Post # 1
I am in talks with a caterer for our reception and she estimated $1,350 in service fees. She broke it down as 9 hours of service at $150/hr. Our food cost is only about $2,000 not including tax. This would be for a four hour reception.
Doesn’t that service fee seem a little steep? Do you think I could renegotiate those hours with her? The food price for our menu seems really reasonable and I know the food wil be good.
Post # 3
That sounds steep for me too considering that it is more than 50% of the food costs. I don’t know about your area, but I contacted two people about service fees.
$75/hr/server and we’d need two servers so that puts them at $150/hr too, but we could choose how many hours we would need them for – likely 5-6 tops for the reception.
$18/hr/server PLUS 18% service fee
Post # 4
@golchka: 9 hours of service, but it’s only a 4 hour reception? That sounds strange. Even 20% of your total bill would be $400!
Post # 5
We have a 5.5 hour event, including ceremony, tray-passed cocktail hour and reception, at the same place and we have 10 tables. We have:
-1 Event Captain – 7 hours ($245)
– 9 Service Personnel – 7 hours ($1890)
– 3 On-Site Chef – 6 hours ($630)
– Full Service Bartender – 7 hours ($245)
So with this in mind, I think the fact that you have them working for so many extra hours is a little strange, however, if there are less people staffed overall, then maybe they have to put in extra hours each for loading and prep. The prices I listed do not include the extra service/admin charge but there is no tax. My overall headcount is for plated meals and wine service during dinner.
Post # 6
Right?! I am going to ask her about the 9 hours, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t making a mountain out of a mole hill before I started negotiating! The $150/hour includes 4 servers, set up, service, and take down time. But the other caterers that I’ve been in contact with say $25/per hour for servers + 20%, which would still be significantly less.
It’s too bad because they have the best food prices and menu options out of all of the other caterers I’ve spoken with.
Post # 7
@golchka: Ours has a fair amount of setup and takedown included, but they need to charge me travel from their kitchen door to the front door of the venue, so that definitely added more time/cost for us. Maybeathletes some travel or some other padding included in there.
Post # 8
Yes, there would be some traveling involved. But on top of the 9 hours of service fees she’s charging $180 in travel costs and a $150 delivery fee.
I’m just trying to see how other people are charged so I can have realistic expectations in negotiating some of this.
Post # 9
Ours isn’t charging a travel cost/delivery fee so this includes everything. My venue is completely bare bones so they literally have to set everything up, including the bar and the kitchen. Of course, they responsible for my rentals so they have to set up the room as well.
Post # 10
Unless the food isi really that much worth it, I don’t like feeling like I’m being taken advantage of (I mean, more than normal wedding upcharging). Just makes me feel icky.
Post # 11
@love108: If you feel icky go with someone else! Trust your gut
Post # 12
@cherryblossomlove: Yes, OP. Definitely try to negotiate, but don’t stick with it just cuz the food is good. Icky is icky.