The Caterers Corner
How much should I charge? Caterers Corner: How much should I charge?
By Evelyn Pittman on Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - 09:42 pm: Edit

This is all new to me. People enjoy my cooking. I love sharing and consequently, I have committed myself to baking 200 (4"-5" diameter) sugar cookies, 200 chocolate chip cookies, enough chocolate covered chex cereal to feed 400 and pineapple-ade punch for 400 4 yr. olds and adults. PLEASE HELP me come up with the price to charge. About 200 will be adults.

By CarlsBuddy on Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - 10:42 pm: Edit


Congratulations on being a great cook. Let me help you to understand the costs that I use to figure out what to charge.

Food Costs - Direct and indirect
Labor Costs - Direct and indirect (office staff, cleaning personnel, management are all indirect)
Transportation- delivery costs
Now come the sticky ones:
Insurance - what happens if someone gets sick from my food or we have an accident on the delivery and I get sued because the food never got there or a foreign object somehow got into my food and someone chipped a tooth, etc. etc.
Licensing - health permits, etc.
Taxes - sales tax must be paid, income taxes too
General Overhead - advertising, utilities, phone, etc. all make up my costs.
And finally - profit. Profit is not a 4 letter word.

Now many of us do this for a living and support our families by catering events such as this. We must incur all of these costs to operate our businesses and support our families. Some of these costs may not be relevent to you because as you said "this is all new to me." Consider the fact that you may be putting yourself at risk the minute you charge a penny for this "catering."
While this is a relatively low-risk event, might this lead to bigger and higher risk events? If so, you'd better get licensed and insured and contact your health department. Your homeowners policy will not cover you if anything should happen with this as you are not licensed and would then be considered illegal. Insurance companies do not cover illegal events.

Amazing that with such a simple question a not-so simple answer could come from it. Great cooks such as yourself are needed to provide food for those who are not great cooks. Just make sure that if this one event leads to another and then another, that you are careful to protect yourself.

Best of luck. I hope all goes well for you.

By Panini (Panini) on Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 04:18 am: Edit

This is not a cut and dry question. Your overhead and labor will be the most important factor. Most professional places have this already calculated, then it's only a matter of food cost.
This order I would calculate 3 hours labor with packaging. $ 180. + COGS + +.
If you love sharing, then have them buy you the ingredients, don't charge them, this will eliminate everything carlsbuddy states, accept any gratuitis gifts such as a dinner certificate etc.
Keep a diary of the event and see if this is really the way you want to go.
Good luck

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