What Costs Should You Plan for When Considering Catering an Event

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Nicole Burke from Emelle’s Catering in Vancouver. How’re you today Nicole?
Nicole: I’m fantastic, Mark, how about you today?
Mark: Good. So you’re in a busy restaurant and things are still hoping but we’re going to press on. We’re going to talk about the costs of planning an event and how much is that catering and how much of that is other things. So inform us.
Nicole: There you go. It definitely is all about other things and l think that’s probably the number one question we get when folks call in. I speak specifically today to weddings only because that seems to be where everybody’s on a budget more times than not and perhaps not realizing all the other associated costs. So let’s think about a restaurant or a hotel for example, in most cases you have existing infrastructure, you have a building that’s carpeted, that has heat, and gas and water but you also have tables and chairs and staff, a kitchen that exists and you simply walk in and everything miraculously happens for you. As an off premise caterer what actually makes it fun is we’re creating that infrastructure, so we’re going to your back yard, to an empty field, we’ve catered on tops of mountains and we’re bringing the tent, the floor, the water to actually make the building, then we’re bringing the ovens and the kitchen equipment in order to make a kitchen and the tables and the chairs and then we consider the food. So usually you’re talking about 60 or 70% of your overall budget in ‘the stuff’ and then the food is what happens secondary because we need to know what we can actually produce in that location before we’re able to even think about it.
Mark: Wow, so there’s a lot obviously to think about on the creative side of wedding venues. Is it still the same when you’re using a more traditional venue?
Nicole: Certainly the costs are less, absolutely; when you’re in a community centre or a place that does a lot of weddings, absolutely. You’re still looking though at plates and cutlery and glass wear; things that you might not consider as extra costs because when you’re in a restaurant they’re just there but we have to bring all of those things in, so it’s important for us to know even small things that you wouldn’t consider so, are you serving beer and wine or are you serving a specialty drink because we need to bring martini glasses for example. And how many staff we require is based on those logistics.
Mark: How far do you guys go out? Are you doing Whistler events, are you doing Chilliwack; what’s the region that you kind of cover? And how does that affect the charges?
Nicole: Absolutely, great question. So, we will for sure go to Whistler and go out as far as Hope. We’ve done both of those things. Staff, labour costs is more expensive because we need to allow for travel and your rental equipment delivered, delivery charges are more expensive more times than not but outside of that chicken, is chicken, is chicken regardless of where we serve it. It’s the getting us there that actually costs more. What we’ll find is more important in those sort of remote locations is actually having a kitchen that we can cook from, so whether we build it or whether there’s one that exists, it becomes more important because we can’t transport anything already prepared.
Mark: Right, awesome, so lots to think about and I guess you guys have check lists that you walk people through and show then exactly, o.k. well here’s how and I’m sure with your expertise with doing this so long you can say, well here’s some places where you can trim some of that and let’s get you into a realistic budget.
Nicole: Absolutely, so we work really hard with our venue partners knowing what they charge to rent their spaces, knowing what’s going to work well for the clients given the size of the group. We also make suggestions certainly to the menu, things that require less equipment so it makes it easier for them to trim their budget and I call it a fact finding mission, those are always the first meetings because when you are hit with all of this information particularly when you are planning a wedding and don’t necessarily plan events often, you can be really overwhelmed with all the details.
Mark: Right. So if you are planning an event these are the folks to call to cater your event. They make fantastic food, as a personal recommendation and thanks a lot Nicole.
Nicole: Fantastic. Thanks Mark. Have a perfect day.
Mark: You too, bye.

About the Author