Most “average” caterers can make between $32,000 and $75,000 a year. Those numbers reflect a pretty wide salary spectrum. The amount of money you earn depends on a number of variables. First: location, location, location. If you live in New York City, you’ll make more than a caterer in Des Moines, Iowa. In Beverly Hills for big Hollywood parties, it’s $350 a head for one event, which can have 500 people – a caterer profits a hundred bucks a head just for that one event… now throw two of those every month and you’re doing quite well for yourself. The cost of living is more in an urban area and people are more willing to pay high prices for catering. Also, the size of your catering company determines how much you make. Two to three people generally man small catering companies. Large catering companies employ an entire staff of prep cooks, bakers and servers.
Starting off, caterers must expect some slow seasons. In order to weather the small trickle of clientele, caterers must be able to budget their own money. This means that you can’t blow all of your cash on an Italian wood fired oven. Maintaining a budget is essential. Knowing how to price your catering services will also help you to attract clients, while keeping the water on. And it is ever so difficult to cook without water.
Sitting at home and watching Top Chef reruns won’t get you the clientele. Caterers must market themselves to their community by handing out business cards, establishing connections with vendors and introducing themselves to venues. In fact, many venues only use certain caterers. Being on their list of preferred caterers is like money in the bank… well, kind of. Even a steady gig won’t make your career skyrocket. Plan on developing marketing materials that entice clients; websites, brochures and menus are essential when it comes to being a successful catering. Offering to wipe down someone’s windshield in exchange for their business, on the other hand, might come across as a little desperate.