Pricing from high end Boston-area caterers
Just wondering what to expect. For a 150-person event, the one caterer I have contacted quoted $75/person for food, plus an hourly rate ($25-$38/hour) for 10 chefs and servers (8-9 hours for each of the 10 people, even though the event itself is only 4 hours), plus $3,000 for rentals (plates, silverware, glasses, etc.), plus 7% tax on everything, plus a 15% "suggested tip"? Is this normal at the high end?
If you are looking at The Catered Affair and Max Ultimate Foods of the Boston area, then yes it is. In fact, for a plated dinner, both of those caterer's would most likely cost you closer to $90-100/person for food. A buffet may run you slightly less. Season to Taste in Cambridge my be slightly less expensive and serves quality food but the service would be significantly inferior.
My wife just ran an event with "Lavishly Dunn" for 120 people that ran about 80pp - I thought they did a very nice job and were certainly willing to work with her regarding menu, service, etc. to keep the cost down. Hotel catering departments are much more expensive, and always seem to have a bunch of charges that get added at the end, without adequate prior notification.
another suggestion is to figure out how much you want to spend and contact caterers with your budget info. that way they can tweak the package. they need to bill in set-up and breakdown times too, not just the hours indicated on your invitation.
day of the week also affects pricing. a buffet or reception will require fewer servers than a sit-down meal. feel free to negotiate on types of plates and linens. those can add a LOT to the final bill.