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How Much Does A Catering Service Cost

Having a catering service relieves much of the burden and pressure, brought on by meal preparation for parties and events. Providing a much needed atmosphere, caterers are either specialists ('boutique-caterers') of food services, or providers across many food related services, that go from basic lunch catering all the way to fine-dining, prepared by professional chefs with accompanying themes.

Catering Fees

Getting quotes that itemize fees will depend mainly on the menu items that are chosen and the cuisine, whether there is customer pickup, or delivery and setup off-premise, the mode of presentation, any permits, fees and rentals associated with the occasion and any hors d'oeuvres that are served. As well as if there is a buffet or if meals are being table-served along with the alloted number waiters who are present to service guests. Also, there may be hourly rates assessed for waitpersons & other staff. Other elements are whether or not there is a full-service bar (generally seperated out) and how the cleanup afterward is to be handled.

Overall, catering services usually charge on a per person/per plate basis.
  • Economical catered lunches begin as low as $6 per person, getting down to the basic box lunch, on up to three times that much for the more elaborate. But $11 on up to $25 is a range more typical. As prices drop based on the number served. Trays that compliment the lunch or luncheon with condiments like sliced tomatoes, onions and pickles to add on the sandwiches are around $20 to $35 that serve 15 to 20 people.

  • Other trayed extras are meat and cheese ($2 to $4 per person) or fruit trays (roughly $1 to $1.50 per person) or vegetable trays (under $1.25 per person). Finger foods like shrimp and croissants and dessert trays or their combinations are often available.

  • Catered dinners vary to the extreme. Figuring $25 or $30 is a realistic starting point only, depending on the occcasion. But this can be misleading as prices rise erratically not only by service, but particularly by location and what is being served.

  • Weddings may be catered economically for $60. For those wanting a rich outlay of appetizers and desserts & choice options for the the main course, spending $130 to $150 per plate may meet their tastes and expectations for the event.

  • Whether for Breakfast, a Luncheon, Dinners or Appetizers, expect an extra charge for under a minimum number of persons. Popular is 50 - 75 persons attending.

  • Additional charges mostly occur at the upper end of the dining spectrum. With fees that cover everything from ice carvings, to staging and special lighting effects, to painted plates and plate chargers beside floral arrangements. Tables alone might have solid linens, overlays or runners. Even chocolate dipped strawberries aren't omitted.

  • The gratuity/service charge, oft-disputed as to its "proper" amount, is 15% and greater of the total bill.

Tips and Ways to Cut Costs

Going with known entities like restaurants with whom you are already familiar, can help eliminate doubt factors. Based on awareness of menu options and degree of service in combination with your preferences.

Too, many banquet halls offer catering services. But beware, many of the halls are notorious for charging as much as double for the same food catering as the next.

As a norm, customers pay the most (a) on weekends when caterers are busiest and (b) when taking part in and around venues of the big cities and metroplitan areas.

How Caterers Determine Bills: traditionally, amounts being charged are often estimated by calculations that are based on food costs. These variants are found normally among off-site catering services by the countless caterers across the country. For food services done on-site, prices are normally figured to include many other costs associated with preparing the total presentation - which are much easier to receive competitive bids on.

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