7 Ways To Save On Your Catering
I got a message in my inbox this morning titled “7 Ways to Save On Your Catering”. Great, everybody would like to save on the largest part of their wedding expense. The problem is the email came from someone that has no idea what she is talking about.
Let me clue you in on some of the problems with the plan.
Always insist on a tasting.
As a consumer I can understand this point of view, but here is the reality from inside. Caterers buy everything in bulk from wholesale suppliers, they have worked hard to find the best product at the very best price. That works to give you a good price on the food for your event. The problem with doing tastings is that to get just a small quanity of the raw materials needed to prepare a tasting they will be paying top dollar to get the same quality. In some instances, the raw materials aren’t even available on the retail market, which leads us to the other option, buying from their wholesaler.
Let’s just use fresh strawberries for an example. The strawberries I can get at even the best markets can’t hold a candle to the ones I can get from the wholesaler and the ones at the market are triple the price. The problem is that for your tasting I need six strawberries. What do you suggest I do with the other 200 in the flat from the wholesaler??
Prime Rib is another great example. I cannot purchase or cook only two slices of prime rib for your tasting. I can either pass the cost of the rest of the prime rib on to you or write it off as a loss. Neither is a real option.
It isn’t that caterers don’t want to show off their cooking, it just isn’t financially feasible. Some caterers I know are starting to go to monthly group tastings. You can ask about this.
Ask For A Complete Breakdown Of Costs
This might sound like a good idea, but it is more of a headache in the end. I have seen brides want to see a cost breakdown down to the butter pats on the table. Now if caterer B’s butter is cheaper than caterer C’s butter are you really going to get you butter from B instead of C? I didn’t think so. From a caterer point of view when they are doing a bid, it goes something like this. Bread service, $x per person. If butter is high that week they spend a little less on bread. If the price of butter is down, the bread may be a little better. The price on fresh foods fluctuates pretty wildly at times.
In order to do an accurate comparison ask for a per person price and a complete list of everything that is included. Then you can match the list and the price. Easy.
Some rental companies do offer discounts to the caterers and planners that use them regularly. And here is why. They know what they are doing. Not that you don’t, but they do it every week, know the products and have a good working relationship with the rental company. A rental company may spend two to three hours with you going over different options on chairs or china. A pro picks up the phone, already knows what they need and the deal is done in 15 minutes. That’s the difference. That small percentage is compensation for the knowledge the pro has. Whether or not a caterer passes that on to you is up to them. If you insist they do, chances are good the price of something else will go up to compensate for the loss in income.
Get a bid for the entire project and compare from there. The nickel or dime you save by pouring over page after page of quotes just isn’t worth it.