Post # 1
Hi bees, I need some advice about catering. Sorry about the super long post!
At the beginning of December, we spoke with our caterer. Everything sounded good. We signed the contract and gave a $100 deposit check. Easy peasy.
We had noticed on the contract that prices would change in 2014 to reflect food pricing. My uncle caters in this area (upscale food, didn’t really fit the “mood” of our picnic wedding) and he raises his prices by about 50 cents every year for the same reason. So we thought nothing of this, and thought of it as an industry standard.
Fast forward to this morning. I get a voicemail from the caterer saying that the price has increased by $4/pp! That is a 22% increase. This seems outrageous. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I feel that they’re trying to gouge us because we’re wedding clients. When I called to negotiate, he said there wasn’t anything we could do about the pricing (no substitutions, etc.) because it’s their most basic package and “that’s just the new pricing.”
When we add up the increased bill with the amount of increased tax and gratuity, we’re looking at a $650 increase, which puts us $600 over our budget for catering. It may not sound like a lot, but we’re paying for the entire wedding ourselves and we’re on a very small budget, so $600 is a huge blow. Our caterer did mention that they can’t cash the deposit check until we sign a new contract with the adjusted pricing (which he put in the mail without talking to us first), so we’re technically not out any money yet.
What would you do? Should we suck it up and trim other areas of our budget? Should we try to look elsewhere seven months out from the wedding?
Post # 3
I have found when I put a deposit down, it meant that was the price I was getting. It held the spot and the price. Thats why a lot of people book things before the new year. If you signed a contract I would check and see if anything like that is mentioned.
Post # 4
- Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI
If you have enough time to quickly price some other caterers it might be worth it. I think it’s reasonable for you to take a little time to decide before you sign and have them deposit your check.
Like @tootsweet: when I signed our contract I was able to lock in 2013 pricing for everything. But since you’re saying your contract stated prices would go up in the new year and they didn’t specifiy by how much then you’re kind of stuck if you stay with them.
Post # 5
I don’t think it’s too late to look elsewhere. I booked my caterer 5 months out, and they were awesome.
Post # 6
@PolleninLove: If you signed the contract and paid the deposit in 2013, I’m shocked that they’re trying to charge you 2014 rates. Normally you sign exactly what you will pay per person in the contract. The contract should state that it will be $x/pp and that is what you’ll be paying.
Post # 7
Check your contract. Read every line. A price increase isn’t unreasonable. A 22% price increase is unreasonable.
I would not hesitate to threaten to get a lawyer involved, or a complaint to the BBB, bad online review, the works.
Post # 8
Thanks for all of your help, Bees!
I’m not 100% against a price increase…I just wasn’t expecting such a big increase. And yes, I think it’s a bit sketchy that they want me to sign a whole new contract now with the new price. Why did I sign the first one then, right?
I just wanted to make sure this wasn’t normal before getting involved. I think I’ll start looking at other options, too, since we’re not out any money as of right now.
Post # 9
And yes, I will definitely be going over that contract with a fine-tooth comb!
Post # 10
I’m not sure if that’s normal but, I’d say that 3% is a standard year to year increase for business’s. I would look around myself, even if you lost your 100.00 deposit, that’s cheaper than paying an extra 600 for “their basic package” as he puts it.