Catering Blog

Why Catering Costs Differ So Greatly

Posted on February 6th, 2018 by admin
catering and associated costs

All over the country and even here at home in Melbourne, Florida, you would be surprised to see how great the variation can be between even two very similar catering companies. There are a lot of reasons for this, perhaps some of them you would not have considered previously. If you are looking for a caterer for your next affair, of course you do not want to break the bank. This means you have to evaluate all of your options, dinner styles, delivery methods, and more in order to find the one that matches all of your standards. Why, though, is there such a huge difference in the first place?

Food Options

First and foremost, different food options hold different costs. Whether it is through the materials one has to purchase or the production methods, every meal or food style can have a different price tag. This is why an Italian banquet will cost much more than a sandwich shop catering option. It also matters what kind of catering plan you are dealing with. Some places offer all three options: seated or plated dining, buffet style dining, and family style dining. Each of these has their own quirk that makes them expensive.

For example, for plated dining, you need to hire more wait-staff than you do for any other catering style, which means it can be a big drain on the bank. That’s even before tips! Even buffet style dining can quickly drain the bank (even with the least amount of wait-staff), since you are allowing your guests to come back for seconds, or even thirds. This means that what you pay in food can be immensely higher than the other options. Be sure that you have thought thoroughly about which will best suit your needs. Your caterer can help you to do this and your headcount will play a big role, so be sure to have that ready when getting proposals.


The other large reason that a catering company may be more expensive than others is simply the prestige. For example, getting affordable catering through a bagel or sandwich shop will be much cheaper than a larger, more high-end, or formal catering company, even if you are feeding the same amount of people. While, in part, it is due to food quality, number of courses, and more overall food involved throughout the night, their name plays a part too. A banquet hall will likely have higher quality foods along with experienced and talented wait-staff. The more well-known and more frequently used catering companies will surely be more expensive as they are more sought after.

It is your responsibility to have a general idea of what you are looking for when you start your catering journey. This will lead you to the right companies and you can get more specific as you go. If you don’t have a baseline idea, some companies may try to persuade you to do as they want, simply for profit. A good company, though, will guide you in the right direction but leave full discretion to confirm or deny propositions to you. This is why getting proposals from multiple places is important! You may be able to get the same amount of food with a smaller bill if you shop wisely.

Be sure to check out all the Melbourne FL catering options we have listed at the site.