A
Just Said Yes March 2018

Take out catering?

ArabianInSoCal, on Nov 28, 2017 at 6:36 PM Posted in Do It Yourself

So I'm really really getting discouraged at catering costs in my area. We're having around 70 guests. When I initially put my budget together I allotted around $3000 for food based on the averages ($50/pp) I found online, except now that I'm actually calling in for quotes, I'm getting $90-125 per person, to me that's insane, not to mention my entire wedding budget. We're having a buffet style dinner, I was hoping for some appetizers or a cheese platter type thing for cocktail hour, and we're providing our own alcohol.

The thing that bugs me is a lot of these caterers have "starts at $40 or $50" on their websites. I called one of them out on it and they said that that price is just for the food drop off, not including set up and service. Fine I guess that makes sense but still to jump from 50 to 100 for buffet style seems like a lot for service fees.

So now I'm thinking of just ordering from a nice restaurant, but I'm wondering how I could make that work. Continued..

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44 Comments

  • A
    Just Said Yes March 2018
    ArabianInSoCal ·

    I would need hot plates to start and hire people to setup and clean up, the presentation matters to me so are there people out there who do this sort of thing? Make take out presentable? If I were to go this route what should I have in mind and is it doable?

    Thanks!

  • Katy
    VIP June 2018
    Katy ·

    Exactly what type of food are you attempting to serve? I'm sure that's a reasonable price for fancier fare in SoCal.

  • A
    Just Said Yes March 2018
    ArabianInSoCal ·

    I’m in SoCal, having the wedding in Santa Barbara and I’m hoping to have middle eastern type foods since that’s our theme.. kabobs or shawarma, rice, salads.. Greek/Mediterranean/Persian that kind of thing.

  • Bulbasaur
    Devoted December 2017
    Bulbasaur ·

    We're having a casual reception and being catered by Schlotzky's. About $10/p.

    If you're going with fancy, quality food, you should pay the extra for fancy, quality service. I think it would be worth it in the long run and less stress for you. BBQ and Italian are good options if you want something less expensive.

  • A
    Just Said Yes March 2018
    ArabianInSoCal ·

    @Kristen It's buffet, I don't think I need people to serve the actual food, do I? I just want someone/s to replenish it, keep it warm and keep the area tidy

  • Jacks
    Master September 2019
    Jacks ·

    You'll need someone trained in food safety though. Like a caterer.

  • A
    Just Said Yes March 2018
    ArabianInSoCal ·

    @susan R.

    "Yeah. They're called Caterers, and that's why you pay them so much."

    Thanks for your input, I had no idea

  • Sara P.
    Super October 2018
    Sara P. Online ·

    Some friends of ours just had their wedding catered by a BBQ restaurant. They paid $12/pp. I think you need to reevaluate your expectations and be willing to adjust the type of food you're serving or the budget for food.

  • Celia Milton
    Celia Milton ·

    Well, yeah. You need people to serve, clean up, keep the food warm.

  • Dana
    Expert August 2018
    Dana ·

    You could allow people to self serve my only concern is sometimes people can be greedy and inconsiderate of others. With a caterer they can be sure to serve equal portions. I do think the prices are kind of steep just for drop off but I'm not sure there's another option unfortunately. You never know though hopefully someone on here has heard of someone you could use

  • A
    Just Said Yes March 2018
    ArabianInSoCal ·

    "I don't think it's realistic to get the type of food you're wanting, for the price you're wanting in your area. Sorry. Hire a caterer."

    I found a 5 star restaurant around the corner from our venue, and it will cost me about $1,200 to feed everybody and then some. Its a Persian place and their food is really good. They make large orders for events.

    If I go this route, what should I keep in mind and where do I begin?

    I'm sick of people telling me to "hire a caterer". I might end up doing that in the end, but that's not what my question is.

    I realize I need to hire staff, where would I search for wait staff?

    I want the food to be presented well, would I have to design the buffet table myself or is there somewhere I can search for someone to help in that area?

    Would it be better for me to rent or buy serving utensils?

    If I'm paying $1500 for the food itself, I highly doubt that the extra costs will come out to $6000. If they do, then oh well I'll hire the caterer and save myself a headache. But this is something worth exploring at least before I dismiss the idea and I'd like a little guidance. That's all.

  • B
    Dedicated March 2018
    Baylee ·

    Yeah that seems insanely high. But since it's in California i guess it could be super expensive bc everything there is super expensive. I hope you guys find a better option.

  • HappilyEverSearson
    Dedicated September 2018
    HappilyEverSearson ·

    Perhaps try Garbanzo if they are in your area. We have them in CO they are pretty delicious and offer catering services.

  • A
    Just Said Yes March 2018
    ArabianInSoCal ·

    @melissaHH it's called Zaytoon in Santa Barbara

  • FutureBrewer
    Savvy October 2018
    FutureBrewer ·

    I'm not sure if this idea would work, but here's me spit balling.

    If there is a culinary school or technical college that offers a food science program, perhaps you could find some college students who would be interested in extra cash and experience. They would have the knowledge of food safety at the very least. I know budget brides who have done similar for photography/videography.

    I'm not saying this is the same level as traditional catering but maybe could be something to look into.

  • #beautyandthebeard
    Savvy October 2019
    #beautyandthebeard ·

    So it could work. Find a restaurant you like and order it to go. Get those big tin pan set up with the flame and it could work. Totally not a wedding but my friend for her fiances birthday party ordered a ton of food from a local Italian restaurant like chicken, Alfredo pasta, and marina pasta ect. and put them over the flame. When dinner time rolled around it was still delish and I couldn't believe how good the alfredo was! Im picky about alfredo too! It is possible! Be creative! You can do this! Good luck!

  • A
    Just Said Yes March 2018
    ArabianInSoCal ·

    @kirstin I know nobody's trying to be rude. I think the tone is getting lost over text.

    I understand what a caterers job is. I'm not disputing that a caterer could do all of this and be done with it. I know this and I don't need to be told, that's not what I'm asking.

    Maybe I should rephrase my question, if you were to cater your own event, which some people do take on that task, what should you keep in mind once the food is done? How would you go about making sure dinner ran smoothly? What sort and number of staff do you need, where would you find them? What kind of supplies do you need, where would you get them? That kinda thing

  • Jacks
    Master September 2019
    Jacks ·

    Self-catering is really not advised here. Food safety is really important. Hot things need to be kept hot and cold foods cold. Not just for taste, but to prevent food-borne illness.

    I honestly don't know where you would find people with that experience unless you use a caterer. This is what we're all saying. Maybe try a culinary school as pp suggested?

  • A
    Just Said Yes March 2018
    ArabianInSoCal ·

    @MelissaHH sorry, I guess I just meant the food is good and something I wouldn't mind serving my guests

  • A
    Just Said Yes March 2018
    ArabianInSoCal ·

    @futurebrewer thank you, I didn't think of a culinary school at all! I'll look into it

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