The Caterers Corner
Question for the pro's from a poor client 1 Caterers Corner: Question for the pro's from a poor client 1

By Len Day on Friday, August 31, 2001 - 01:21 pm: Edit

I forgot. I found out (hadda read the small print) that in SC there is an extra 15% tax. (11% on hotels and B&B's) but it still doesn't add up, in fact it's more than his total unless it's figured on the base. (couldn't find anything to tell me how it was figured so I gave up) So I'm pushing for an itemized bill. He hasn't returned my calls yet though.

By ImDaChef on Saturday, September 01, 2001 - 10:55 am: Edit

Good for you. Don't let him get away with it!

By ChefHDAN on Saturday, September 01, 2001 - 01:29 pm: Edit

I know that sometimes a "gratuity" is added to the catering bill and it actually goes towards the flat fee payment the caterwaiters get. I've rarely seen an actual tip come through the front office after an event. This always pissed me off because clients would think that they tipped out when they really just paid an additional fee for the labor. But whadda I know I'm just a Chef who busts his butt to do the job right the first time. Quite frankly, Len Day, depending on how far you want to push it, and how well you can substantiate the failure of the "promise of performance" I'd have a hard time paying such an unprofessional D***Head one red cent. It might be for the best to go with a "cash this and end it" type payment just because your time lost VS. winning a court battle might be the simplest resolution. I would agree with seeking out someone from the BBB as well as any other method, to notify the public of such shoddy practices, because you can't have been the first nor sadly the last.

No Prisoners!!!

By Yankee on Saturday, September 01, 2001 - 02:17 pm: Edit

No prisoners is right.

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE (OK George?).

Send the bum a check for $500 bucks (in good faith) and let him come after you for the rest. If he gets a lawyer, that will cut 1/3 right there from whatever he may collect. Plus, if he loses, which he will, he'll have to cover his legal expenses and court costs, another few hundred bucks, plus time wasted.

Small claims court is cheaper, but you'll still beat him, especially if you have tapes. Small claims is great: no lawyers.

Did you have to pay a deposit? If so, just walk. I'd also fish around and see if the guy is up to date on all of his permits and insurance. I doubt he is, that in itself might be enough to scare him away.

Be a southern gentleman, demand satisfaction!

By Panini (Panini) on Saturday, September 01, 2001 - 06:45 pm: Edit

yankee, you're right, that is not legal advice.If he comes after you he will have costs.? I da no about dat. You can create some sort of escarow sp? but you can't just flat out not pay him. I don't think the judge will side with you. Unless it's one of those. yu no.
Len, the courts are so full now, work it out yourself, you'll feel better afterwards. You might get away without paying anything, don't send the money. But don't waste the time of the courts unless its necessary.
PS explain that tax again, B&B. This is probably a tax put on him for income. It does not sound like a customer tax. He should eat it if he was not smart enough to build it into the price.
Speaking of Southern Gents.Yankee, where were you today???

By Yankee on Saturday, September 01, 2001 - 08:42 pm: Edit

Hey babe, I got room full of people walk'n in the door as I write. It's Saturday night in the big city. We are doing the BBQ thing tomorrow and Monday.

What I meant was that if someone tries to sue you for money, and they have to pay a lawyer to do so, doesn't the loser end up having to cover court costs as well as his legal fees?

But, if he does win, doesn't his lawyer take a nice cut too? If it's just a couple of grand, this thing should only end up in small claims, if anything.

Panini, what do you do if someone does not pay you, either a venor or a customer, and the amount in question is in the $100 to $5K range?

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 12:31 am: Edit

He sends Vito The Enforcer to collect!

By Panini (Panini) on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 07:30 am: Edit

Actually his name is Little John,I don't run up against anything like this usually. I always require a deposit and full payment pryor to the function. For a couple of hundred bucks, which has happened, I usually draft a letter telling them that I understand that there are people like this, you know the guilt thing. Chasing money is the only thing I can't stand about business. Really! If somebody rips me off I usually let it go. I know it's stupid, but I'm one of those people who is usually very calm but when the rubber band breaks I can get out of control. Ya know the NY thing. That might and has cost me alot more.

By Yankee on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 02:16 pm: Edit

Actually, I can't even remember the last time I went "NYC" on someone. I guess I'm getting older and don't need the blood pressure spike.

