You have many options and some unexpected costs to consider. The following is a general definition of basic catering terms and a price range for each service to give you an idea of costs to consider when planning your event.

SERVICE

DESCRIPTION

COST RANGE

SIT-DOWN

A formal meal, your guests are seated and served by your staff. A field kitchen (additional rental) is generally recommended if there is no staging area or kitchen at your venue.

From $25 
per guest

BUFFET

A less formal type of service where the food is displayed on tables or various stations. Guests may be served by staff behind the tables or you may choose self-service option.

From $18 
per guest

HORS D' OEUVRES

If you are having an open house, corporate event, or cocktail party, you can opt for appetizers (small pieces either tray-passed by servers or have a stationary display or a combination of both.) Consider a sweet selection & coffee when doing this option (only).

From $12 
per guest

BEVERAGE

Soft Bar with non-alcoholic beverages (sodas, juices & waters), beer, wine and champagne
Premium Bar (add alcohol for cocktails)
Gold Bar (top shelf brands)
Coffee service (add espresso & cappuccino).

$2.50 - $20 per guest

CORKAGE

This is a fee charged by some companies to open and serve your bottles of alcohol and wine.

0 - $20 
per bottle

LABOR 

Event managers, waitstaff, chef, kitchen staff, bus staff, bartenders, bar-backs (bartender’s assistants).
Depending on the event, there is usually
a 4-5 hour minimum per staff member.

$20 - $35 
per hour

SERVICE CHARGE

A charge to bring the party to location, including insurance coverage, etc. There is no service charge on tax.

10% - 20%

SALES TAX

Mandatory in California, it varies from county to county, subject to change without notice.

8 – 9 %

STAFF GRATUITY

This is a charge that is optional, at your discretion and greatly appreciated by your hard working staff.

TBD

RENTALS

Depending on the venue & the type of event and the type of service, may include tables, chairs, linens, china, glassware, flatware, serving & busing items, etc.
Tents (and PERMITS if required), dance floor, plants, quoted depending on the needs of the clients

$10 - $35 
per guest