bullard (Bullard) on Wednesday, October 30, 2002 - 02:36 pm: Edit

I just started a small catering business; I live in Alexandria, Virginia and I am looking to rent kitchen space to prepare for an upcoming event --
Does anyone have any ideas how to go about this.

Thank you.

By Leadingcaterers (Leadingcaterers) on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 09:13 am: Edit

Our company is also an organization for caterers. You can visit

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