- 5 years ago
- Wedding: September 2013
I’ve talked to quite a few caterers now to get an idea of prices. My real budget is to stay around $25 per person for food costs. Then on top of that I was assuming tax and a 19-20% service charge. Also I would expect extra for an upgrade to china if it isn’t included.
Most of the people I have talked to include service staff, linens, cake cutting, and a nice disposable plate package in the price of their menu/service charge.
One of the caterers I talked to gave me a $25 per person food menu but then has a $1700 service staff charge (almost as much as the food). This is for 1 supervisor, 1 kitchen, 1 utility, and 3 servers. Includes 2 hour setup, 1 hour clean up and service during a 7 hour event.
Now, I don’t have a problem with the number of staff. That is 6 people, which seems fine to me (there are about 80 guests).
So I asked them to reduce the hours in 2 places from their proposal:
1) The reception is only a 6 hour event not 7 (the ceremony is at the venue beforehand for an hour, so technically I have the building for 7 hours but the ceremony is at a separate location in the venue–so there will be no guests in the reception area until the 6 hour start time)
2) I don’t understand why I am paying catering staff to be at a “7 hour event” when the dinner is only 1 hour followed by a cake cutting. So I would be paying 6 people to be run the event from 5-midnight. Dinner service is only 1 hour followed by a cake cutting. So I see about 2 hours of dinner service or so with a setup and cleanup period. Why am I paying these people from 8/9-midnight? What exactly would they be doing during this time period? I pay my venue for bar service and alcohol, so that is already provided.
All the catering company could tell me ws that it is their policy to stay all night until guests depart so that they can properly clean after the event they are hired for (and that they are “known by these private venues for this level of service that properly cleans things the venue expects the caterer to clean”).
I guess it just seems odd for me to pay these 6 people to do…what exactly? I imagine dinner and cake cutting would be over by 8. After clean up…what exactly am I paying them to do between then and midnight? Do they just not cleanup and refuse to do it until the end of the reception where they start their 1 hour of cleanup?
By my math, it is about $280 per person for 2 hours setup, 7 hours of service (remember the reception is only 6 hours, not 7!), and 1 hour cleanup aftewards. So that is basically $28 an hour. I don’t really have a problem with that base (although that is definitely good money!), but by my estimates that is $500-$600 I am paying them to work between 8 or 9 and midnight.
I just can’t figure out what they are doing between those hours that I should be paying them for?
Can anyone explain this to me? Am I missing something?
Sorry it’s so long!
tl;dr: Why would I be forced to pay 6 catering staff $28 an hour for 10 hours when what they are doing is a 2 hour setup, 1 hour of dinner service, cake cutting after, and 1 hour cleanup?