Ideal Food Cost for Catering

Need to work on my new pricing for a Catering Menu and just wondering if you guys price your catering trays in line with your regular menu items?

Also for those of you that have a dining room do you allow trays for dine-in as well? I am thinking of enforcing a minimum especially during peak hours…currently we have a party room that also doubles as part of our regular dining room but I do not want 20 people eating a $40 tray of pasta with pitchers of waters…the mess alone is not worth it


Catering is a category we can improve on. For me catering = setting up the party at a different location. For any discount, the catered party must be large, ie $500+. If its in the restaurant its a party. Party = menu price, unless its a special group, ie… girl scouts.

Hi Famous,
Here at Hannah Bananas catering the “Days of Trays” are over. We find that system really outdated and useless. Our guests are looking for value, customization, value, entertainment, value, over the top service and value. For someone to look at a giant list of overpriced trays to us seems wasteful and not very personal. We have plenty of cookie cutter pizza shops in our area, we stand out way above the rest. I have developed an easy way to formulate a guest’s menu by their budget and guest count quickly and efficiently. In a quick 3 minute meeting I can turn around a custom menu that the guest creates, not just what we offer. I provide a list of “unique” menu items in each category. Without getting to long, here is an example. Say the guest has a 8.95 PP budget. I can formulate that they have certain items they can afford in each category. I’m only giving two examples instead of my usual 5-7. We use 'sizzle" words to promote our unique menu offerings.

BLT Salad instead of plain tossed salad
German Potato Salad instead of plain potato salad

Ham and Swiss Wraps instead of hoagies
Garlic Herb chicken instead of chicken Parmesan

Home made ice cream
Fresh baked Strawberry Dream caked instead of “fill in the blank”

They then feel like they have more control over what they want, at the price they want to pay and yes, if they don’t see something they want, I’ll make it. We also do all tents, tables, chairs, entertainers and even fireworks. We promote our catering service as a “one stop shop” for all your catering needs, from private parties of 2, to corporate events of 5000. We average about 12k to 30k a month in catering on and off site.

Oh… We always stay below our 30% plus travel and expenses.