How To Write A Bid For Catering

Knowing how to write a bid for catering can be quite perplexing. You obviously want the bid to be low enough to attract the client, and high enough to be profitable. Where do you begin? Each client is different, how do you tailor a plan for different clients with different needs? You are running a business to make a profit, sometimes the competition is stiff- and sometimes you have to walk away and let the other caterer take the loss.

Know the difference between a quote and a bid. There is a difference, though slight, between the two. A quote is something you provide the client with, after; they have given you all the details of the event. A bid is what you supply the client with once you know the head count- and sometimes that’s all you will be given. Money is the deal maker or deal breaker for both parties, don't give away the store.  Get comfortable with the money end of the business—it is what it is—don’t short change yourself, your business will suffer. Keep the following tips in mind as you prepare an acceptable bid.

  1. Create a formal bid package. Include a cover letter, menu, and cost breakdown. The actual bid should be formal, unless the client provides you with a form, or format to use.
  2. Biding can be tricky. Do not underbid. If you do, you are doing the job for free. Clients know when you are underbidding, most will think you are an amateur with subpar services.
  3. Not enough details to bid?  If all you have is a head count, you can still bid. Truthfully, you can bid without a head count by supplying your menu information and whether or not the client will receive a discount.
  4. Ask for clarification. The client may or may not have additional details at this point, however, it never hurts to inquire.
  5. Keep it professional. Clients may have hundreds of bids to consider. Do not include extraneous information. Keep it concise and professional, do not add details that the client did not request, such as photos or references.
  6. Negotiate-yes. The client may accept your bid, but want additional services for the same price. Get creative, you may need to cut services in other areas. fewer servers, or "mocktails" instead of cocktails.
  7. Compromise. Give the client what they want, but make certain you get what you need. If there is no benefit for your company, this is considered a bad deal.
  8. Always think " future". If you don’t get the bid, send a thank you note for being considered; make sure you offer your services for the next event.
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