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Cook Talk

Catering for 200 - Country Menu but Upscale
Hi Ellen, Just now finding this awesome website!!!

I own a BBQ & Country Buffet Restaurant. A customer of mine has asked me to give her a quote on catering her "sit down" wedding reception this July.

I have no problem with figuring the food based on what I call "our normal catering", but she wants much more and I have no idea where to begin.

Our normal catering is set up buffet style. The customers serve themselves and clean up after themselves. We bring the food, set the line up, maintain and breakdown the line.

However, this customer, would like "full service." We are to serve the food on the plates in the kitchen, carry her "china" plates to the customers table, and pour them their beverage from her glass pitchers. Her decorator will insure that the silverware will be properly wrapped in cloth napkins and put on the tables. She would also like for us to clean up afterwards, washing dishing... She is "supposed" to have 5 - 6 of her own people there to help us, but I've been that route before, and ended up with 1-2...

Per the menu, she would like the customer to have a little portion of each meat.. With baked chicken being one of the meats, she understands that if we went with one particular piece, breast, wing, leg, or thigh, that the price will go up. If we are to serve a mixture as she initially thought, then, I'm not sure how to pull this off. I have questions. Are we responsible to find out what each customer's choice of meat is? My goodness, that would take forever... If they prefer a wing, are we to give them another piece to go along with the wing due to its size?

She called the Marriott and they quoted her $10,000.00. She called the restaurant next door to us, they quoted her $5,000.00, then the new owners came in and re-quoted her @ $3,000.00.

This is a small "Mayberry Town" if you will. I'm not "use to quoting figures involving this much work detail - involving glass wear, and the number of people its going to take. Can you tell me if there is a formula to this?

I've held off calling her back simply for fear that I didn't know how to quote it... We have catered for up to 2500 people, but again, its our "normal" catering, ie: all paper products.

Thanks in advance for any help that you can give me...


Baked Chicken (1 pc per person)
Green Beans
Macaroni Cheese
Dinner Rolls (Honey Glazed)
Unsweetened Tea
Ice ? She is to let me know if we have access to any.

We will have access to water, no carts to transfer plates on. And my we don't normally carry trays filled with plates of food. I have one waitress that does this at her other job.

I can tell that you can tell you are a little out of your depth. In many places, you can hire professional wait staff for this type event, and given that it is a wedding, that is what I would do; hire the pro wait staff, do the cooking and food myself, and include the cost of the wait staff on my estimate.

$5000 is not at all unreasonable for table service for this size meal. Let the folks next door have it, if they underbid like that...

Read this thread and then look at the rest of the catering advice on the site:

Then write back if you want to continue.

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