Frequently Asked Questions
How much will it cost?
We understand that spending money wisely is important to you. It’s important to us too. We purposely do not print specific prices of individual items on our menus as they can be misleading. Since catering involves so much more than just the food, it is extremely important when determining cost to consider all factors that go into producing a successful and memorable event.
Each event is entirely unique, therefore it would be simply impossible to put a single price tag on what it would cost for Big City to cater your special event. To offer a general sense, our prices for a simple event begins anywhere between $25-45 per person, with averages ranging between $40-80 per person. We also produce many events that exceed $100 per person.
The information below offers a comprehensive look at these costs — the honest true price of serving delicious food, presented artfully from professional, friendly staff to you and your guests. Resist the urge to compare the cost of a catered event to the cost of making food yourself or going to a restaurant. While this approach is certainly understandable, the “BIG” difference between going to a restaurant and using a caterer is that we bring the restaurant to you!
Transportation, service equipment and utensils, logistical planning, and the timely service of large quantities of food bear necessary expenses that will reflect in the overall price of your event.
The majority of the caterer’s cost is often the food. Important factors to consider are: 1. How many courses are you considering serving for a meal? (i.e., appetizers, main course, dessert, etc.) 2. How many options in each course would you like to choose from? and 3. What type of food would you like to serve?
Drinks are also an important item to consider. Do you plan to serve alcohol, non-alcoholic beverages, or both? What about coffee and tea service? The general reality is – the more food and more options you choose, the more it will cost.
In order to successfully serve people, caterers must provide basic dishware and utensils. At Big City, if you choose to use our disposable acrylic plates, napkins, cups, and utensils — these items are included in the menu price. On the other hand, if you prefer to use china, real silverware, and glassware the menu price will increase. Additional items to keep in mind are guest seating tables, chairs, buffet and service tables, linens, flowers, etc.
Is there a kitchen at the venue you have selected? Unfortunately, this is often overlooked in the planning process. The availability of on-site kitchen facilities can have a direct impact on the type of food that can be served at your event. If there’s no kitchen at your event locale – Don’t worry! We bring all necessary equipment with us that we could possibly need. From local parks to church halls, retail stores to banquet facilities, Big City is able to handle all types of unique event spaces.
The people who transport your food, prepare it on-site, serve it eagerly, and clean it up also add to the cost of an event. The total number of staff will vary according to the complexity and size of your menu, your anticipated guest count and the level of professional and personal service you desire. Please keep this in mind when considering plated service, passed appetizers, buffet stations, and bar tending service.
A standard practice in the catering business is to apply a service charge to the total price of all events. This traditional charge is not a gratuity that is shared amongst on-site staff. Rather, this charge pays for everything from the labor to produce the food for your event to the wear and tear on service utensils to the time we spend with you designing and revising your menu. At Big City, we always give you every ounce of necessary energy to make your event an absolute success.
Delivery and Set-Up
Sometimes your event is smaller and may not require any type of staffing. We offer a few different levels of service depending on the needs of our client and the event expectations. A simple delivery and drop-off is when all food is delivered in disposable containers for you to display in any manner suitable. A delivery and full set-up is when a delivery person will arrive at your event location approximately one hour prior to the event start time and set-up the food items utilizing our platters, chafers, linens, etc. We will also return after the event or the following day to retrieve our equipment.
A Service Charge and a Delivery Charge are two separate charges. The majority of the Delivery Charge covers fuel and overall vehicle maintenance, insurance, and other necessary costs. Some catering companies include the delivery price in with the price of the food. At Big City, we prefer to line item all charges for easier understanding of all costs involved with your event. We believe this gives our clients more flexibility to decide what level of service they prefer.
While gratuities for the service staff are not required, they are greatly appreciated. In addition to the basic premise of working hard, our professional, knowledgeable staff provides an open, friendly attitude that makes a visible difference to you and your guests.
The “Big City” Picture
The above information is intended to give you an honest, thorough overview of what it costs to turn your event into how you envisioned it – the best it can be! We do not intend to make you gasp for air or get a queasy feeling inside when you start thinking about how it all adds up.
The most important thing to us is to make your event memorable and to serve people unique and delicious culinary creations. We are always willing to work with you and your budget to arrive at something that works for everyone.
Please let us know if we can answer any additional questions and help to make your event dream turn into a successful reality.