The Caterers Corner
I'm sure this has been asked many times, but... Caterers Corner: I'm sure this has been asked many times, but...
By Bbqcorner (Bbqcorner) on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 12:48 pm: Edit

Hi! I am a new owner of a BBQ restaurant and initially I was not going to do any catering. My local Chamber of Commerce just changed that and now I have a banquet of 300 to prepare for.

They are wanting three meats (pork loin, sausage and turkey breast) and four sides (pinto beans, cole slaw, macaroni salad and potato salad).

The loin will be my featured meat and the beans will be the most eaten side. This will be buffet service and I'm at a loss as to how to figure the correct amounts of food so the 300th person in line will still have all the options to chose from.

I will appreciate any help you are able to give me.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 09:11 pm: Edit

How much did you charge??????
That will determine quite a bit!

By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 09:41 pm: Edit

I would do 5 oz of each. You may reduce the less popular meat, depending upon your market.

3.5 oz of pinto beans, potato salad and macaroni salad. If you think pintos will be heavier consummed, go to 4 oz.

These amounts are per person and will assure you of having more than enough where the last person is eating from a full pan. Don't be angry at me if you have 2 full pans left over or more of some items.

While you are developing your catering business, you need to guage your market. Running out is not an option. Having exactly enough is lucky. Having more than enough is not so bad.

Best of luck.

carl jones

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 06:01 am: Edit

Carl good to hear from you, how is the recovery coming???... are you all up and running again???
Hope all is well!!!

By Bbqcorner (Bbqcorner) on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 07:07 am: Edit

Carl, I did the math on 5 oz. per person of each meat and it comes out to 281.25 of meat. Almost one pound (15 oz.)per person. Sounds like a lot of leftovers to me. Is there a reason for so much?

Manny, I'm charging 9.00 a person.

By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 10:33 am: Edit

Dennis, shouldn't you figure out how much your food is going to cost you before you figure out what you're going to charge?

Carl's right -- if you run out of food on your first catering job, it'll probably be your last. 281 lbs. of meat for 300 people doesn't sound outrageous to me, and can't you use the leftovers in your restaurant?

By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 12:32 pm: Edit

yes it is too much. you can get by with about 10 oz per person. you have to decide which meats will be more popular. I think the pork would be 5 oz and the other two would be 3 oz's... only you know your market. That give you 11 oz and for a buffet.. better safe than sorry

manny, everything is pretty much back to normal here. the tornado damage is all repaired, better than before! definitely an experience.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 02:12 pm: Edit

If you figure 5 ozs. ea., which is the safe bet, that's a pound of meat per person!!!!
Cost it out carefully, nine bucks is not much but, if it's lunch you might hget by with less and always put the sides FIRST on the buffet, that way they fill the plate with the sides first and theoretically will take less meat!!!!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 02:14 pm: Edit

Carl, I'm glad everything is going good, I was worried about you there for a while, not posting and all!!!!!!
God Bless and hope everything is good in the new year!!!!!

By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 02:22 pm: Edit

well, i got jumped on the last time I posted, so I am testing the waters to see if it is safe....

Actually, i use a different approach, i put the meats first. for some reason, they will put meat on top of sides ,but not sides on top of meats, so psychologically, they put less meats to make room for sides... it shocked the hell out of me too...

another approach would be to serve the meats at the end of the buffets... i wish I knew what part of the country this was being held. that would tell me alot about portions.


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 04:24 pm: Edit

That's part of the fun though, you can't be perfect! Look at Spike, he gets jumped on every other day, but it is by LA blondes though!!!!!

By Bbqcorner (Bbqcorner) on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 07:00 pm: Edit

Thanks for all the input!

I'm just north of Dallas, Carl, in a small town of 3,000. The pork and sausage will be the most popular with the turkey being eaten mostly by the ladies. I guess I'm a little worried about this Atkins Diet thing, too. I have visions of people walking away with two pounds of meat and only a few beans. lol

Manny & Steve, I know I'm not going to get rich off of this, but I'm doing this pretty much as a favor to the CoC for their fund raiser. Also, all I'm furnishing is the food and tea (I'm figuring 70 gallons of tea). Plates, cups, ice, etc... and most of the work is their problem. And, I will only have three paid people to worry about.

I also like the idea of putting the sides first. I've seen other caterers do it, but never realized why until now.

Steve, I have thought about using the leftovers in the store, but I'm thinking the pork and turkey will be hard to hold without drying out. Any tips there?

Guys, this place is fun! Mind if I hang around and learn from (Texan coming out here) y'all?


By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 10:11 pm: Edit

30 gallons of tea is more than enough.

We figure 10 - 12 people per gallon and always have plenty.

By Bbqcorner (Bbqcorner) on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 06:56 am: Edit

Thanks! I had some weird formula figured apparently.

By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 08:42 am: Edit

Dennis, Manny's the man (ugh - sorry) with about 435 years more experience than me, but I'll offer my thoughts anyway. I was kind of assuming you were doing something like pulled pork, etc., which you could hold and reheat pretty easily - just add a little liquid. Even if you're using roasts, you can reuse them in sandwiches, or in soups and stews. Or use it for staff meals. As long as you observe proper sanitation and temp controls, you shouldn't have to throw anything out.

Your Atkins point is not totally off the mark. I've started working at an upscale Italian place, and we did a party for 75 last Thursday. Menu was marinated grilled chix breast, farfalle with vodka sauce, sauteed veg (yellow squash, zuccini, red peppers), roasted rosemary potatoes, and tiramisu ($17.95 pp, plus drinks, tax & tip, btw). We made three pans of chicken and went through two and a half, two pans of veggies and went through almost all, two pans of potatoes and went through about one-half, and two pans of pasta and went through about one-half. And almost nobody ate their dessert.