Yes, I'm sure the guilt letter works quiet well on most private party types. The only reason I ask is because my last employer was quiet an ass when it came to paying the bills. My wife still works for the wanker, and she is constantly running over to the head office and yelling at them for a check so that she can get her stuff and get to work.

But what happens to the vendors that he never pays? Collections? Christ, they must pull more out of whatever you collect than lawyers. Just curious how these thing turn out.

By Matt on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 02:38 pm: Edit

My feeling as an off premises caterer is that basically this guys is a dips*** and should have definitely been fired after missing two appointments. There is NO excuse for that. If he can't make a simple meeting then he probably can't fulfill his contractual agreement very well either as I see that unfortunately you have learned the hard way. I would say that 99.99% of the caterers out there are not like this one or they're not around for long if they are. I agree that you can't stiff the company. Yes the guy was a jerk, but as you said you did get great food. The food needs to be paid for and while some of the employees were having a good time at your expense I again blame that on him and they did do a lot of prep and such that you never even saw and should be compensated for it. If it were me who was the caterer I would give you 50% refund if this happened with my company but it never would. I would pay 50% of it after it is itemized for his failures but I would ask first. The letter is a good idea.

As for the gratuties, we have a service charge that we add into the contract that we always explain to our client is NOT a tip and if they feel we deserve one after the event they are more than welcome to do so but I as a caterer would never presume to think we were going to always be worthy of one. I would'nt pay sh** for a tip and the linens I would tell him to stick them where the sun doesn't shine. Round or rectangular they should fit when you get done with him.

If you can't get his attention, spend a couple hundred extra bucks and advertise on a very large location on your local newspaper with the entire story printed up for all to read. That will fry his a**. Hope it all works out.


By ChefHDAN on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 03:41 pm: Edit

Oh Yeah Matt, Love the paper idea!! Ya'll know how to play dirty in Philly too huh. Actually Len since you're a computer dude you probabbly know some way to REALLY get the word out to teach the SOB not to go tarnishing the image of OP caterers who bust their humps to get the job done.

Round or Rectangular..Hee Hee..just love it

By Panini (Panini) on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 04:03 pm: Edit

Hey Guys!!!!! Get his side before you fry him!!!
He might come to a meeting with the deposit check and appologize for everything, tell you this has never happened before, he has terminated all of those involved. He lost his temper at the function because he had just recieved word his wife was in a terrible car accident and he just wanted things to be right before he left. Remember, jerks have families to.

By Cateringkid on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 09:50 pm: Edit

Well when I was doing my own stuff, depending on the amount, I didn't go after folks that didn't pay me. I only had two though. One just totally flaked and the other only paid a portion of their bill. Addendum dispute. I let it go. It was such an emotional upheaval and high stess event, it wasn't worth my peace of mind for a couple of hundred bucks. I did get great satisfaction out of telling the offending parties NO when they came back as asked me to do something else for them.

I agree with you to a point Panini. But there is no excuse for unprofessionalism. I had to cater a party for 250 when I got word that a good friend of mine tried to commit suicide 2 hours before the event. And then 3 of my servers were no shows. I spent the entire evening sniffing back tears, bussing tables, shoveling food and not once did I let my personal problems get in the way of the job. When it was over and everyone was gone, I collapsed on the floor and bawled my eyes out. But my client or the event never suffered because of tragedy in my life.

By TMarta on Friday, September 07, 2001 - 06:33 pm: Edit

My 2 cents, guys...I messed up in a very, very small way recently, so I offered and actually made it better for the client, and apologized profusely while doing so. I've lost 3 friends within a week or so, and extended family problems on both sides, a lost cat, broken cars, and two teenage get the picture. I am still there, 4:30 am Tu-Sat. 6:30 Sun., cranking everything that needs to get out,
No one needs any gig badly enough to risk getting burned. You lose more in the long run... Your reputation with clients or guests, if nothing else.

By Cateringkid (Cateringkid) on Friday, September 07, 2001 - 09:19 pm: Edit

Here here TMarta! Well said.

By cindyscatering on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 11:43 pm: Edit

Since I'm in Georgia I'm dying to know who and where in SC?


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