Catering - How do you do it?

I’m starting a big push for Catering next week to help out our lunch sales.

Please chime in with what packages have sold well for you. How many slices per person you figure, how many ounces of salad you figure per person. What has helped you seal the deal? I’ve decided I’m going to do some sampling of our pasta and sandwich items to get the ball rolling. Any other advice? How far in advance do you require for an order? What price range do you allow for what distance? Obviously I don’t mind going farther for a $300 order – but how far is too far etc?



What are you going to offer on your catering menu?

When we do pizza we average 2.5 slices per person we use 14"pizzas cut into 8 slices. For group salads we average 4oz pp. I also do meat trays veggie trays fruit trays Wings etc.

I can not help with food suggestions, however, make sure you have marketing material available…Menus, magnets, pens, balloons (for the kids) etc…Many of these people will have never been in your place and are a good potential market…



We do primarly pizza & salad trays. In addition we also do tea by the gallon and also offer lemonade. I usually figure 4 people per pie. We use our large pie which is 16". So if I do an order for 25 people that would be seven 16" pie’s (I always round up). This would yeild 56 slices plus the salad tray (I’d send out 2 trays for 25 people - which yields a small side salad per person). All the pie’s average 2 toppings (so if I use a chz or just pepperoni pie I’ll use the extra topping on another pie.) Our 16" two-topping pie goes for $15.60 (hand tossed, deck oven, grande cheese) so the menu price on the pie’s = $109.20. I will then add the gallon of tea (probably 3 in this case) at $3.99 per gallon. The salad tray goes for $15.99 each. = total bill $153.15. This is what I show on the receipt & then I’ll apply a discount to get the price down to $5 per person or $125 + tax. The extra expense is (3) jugs with lids & (2) salad trays.
Plus the delivery person (usually my wife) ends up scooping up about a $15 or $20 tip!
Why it works so good is this…
While I am out marketing, I tell the “decision maker” I’ll give you a great selection of meat, veggie, combos along with the salads and drinks for five bucks a head. Gourmet pie’s all made to order. We’ll deliver & set-up, you just bring the appetite! Of course this includes, plates, napkins, cups, forks, knifes, & salad dressings.
Hope this helps!


I am open for suggestions on what works. But so far I plan on having a veggie tray. A sandwich tray. Cajun Chicken Pasta. Meatballs and Marinara, and Pizza and Salads. Maybe a wing platter.

Pharmaceutical reps are the best…we usually ask them is they had anything in mind…pizzas are more budget conscious as you can average 4 people to a LG (18"). Salads are big…we offer them in full or half trays and recommend the grilled chicken caesar or greek/chefs salad. We also offer platters of assorted freshly grilled wraps (sold by pc) or trays of pasta (full or 1/2 trays)…make sure to ask for drinks and desserts…always make sure you are on time and include paper goods (we also include plastic catering spoons for serving)…presentation is huge so buy the quality packaging materials and nice plates & plastic and charge accordingly…we only discount large orders if requested on a case by case basis, most of the time it is a business write-off so nobody cares…I would rather hook-up the person placing the order with gift cards for personal use…its alot of work in the beginning, but soon you will see the orders coming in regularly if you put out a good product

i’m having some trouble getting my catering setup as well, but it mostly centers around how to break the price down to something easier for the customer to understand.

point being, i’ve sold a few catering jobs so far and keep running into the same problem…they’ll say ok, i need to feed 25 people pizza and salad. i quote a pp price of around $5, but then they ask how many pizzas they’re getting for that price. its like they dont udnerstand that we know how much it takes to feed a certain group size. so then i use the 2.5 slices pp method, rounding up and arrive at 8 large pizzas to cover it. then they want to argue that 8 wont be enough…etc

then the problem arrises that they say they want so many cheese, so many pepperoni, so many combination, etc. so we keep bumping heads because of this. how is everyone else getting around these roadblocks, or are my customers unique?

once i get this straightened out with a clear and easy explaination, i can then put together an actual catering menu and going after this business more heavily. my catering is focusing on pizza, salads and dessert mainly


Glad to hear I’m not the only one who is having trouble getting the ball rolling on this. I’ve been doing lots of reading over the past few weeks. Having a menu with your pricing will probably help you out. Then you can offer them $5.00 a person and on your menu show that is an average of 2.5 slices per person, or 5.50, for 3 slices on average per person etc… then keep moving it up.

I’ve been using google to search lots of different catering menus, and seeing what is most common, and what I can offer besides pizza with my equipment setup.

If I was to do a direct mail piece, who would I address the letter to?


My pricing structure is more around $2.80pp for pizza and about $2.10pp for salad…i try ti always sell them together though to arrive at a figure thats near $5pp. up until now i’ve just let the customers pick the pizza types they want for their catering, and most get a few 1 tops and want a few specialties thrown in as well…which is fine by me, but we seem to always come back to the “how many pizzas am i getting” question, and all the fun that ensues from there.

as far as lead generation, this is what i’m doing. i have a fishbowl on my counter that has a little card on it that says “enter your biz card for our free lunch drawing”. the bowl fills up pretty quick, so i empty it out about once every 2 weeks or so. i have my manager transfer the biz names/addresses/contact person name off the cards and add it to what will become my “catering” database. (i run a POS system as well, but i wanna track catering separately for now…especially leads like this). i’m currently stuck in this process because i’m being held up with making my catering menu because of my above issues…

but once i have that done, i’ll be mailing letters to my database of prospects thanking them for dropping their biz card in the drawing. of course i’ll pick a winner (each month i’m guessing?..dunno yet) the winner will get a letter congratulating them and giving them info on how to redeem their free lunch for their office. everyone else who didnt win still gets a letter as well thanking them for entering, but included will be one of my catering menus, a short intro about why our catering is hassle free and a great deal, etc. also, adding a ‘consolation’ prize of free dessert and drinks with any new catering order placed, as well as a gift card for the person who’s name was on the biz card that was dropped in the fishbowl for a free cheesy bread or cinnabread with their next large specialty pizza order. i’m hoping by making inroads with these specific individuals, they will get my catering info to whoever really makes that decision at their company.

the best part is that the free lunch prize is still great for me, as i can form some good will and basically do a sampling at the same time. i’ve also been thinking about putting together some sort of referral program for catering as well, so i might be able to plug that into this whole thing too