You’re Worth It! Explaining the Cost of Your Catering Services

John Cohen | November 2, 2016

What is the biggest objection you hear from potential clients? We’re going to go out on a not so big limb and say the cost of your catering services is the thing you get the most challenging feedback about. You put a lot of time, energy, and consideration into every aspect of your business, including your pricing, and it can be frustrating when clients question if your catering costs are really worth it.

Clients who question the validity of your catering service prices are typically people who are putting on an event larger than their annual Christmas party for the first time. These clients need help understanding what your catering costs cover and why you are worth every penny! If you can help your clients understand what it truly means to hire a caterer for a wedding or any other event, the number of signed contracts you see will surely rise.

Most clients don’t know what goes into bringing a caterer on-site for an event. Especially to a site with no kitchen. One of the best things you can do for your business and your clients is include on your website or in your bids an overview of the service you’re providing and what that really means. Yes, you are providing catering, but as you know, catering is often much more than preparing a meal. Laying out specific details about the number of hours you spend preparing food before the event, the equipment you bring in, and the staff you provide during the event can help clients get a better perspective of how your catering services will affect their overall event.

Calling out details in your proposals that may seem obvious can help clients understand more. Consider making points such as “we spend between 12 and 36 hours of prep time in the kitchen leading up to your event to make sure every meal is made to perfection and served quickly at your reception,” or “we staff one person for every ten guests at your wedding to help setup, serve, breakdown, and clean up after dinner. This way you can focus on your guests while we take care of everything else.” For people who have never planned a large event, dinner for 100 people sounds like buying dinner at a restaurant, but as you know catering for 100 people is a different ballgame than serving out of a restaurant. Making some of the more obvious points can help these clients understand and accept the proposal you’ve sent them.

We know, even with clear descriptions of your full services clients can still challenge the cost of your catering quote. So what do you do? If a client comes back asking for a discount or if there is a way to cut costs be sure to express you want to make their event as nice as you can within their financial means. Explain some of the details of your business further – time spent preparing, ingredients and resources you use, menu details, anything that can help them understand what makes you different than a caterer who may have quoted them a lower amount. Finish your exchange by asking what budget they were working with for catering. If your client comes back with a budget you’re comfortable working with give options for streamlining the catering options for their event to bring costs down. If the client comes back with a budget not typical of your usual clientele make a decision about whether you’re willing to work with them or if you can refer them to another caterer within their range.

Helping clients understand that they are hiring you as more than a chef can help ease the pain they may feel the first time they see your catering quote. You bring an entire restaurant to a space and serve 100 plus people, sometimes with no kitchen! You’re basically a magician! Now go show and tell those clients how awesome you are!

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