The Caterers Corner
Dinner in Wine Cellar Caterers Corner: Dinner in Wine Cellar
By Smic (Smic) on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 02:45 pm: Edit

I have a client who does dinners for business associates several times a year in their wine cellar. They have an elevator that goes downstairs to the cellar so that's the easy part as far as getting food downstairs etc. My only concern is making a profit on parties where there may only be between 10-12 guests. I've asked her what she has done in the past and she said sometimes they have passed appetizers then the salad served, then the main course etc. I'm wondering why kind of menus I can prepare for her that will be elegant and different and still make a good profit. Off hand, without even having a menu, do you think $30+ per person seems too expensive. I'm not really interested in doing a party where I clear $200. I would really like to know what she has paid in the past but can't ask that I guess. Any ideas for plated salads and menus would be appreciated.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 07:24 pm: Edit

Look at "your" costs and ask for what you want as profit!!!!
Don't worry about what she paid in the past, obviously she was not satisfied and that's why you are there now!!!!!
Never worry about what "they" paid before, ask for what you feel is what you think you should get!
If you have to go up, down and who knows what else; you have to take all that into consideration.

By Snuffaluff (Snuffaluff) on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 10:14 am: Edit

I agree w/ Manny on this one... Don't worry about the price. Worry about the service. If the service is good(great in your case) then the price will be right. That goes for almost anything in life. If the mechanic working on your car does an awesome, honest job, then you don't mind paying a bit more.

30$/ person? is that too much? These people want to have dinner in a wine cellar, do you think they can't afford it? lol

By Smic (Smic) on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 04:54 pm: Edit

You are right. Anyone who can afford a million dollar house could afford to pay allot more than $30/pp. Besides these will be business dinners and can be written off by host anyway. I just want to come up with some fabulous menus (not too expensive to make) to have ready for her when she calls. Thanks.

By Smic (Smic) on Thursday, January 02, 2003 - 08:49 am: Edit

Coming up with side dishes has always been a problem for me in putting together menus. I can choose the salad, starch or pasta etc but it's the green vegetable where I have run out of ideas. I have done sauteed zucchini, yellow squash mixed with some carrots etc. Any other ideas on green type vegetables. I've done marinated asparatus/tomatoes also but would like something a little different.

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Thursday, January 02, 2003 - 10:32 am: Edit

What about baby braising greens (baby beet greens, kale, rape, tot soi, mustard) or broccoli rabe with garlic and olives or braised sliced fennel and leeks with lemon and parmesan. Roasted chunks of butternut squash with garlic and fresh marjoram or sliced thinly and baked as a gratin with a breadcrumb and pumpkin seed topping.
Just a few ideas--more brewing.

By Smic (Smic) on Thursday, January 02, 2003 - 04:54 pm: Edit

Those sound like wonderful side dishes. Thanks. Would love to hear more.

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 11:14 am: Edit

One of my favorites is a fennel au gratin, but a balsamic marinated and grilled eggplant and summer squash mix with onions and tomatoes is great too. You have to be careful on the vinegar/wine combination though. (Is this a wine dinner?)
Remember that veggies don't have to be green. I also do a good butternut squash, but baked with caramel, walnuts, and brandy. Depends what you are serving.

A simple thing I do is mushrooms sauteed with butter and garlic then finished with rice vinegar and mounted with butter. Served with lightly sauteed green beans. Nice and not threatening (we have a lot of traditional folks here).

$30 is cheap. They could get dinner at a restaurant for that and you are bringing this into their home, down stairs, with great service... Don't cut yourself short. I am constantly having out of towners telling me I should charge more (the locals don't mention it) LOL

Hope this helps

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