The Caterers Corner
Should I charge for tastings Caterers Corner: Should I charge for tastings
By Monique (Monique) on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 12:25 am: Edit

As a new catering business - just under a year I find people asking for tastings. Iam tryign to get some corporate accounts right now and a manager from one corporation ask for a tasting after getting a recommendation from someone who had my food.
Also this other who already likes my food is asking me for to do a tasting for 10. That's alot of people. I told her that was too many costwise.

I did a private tasting for 4 - my first tasting- where i covered all the cost, and got work from three of the clients so far. Infact its been a chain reaction from there. So its gotten me work. But really it still cost money to do them. I feel since i need the business i cannot charge for them. What guidance can you give me?

By Flattop (Flattop) on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 02:04 am: Edit

If you look in cooking for you, there's a thread that covers this quite well.

By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 09:35 am: Edit

About tastings:

We would be happy to do a tasting for you and have our chef prepare samples for 4 people.

If you are using the tasting to decide on which caterer, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Anyone can cook for 4. Can they cook for 400? Rather than a tasting, why not ask for a tour of the kitchen and an interview to determine which caterer impresses you the most?

If you are using the tasting to determine your menu, we have several tasting parties per year.

I have three different tastings.
1. Private. chef prepare for 4. We charge 100.00, which will be deducted from the final paid bill.

2. Client's tasting party. We bring in our client's, 2 per event (depending upon size) 25.00 per person, deducted from final bill. if they bring more people, they pay, not deducted.
We bring them into our facility, serve wine. They sit at tables. Server brings out foods, serves russian style.... I moderate the event and describe to the client what they are tasting and discuss pro's and con's. Open for questions. very successful.
client feels "this is just the way it is done" especially since other clients are there... and they don't ask for a free tasting.

3. I throw a big party where we charge a local charity 2000.00. They get 150 free tickets. They can sell up to 350. The remaining tickets over 150 costs them 10.00 each, they sell for 25.00 each. Everyone must have a ticket. Even the "volunteers".
I give my client's 2 free tickets to this event. they can purchase more from me for 25.00 each.
We have a cash bar. Yes I make money on this event. and so does the charity. WIN / WIN.

So, I offer these three to every client. They usually choose the free events. They get to see us in action at a real live party.

Each party has a rating sheet so they can make notes on everything they try.

I control my market, I don't let clients take control of my company. If I lose control early, then I would rather lose the event. Usually I don't. they just learn real quick who is in control.


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 07:29 am: Edit

Good to hear form you Carl! HOw are things going along???? Please let us know!!!!

By Cindyscatering (Cindyscatering) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 10:14 am: Edit


We have some clients who request tastings as well. I think someone put in one of those wedding planning books to request a tasting, so we've had more than usual lately on the wedding reception end. (I hate those books) I try to arrange it so they can come by a reception 30 minutes or so before it starts. This works out well for several reasons. We usually have an event coming up at the same event site they are using and it gives them an opportunity to see our setup, presentation and to taste our food (I prepare extra and serve it to them in another area). Corporate clients, we usually give them tickets to a fundraiser (because it always seems we have one coming up). We also do private tastings for 2-4 but we charge like Carl does.....I think I got that idea from Carl years ago. Also, if they want to schedule something last minute, they can forget the tasting.

When we first started catering we did whatever it took to get the business, because we thought we had to. It didn't take me long to figure out the business problems with that.

My take on the catering business:
If you work your butt off; have a GREAT head for business management; take enormous pride in your work from the very first detail to the very last; prepare great food, from the most simple dish to the most complicated, with love and care; and absolutely love what you are doing more than anything you've ever done in your whole might not jump off a bridge in the first couple of years. After that you'll probably just walk out on the bridge a few times a year and look longingly at the water :>
Good Luck, Cindy

By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 12:05 pm: Edit

another idea.

put this in YOUR material:

about tastings:

we offer three types of tastings. (then list the party, the group tasting and....)
and finally private tastings. We charge $250.00 for private tastings, 4 guests. If your reception is $10,000.00 or more, the tasting is free.

then this lets them know the tasting they talked about in the wedding book refers to those brides having a significant reception....

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