Take that for what it's worth, though, since we still sell plenty of pasta during regular service.

- Steve

By Bbqcorner (Bbqcorner) on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 06:38 pm: Edit

Thanks, Steve. I've been kicking this around and preparing the extra meat just makes sense. Looks like having to buy the extra equipment for this event will push me into the catering business whether I was ready or not. And as far as Atkins goes, I sell quite a few 3/4 pound meat plates daily.

By Chefhdan (Chefhdan) on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 07:57 am: Edit

I'm probbably not enough of a veteran to throw out the welcome mat, but I think that only the cocky SOB's get flamed away by the veterans.

Didja ever get a chance to taste that guys ribs over on the square in Mckinney. MAN, those were the best damn ribs I ever tasted & that sauce of his, he told me that Dr. Pepper was involved in it but never how. He coulda done real well but that location over the antique/junque mall was horrible.
What's goin' on with the airport expansion... have all of the exec lears started using the field??? I used to get some decent high $$$ biz out at Love Field just setting the corp types up with food. You should check it out.

Before you get into buying new equipment, research the local rental options. Most of my work was done towards the center of big D near HP but I did get some deliveries out to a shindig in Allen so I know that you can get the delivery. You might want to play the potential business spin & see if you can get the rental co. to do the CoC a favor & either donate or at least reduce the rate. Most of the rental co's inventory has been paid for a few times & they're usually very receptive to civic assistance. I think there was somebody trying to do some rental in Sherman too. You didn't say when the event is but, if it's anytime soon, the current business volume should work in your favor.

Last question, I promise, When you figured the weight of you meats was that raw weights or cooked weights???


By Bbqcorner (Bbqcorner) on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 06:52 pm: Edit

"Didja ever get a chance to taste that guys ribs over on the square in Mckinney."

As I remember, a fellow by the name of Joe Day opened the thing. Seem to remember that he didn't make it installing swimming pools, either. I think the place woulda made it, except he had too much overhead and most were not willing to pay his prices very often. I think he did pretty well for lunch, but the lack of a dinner crowd killed him. Never ate the ribs, but the brisket was pretty good.

"What's goin' on with the airport expansion... have all of the exec lears started using the field???"

I don't get over there very often since I retired from the county, but I used to see a bunch of them going in and out when I'd watch out my office window. Thanks for the advise on buying the equipment, but I'm setting up my wife for the catering thing. I just wanna stay at the store. She wants the catering end of this thing, so I'll put her there. Hopefully, this will be my first and last job like this.

"Last question, I promise, When you figured the weight of you meats was that raw weights or cooked weights???"

This deal is March 6 and I kinda got begged into it. I figured the raw weight and then added 15 pounds to it. Figured I'd be safe that way.

Cocky? Not here.

Now my curiosity is up. Are you from this area, or were you just working here back then?

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 11:42 pm: Edit

you need some help???????
ask Snuffy and see if he can.
hes in your area.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 11:46 pm: Edit

""I'm probbably not enough of a veteran to throw out the welcome mat, but I think that only the cocky SOB's get flamed away by the veterans""......
your kidding right?
how long you been here?,
your veteran enough.
I think you been here longer than me and I don't have a problem shooting off my mouth! HaHaHaHa.

By Bbqcorner (Bbqcorner) on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 10:28 pm: Edit

you need some help???????
ask Snuffy and see if he can.
hes in your area."

Right now I think I'm okay. I've got plenty of folks to help. If it gets too sticky I'll start yelling. lol

By Chefhdan (Chefhdan) on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 02:16 pm: Edit

Started my family tright thar in McKinney about 9 years ago. Pa's in Frisco, Ma's in Stonebridge, and if my wife didn't have so much family over here on the east coast I'd a never left The Great State of TEXAS. I wasn't born there but I think I earned Honorary Native somewhere along the way.

Do ya love yer wife??? No just kiddin', but seriously... keep the catering in perspective and only try to eat the elephant in small bites. Catering can really make ya CRAZY. I seriously think that I'd only do Off Prem again if the client was holding one of my kids hostage.


You can expect to lose somewhere closer to 20% or 30% of your raw weight after trimming & cooking. Not as much for the sausage of course but just CYA, Beginning of spring lemme guess some sort of square like McKinney but smaller, free food from the biz folks???

My best reccomendation is to run a SERVED buffet, have people dishing it out so that you can controll the MORE Exuberant guests (is that PC for PIGS George?)

Best o' luck with it all! Okay, new thought Isure don't miss the LBJ 75 junction...specially now LOL

By Chefhdan (Chefhdan) on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 02:20 pm: Edit


DAMNNIT Man you sure say the nicest things,

God gave some of us big mouths so that we could afford to shoot some of it off!!!

Okay, Less prolific Veteran Status Accepted!!!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 02:49 pm: Edit

Spike????? Are you on the right board?????

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 12:15 am: Edit

is chefhdan drunk again?
THANK GOD theres a Texan here !!!
and thank God for you too Manny.

By Chefhdan (Chefhdan) on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 07:45 am: Edit

At 2 o'clock on a Sunday???

DRUNK??? Nope, at work though so clearly I wasn't in my right mind

Guess I was in my left mind...???

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 09:08 pm: Edit

2 o'clock, 4 o'clock, 6 o'clock rock.....

By Chefhdan (Chefhdan) on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 06:28 am: Edit

8 o'clock on the rocks

Add a Message

This is a private posting area. A valid username and password combination is required to post messages to this discussion.