Catering Quote Templates
So you have been asked to cater for a wedding, a birthday party, a retirement party, or some other important event in someone’s life. You will likely be in competition with other people to win this business. It is important that you present your potential client with a clear and professional quote for their catering job.
What Is a Catering Quote?
Whether you are catering for a large event or an intimate dinner, you need to make sure that you are accounting for all of your costs, and naturally, you want to make a profit.
A catering quote is a quote that is broken down into key elements so that the person receiving the quote can see where their money is going. Ideally, the quote is constructed so that options are clear. For example, you may be offering a choice between real champagne and sparkling wine. It should be easy for the customer to see how that choice affects the overall catering cost.
It is also useful if the quote is scalable. In other words, if the client decides to have more or fewer guests, then it should be clear how that affects the cost of the event.
What Is a Catering Quote Template?
A catering quote template is a document that you can complete that covers every element of a catering job. It automatically calculates your costs for you. All you have to do is to put in the cost of raw materials, labor, supplies, and transportation – in fact, all of your input costs, along with your profit markup.
Catering quote templates are available free online. You can check around and find one that is easy to use.
Elements of a Successful Catering Quote
Ask your prospective client lots of questions. These might include:
- Date, time, and venue for the event
- How many people will be catered for
- The style of the event – formal, casual, or somewhere in-between
- Are they looking for catering for a sit-down event with plated meals or something less formal, with nibbles being circulated on trays
- Food likes and dislikes
- Any special theme, for example, Tropical, Harry Potter
- Will they require a bar, and will it be a free bar or a paid bar
- Will guests have special dietary needs, for example, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or nut-free
- How long will the event last
- Will you be providing linens, plates, cutlery, and other serving items
- Will serving staff be needed, and do they need special skills, for example, a cocktail waiter, silver service wait-staff
- Will clean-up be needed, and does it need to be done immediately after the event
- Do they want special features such as an ice sculpture or a chocolate fountain?
- Do they have a budget in mind?
You can then create a catering quote giving your client options. This is particularly useful if the client is uncertain and looking for guidance from you. A tiered quotation – good, better, best – is likely to have your client go for the middle option – better.
Some Key Points to Remember
- If the client is uncertain of the final numbers, or if the numbers will be dependent on your catering quote, then it’s a good idea to offer a sliding scale, with reductions in unit prices as the guest numbers increase.
- Make sure that you don’t take on a project that is too big for your resources. It’s a good idea to put a cap on the numbers that you can cater for. For example, a maximum of 150 plated meals, or 250 guests if appetizers are being circulated on trays, or 200 guests for a buffet. If the project is too large for you, it isn’t worth the worry and stress of taking it on.
- Offer choices, but not bewildering choices. If you offer ten plated options, your client will simply be confused. Make sure that your food is beautifully described, but avoid too much “restaurant puffery”. “Fresh field mushrooms” rather than “dew-kissed, morning gathered mushrooms.”
- For a plated event, it’s a good idea to offer a poultry option, a meat option, a fish option, and a vegan or vegetarian option. Make it clear if you are prepared to offer the guests a choice of entrée, and you should also explain how far in advance you will need to have final numbers. (On the day, you will naturally have spares of everything, just in case Flossie becomes a vegan in the interim or Bob decides that he prefers the look of the steak to the fish!)
- Always keep in mind seasonality. Not all produce is available at every time of year. At least, produce may be available, but at a high cost, or not be of the best quality. Work with seasonal produce wherever possible to enhance your profitability and ensure that you offer your client the tastiest, most enjoyable food.
- Build in a margin for the unexpected.
Once you have created a catering template, be sure to date it and state how long the quote is good for. You should also explain your payment terms. If you can, it’s a good idea to ask for payment up-front, as you will have high up-front expenses. You can also consider suggesting that the client takes out cancellation insurance.
If you ask extensive questions and get a feel for your prospective client, their likes and dislikes, you will be able to put together an attractive and professional catering quote with the use of a catering template. However, it is your enthusiasm for your work, your love of food and drink, and your desire that your client’s event is absolutely superb that will win you the business at the end of the day.