Post # 1
So I went to my first bridal show this past weekend with one goal in mind: to find a local caterer!
Here is my criteria:
– 150 guests
– Buffet style
– “Homestyle Foods” per my FI’s request such as fried chicken, potatoes, casseroles, fruits, veggies, bread, country ham, basic other “wedding food” as my Fiance calls it like meatballs, cheese trays, spinach little stuffed pastry things haha
– a little “local flavor” for me such a jambalaya, maybe some type of gumbo/ etoufee or red beans and rice and in addition to wedding/grooms cake some small king cake samples
Price? 4k, 3500k, “$20.00 per head minimum”.. ARE THESE PEOPLE CRAZY!! I know I am not a cheap person, and we have alotted 2k of our budget just for the basic food, and have set aside another price range for alcohol, cakes and favors ( which will be cake balls). Am I out of my mind trying to feed 150 people for 2k or under?
Any suggestions? How much did you spend ( if you don’t mind sharing) on food?
Post # 3
We went to a local restaurant for our food. It turned out great. Total was under 2k including servers.
Post # 4
@Mrs_Amanda: We are feeding about 200 people for $21.50 each, and I was really proud of ourselves for finding something so affordable. I didn’t find a single place anywhere that could do a full meal for less than $20 per head. Catering expenses are through the roof. 🙁
Post # 5
Where are you located? $15 per head catering seems incredibly low to me.
Post # 6
We have 160 people, plated dinners for 50.00 pp That includes open bar though. A buffet would have been the same price.
Post # 7
It will greatly vary based on area you live and the quality/experience/reputation of the caterer as well as the food you choose.
We paid $63.50 and we got a great deal for our area. We did a lot of shopping around and negotiating. We also got a lot of different foods (we did cocktail style with lots of passed apps and stations that were open for 3 hours) That inlucded tax and servers and dessert buffet station. It didnt include rental of plates and silverware, which wasnt a huge chunk more.
For $13 a head, your allotment, you may have to consider speaking with a local pizza place and have a buffet of pasta and salad and rolls and some apps trays of cheese and veggies.
Or maybe you could work with a chinese place.
I hate to say it, but that isnt going to get you very far in most places and won’t get you what you are hoping to serve.
EDIT: Dont forget your $13 a head will have to cover tips if applicable, plate chafing dish etc rental if applicable, delivery fees, taxes and anything else that may be associated.
EDIT 2: I didnt vote because the # of people will skew peopls choices. They could pay $100 for 10 people for $1000 or feed 500 people for $2 per person. It doesnt give you a good idea of what people actually spent.
Post # 8
The best I could find for food in my area was about 35/person for salad, fruit, main, and dessert. Average was about 50-75/person. And I quickly crossed off a handful of places that was 100+/person. None of this was including tax, tip, or drinks yet. On top of it, full open bar was about 30/person, or 20/person beer and wine. Or consumption based was 5-6/beer or wine up to 9-10 for mixed drinks. For 150 people, the food/drink tab was well over 10k for me adding in the hor d’s too.
Post # 9
I found a buffet caterer here (Wisconsin) that does a 2 options with sides, salads & cake cutting for 15.95, 3 options are a dollar more. It was by far the best price I found. Most are 21+, but I’d say keep looking! Look at places you may not think of as typical ‘caterers’ like if they are at a bridal show, they won’t give you a good price. When you go out to eat, ask if they cater. Other than that just scour the internet! Good luck!
Post # 10
Your poll would probably be more helpful to you if you changed it to a “per head” price. We paid about $2000, but for 50 people. So it was around $40 a head.
Post # 11
We are doing a sit down with an open bar it is $90 pp for 170 people. The buffet would’ve been slightly cheaper, but no where near $20pp.
Post # 12
im paying $73 per plate 🙁 and that was with a 10% discount… I thought that was good from where I am. Most places were $100 pp or more
Post # 13
HOLY CRAP….. I guess I had NO IDEA it would be 50.00 per head for buffet! We are located in Tennessee… I could make all of this stuff myself for less than they want to charge, which may be what we have to do lol… ORRR $5.00 box from Taco Bell for everyone, haha… joking!
Well, I just got seriously depressed! I knew it was going to be a large part of the budget, but I didn’t think it would 5x what we paid for the venue.
Post # 14
That is going to be tough unfortunately. I was looking at places to cater my day after ‘farewell brunch’ and can’t really find anything for less than $15 per person for basic brunch fare. That doesn’t include plates, glasses, silverware or any servers either.
I think the pizza or chinese is a good idea. You can dress it up to make it fit the event.
Depending on what sort of requirements your venue has, are you able to work with a student at a nearby culinary school or someone who is trying to get into the industry? They might be able to offer a better price to gain some additional experience.
I know many of the venues I worked with requires the caterer to have specific insurance and other things to work at the venue though.
Post # 15
@lmoss78: Great idea!
There is a program near here in SF area through St. Paul deVincent that is a culinary training program for people getting their life back on track. Its really a fabulous program and they are some talented individuals. They cater events all the time (not sure how its scheduled.
Talk to your local charities etc to see if they know of something like that.
Even check out the technical high schools that have large culinary programs. I know there was one by me growing up.
Post # 16
With tax and gratuity, it eneded up being @ $100/person….and that’s with my “employee discount”