How to write a catering proposal

Updated March 23, 2017

Caterers write up proposals, or quotes, to give to clients who want to celebrate a special occasion or host an event. The proposals state the types of services that will be offered as well as the details of the services, the food and drinks and the costs. Clients search hard for the right caterer to match their specific needs. Caterers are hired for many occasions, including wedding receptions, birthday parties and baby showers. Caterers generally offer services for all kinds of parties and business gatherings, but clients normally look for one that specialises in the type of event they are hosting.

Prepare the cover letter. Include the type or nature of the event, the date and time, the location and a minimum-guaranteed-guest count. The cover letter is basically a summary of the assignment and the service agreement. The minimum-guaranteed-guest count is standard in catering contracts. Catering services usually charge a base fee on a guaranteed-person count. For example, the contract can state that a menu with a meat and two side dishes for 100 people is $X amount per person. For events such as a hog roast or unmeasurable per-plate numbers, a set fee is charged. Have a list which sets the base prices for a range of guest counts.

Write the contract proposal. The first item is a list of the food and beverages that will be served. Proposals note the menu items offered as well as the price for each. Clients typically have the option of choosing several menu items. The customer can select foods according to guests' tastes and the event budget. List the beverages and include their prices.

List additional fees not included in the food and beverage section of the contract proposal. Try to charge as few additional fees as possible, even if it means increasing the prices of the food. State the number of staff needed based on guest count as well as extra labour costs. Explain rental or decoration costs for items such as centrepieces, table linens or tents. Include an explanation of extra services and their costs, such as cake cutting and serving.

Determine the final quote. A separate page of the contract proposal should be devoted for the final-cost quote. List each charge, add up the costs and place a grand total at the end.

Include a page explaining the policies regarding the contract. Include such things as policies regarding guaranteed-minimum-guest numbers, guaranteed length of time the caterer will be on site, deposit information, contract terms, final payment information and cancellation policies.

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About the Author

Jennifer VanBaren started her professional online writing career in 2010. She taught college-level accounting, math and business classes for five years. Her writing highlights include publishing articles about music, business, gardening and home organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind.