Are you prospecting for a catering job? If YES, here is a sample template on how to write a perfect catering proposal letter that will get you event contracts. Having the ability to put together a price quote does not mean you can write a catering contract. You need to show your potential client that you are thorough and you can be trusted to deliver on the services they need.

What is a Catering Proposal Letter?

A catering proposal letter is a quote for the services a caterer wants to provide to a prospective client. This letter is usually created after a preliminary meeting with the prospective client so that certain early arrangements can be agreed upon, such as price and service agreements.

The goals for a typical business proposal are: to introduce yourself, highlight your products and/or services, describe the costs, and convince the client that you are the right choice for the job or you are worth investing in. While a catering contract is legally binding, a catering proposal is an exploratory document and can yet be modified through additional negotiation.

You should know that there is no one-size-fits-all as far as contract proposals are concerned, because you are expected to tailor your proposal to fit the needs of the client you are targeting. It’s never a good idea to send all prospective clients the same sales letter. Clients are much more likely to accept a proposal tailored just for them than one that has a general feel to it.

Note that before a proposal letter is drafted, that there is usually the need for a first meeting between the catering company and the client. The purpose of this meeting is not to settle on a final menu or arrangement, but rather to learn as much as you can about the potential client’s needs so that you can address them in your proposal. You can have this conversation in an email chain as well.

This is also a good opportunity to clarify what you can’t do, so if the customer wants something outside of the scope of your services such as a chocolate fountain or ice sculpture, you can save both of you the time and effort of spending time on a proposal that won’t suit the client.

Outlined below are the basic things that should appear in your contract proposal letter if you always want to be winning catering contracts.

How to Write a Perfect Catering Proposal Letter to Get Contracts

1. The Covering Letter

The first section of a proposal letter is usually a cover letter. This cover letter is a brief summary of your company, including the name of the event and its date, time and location. It also should include the minimum guest count guarantee. In addition, the cover letter needs to contain a brief overview of services that the caterer will provide for the event. ​The cover letter is just used to present the facts in brief so that you client can get a brief feel of your work.

2. Your menu, items and their charges

The next section of the proposal letter is where you can now highlight the specific food and beverage items that the prospective client has chosen and the charges for the items. The caterer should list appetizers, salads, breads, entrees and desserts unless the caterer offers combination deals.

If the client expressed concerns about the budget, include multiple pricing options showing what you can do for a bare minimum price and what you can do for a little extra money. You can present this information as possible menu packages, or as a no-frills meal with possible add-ons.

3. Overall cost of labour

Your labor costs should equal no more than 33 percent of the price you quote to the customer. Include production costs for preparing the food off-site. State explicitly in your proposal whether the price of the suggested menu also includes the cost of setup, breakdown and service.

If these costs are not included, break them out separately by the hour or by the task, however, it makes the most sense for you to charge. If you’re listing them by the hour, provide an estimate of how long you expect them to take. Try to anticipate variables that may affect the overall time. For example, if you have to catch a ferry to get to the venue, the ferry times may not coincide with mealtimes so you’ll spend extra time waiting.

4. Linens, centerpieces and additional Charges

This section is where you can have to settle rental prices for linens, centerpieces, silverware, dinnerware, serving dishes and more. You should list prices per item or put similar items together in groups. In addition, the caterer needs to list all labor costs for delivery and the staff necessary to perform all required contractual tasks. Cost for labor is typically an hourly amount times the number of hours and staff members.

Make sure to include extra labor hours for handling the dishes, based on whether you have to scrape or wash them. If you provide paper plates, forks and napkins, specify whether they’re included in the price or whether there’s an extra cost for them. If you need to rent equipment such as chafers, coolers and coffee urns, include these prices in the proposal as well, along with whatever markup makes sense for your business.

5. Total quote

The total quote is simply a list of all the charges for each section above and the grand total. A caterer also may include a deposit amount to begin the preparations for the event. While doing this, ensure not to miscalculate.

6. Company policies

Catering company policies involve the minimum count requirement for guests, guarantee of services, acceptable forms and terms of payment and any other specifics that the caterer deems necessary for the prospective client to agree to in the written proposal letter. Be careful that your company policies are not so stiff so as not to scare clients away.

7. Signature and payment methods

In this area, the caterer should place a statement of agreement from the client’s perspective and a line for his or her signature. On top of this, an area for the client’s payment information should be below this section for his or her approval. ​

  • Note

While a catering proposal is not a catering contract, and it is by no means binding, but you have to make sure that every single item you need is included in the proposal. Adding up items last minute would mark you out as unserious and it can clearly cost you the contract. This is why you need to do adequate research on the kind of event you would be catering before you think of writing a proposal.

Your catering proposal can get you or deny you a catering contract, so you need to take your time while writing it, and you should endeavour to send it in with your business letter head.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is Included In A Catering Contract?

A well-written catering contract includes a clear outline of the obligations, timelines, and payment schedules for both sides entering the agreement. It should include the client’s expectations regarding the food service, delivery dates, and menu; and your expectations related to fees and payments.

  1. What Is A Catering Contract?

A catering contract is an agreement between a customer and a caterer to provide catering services such as to supply food for a specified period or a particular event according to the terms and conditions set out in the agreement.

  1. Who Should Use A Catering Contract?

Any business that is into catering services are supposed to use catering contract. Some specific examples of businesses that might want to use a caterer contract include:

  • Full-time catering businesses
  • Part-time and seasonal catering businesses
  • Employed cooks and chefs who cater alone on as a side-hustle
  • Restaurants that offer catering in addition to traditional dining
  1. What Is A Delivery Caterer?

Catered food is generally prepared in one of two ways. One is on-site prep done in a mobile kitchen, and the other is catering delivery – where food has been prepared off-site in a catering kitchen.

  1. Why Is A Catering Contract Important For Caterers?

A catering contract is important for caterers because it will protect you from liability and any unforeseen events that will likely come up while carrying out your business as a caterer. A good catering contract protects both parties in case something goes awry, and it is an indispensable part of doing business as a caterer.

  1. What Is The Average Profit Margin For A Catering Business?

Well, catering businesses range in size and business model, but generally, although CoGS may be the same between catering and FSR, catering can operate with much lower overhead costs. Profit margins average 7 to 8 percent for catering service businesses.

  1. What Situation Requires A Catering Contract?

Any catering services that are contracted to a caterer requires a catering contract especially if it is a corporate organization that is giving out the catering contract.

  1. What Do Catering Services Offer?

Catering is the business of providing food service at a remote site or a site such as a hotel, hospital, pub, aircraft, cruise ship, park, filming site or studio, entertainment site, or event venue.

  1. What Is The Use Of Catering Agreement?

A Catering Agreement is a specific type of Service Agreement whereby one entity, the caterer, contracts to perform catering services at a specified event or events for the other entity, the client. In these agreements, the caterer can be either a business or natural person, and so can the client.

  1. What Information Should A Catering Agreement Cover?

A good catering agreement will cover the duties, timelines, and payment schedules for the caterer and the client. The catering agreement should indicate the type of food service the client wants, the menu, and delivery dates as well as when you expect to receive a payment and the due date.

  1. What Should Be In A Catering Contract?

In addition to the menu- and service-related items, the catering contract should include standard contract terms and conditions, including:

  • Basic contract information
  • Final date for any changes
  • Insurance
  • Health and safety requirements
  • Cancellation policy
  • Breach of contract
  1. What Are The Disadvantages Of Contract Catering?

Well, the probable disadvantages of contracted catering services are: that handing over the operation to a contractor means losing day-to-day control over service levels and standards.

  1. How Do You Get Hotel Contracts For Catering?

In order to get hotel contracts for catering, you just have to approach the hotel with a collection of your works, that is your catalog. You can also leverage on your network and referrals from people who are connected to the hotel.

  1. How Does Contract Catering Work?

Catering contracts are legal agreements entered into between the client and caterer to supply food and refreshments in the workplace, for a specified period. Contracts should be fair to both parties and be able to give accountability and value to the client as well as a realistic reward and/or incentive to the caterer.

  1. How Do You Get Clients For Your Catering Business?

You can get clients for your catering business from any of the following;

  • Reach Out to New Venues
  • Set up Google Alerts
  • Contact Real Estate Developers
  • Use Social Media to Listen
  • Filter Your eRFPs
  • Don’t Underestimate Word of Mouth.
  • Email Your Past Clients and Prospects
  1. How Do Businesses and Organizations Choose A Contract Caterer?

When it comes to choosing a contract caterer to cater for an organization, the organization usually call for caterers to submit proposals or tender bid, the caterers that submitted their proposals are screened, the successful ones are invited to defend their proposals and the best of the all is chosen and awarded the catering contract.

  1. What Do Contract Caterers Do?

A contract caterer is a company that provides catering services to a business or organization (its client) for a specific length of time. In some cases, services are paid for by the client, such as an education authority or a company, for the benefit of their students or employees.

  1. What Is the Advantage Of A Contract Caterer?

The major advantage of a contract caterer is accountability. Contract caterers hold the risk and responsibility for achieving success. Inspiration and ideas will be driven by them and tailored to client needs. The caterer is accountable for all catering costs and reports at the detail level that suits the client.

  1. What Does A Catering Company Provide?

Catering companies provide food and beverages for a wide variety of events. Their services help delight guests and often set the tone for the experience. Some catering companies offer customized menus while others create packages.

  1. How Much Does Corporate Catering Cost?

You can expect corporate catering to cost somewhere between $5 and $90 per head. This will all depend on what type of catering style you’re after, as well as staff hiring, timing, and size.

  1. How Do You Get Catering Contracts In Bangalore?

To get catering contracts in Bangalore might be tough, join a catering association or a home cooked food delivery network like Oota Box. As being a member of a network gives you instant visibility & credibility. You may also get advice from experienced and prestigious companies in the market.

  1. What Is Corporate Catering?

A professional corporate catering service can help a business in executing a stress-free event. The entrepreneur or the organizers are given space to concentrate on the business at hand.

  1. What Questions Do Clients Ask When Hiring A Caterer?
  • What kind of foods are your specialties?
  • What would you recommend?
  • How do you present the food?
  • What is the estimated cost?
  • How will you handle last-minute or dietary requests?
  • Do you provide a sampling of the menu?
  • Will The Food Be Prepared Onsite Or Brought To The Event And Reheated?
  • Can You Provide Additional Equipment Such As Tables And Chairs?
  • Will you supply waiters and waitresses?
  • Are there any extra charges?
  1. What Are The Types Of Catering?

Here are the six different types of catering:

  • Corporate Catering
  • Wedding Catering
  • Social Event Catering
  • Concession Catering
  • Food Truck Catering
  • Restaurant Catering
  1. What Is The Biggest Catering Company In The World?

FTSE 100-constituent Compass Group. As the world’s largest contract catering company, FTSE 100-constituent Compass Group operates in 45 countries and employs close to 600,000 people, with North America as its largest market. It services a wide number of sectors, from business to defense, and includes the U.K.’s National Health Service among its clients.

  1. Does A Caterer Always Need To Write A Contract For Catering Services?

Well, it depends on the caterer and of course the clients they are catering for. But over and beyond, it is very important for a caterer to always write a contract for any catering services they are involved in. It will surely protect their business from liabilities in case any goes wrong.

  1. What License Is Required For A Catering Service?

You will need a business license or business permit in most places, which gives you the right to conduct business in your area. A local government agency usually handles permit applications and issues these documents.

  1. What Is A Standard Catering Deposit?

The standard catering deposit amount is 50 percent of the total catering bill. This percentage is factored in after all costs — including sales tax — have been calculated.

  1. How Do You Pay For Wedding Catering?

The average cost per person for a wedding in the United States is $40 for a plated meal and $27 for a buffet. Adding an open bar typically ups the cost by $15 per person. You should tip a caterer between 15 percent and 20 percent of the final cost.

  1. How Do You Write A Catering Quote?

You should take note of the following points if you are preparing a catering quotation:

  • The date of order.
  • Food items required for catering service(s)
  • The quantity of food required.
  • Name of the event and the date of the event.
  • Price for each item(s) and subtotal price.
  1. How Do You Calculate Food Per Person When Catering For An Event?

While there is no perfect formula to calculate how much party food and drink you will need, there are some basic guidelines that usually ensure a successful party. The easiest rule is the “One Pound Rule.” Provide one pound of food for each adult guest (not including drinks or dessert).

  1. Can A Catering Contract Be Evaluated By An Attorney Before I Sign?

Depending on who is contacted, some lawyers will not even accept requests to review contracts that they didn’t draft. An easier approach worth consideration is to request help from the On Call network. When you become a Premium member, you have the ability to ask for a document review from an attorney with experience in business or ask additional questions related to your catering contract.

  1. Why Are Contracts Important In Business?

Contracts are important in business because contracts provide a written document that outlines the full understanding of the business relationship and scope of the work so that no one can claim any misunderstandings later down the road. They specify exactly what rights are being purchased and what rights you’re retaining. They’re binding and legally enforceable.

  1. What Do You Do If Your Customers Don’t Pay Your Invoices?

Here are some of the things you can do if your customers don’t pay your invoices;

  • Discuss all costs and payment terms before you begin a project
  • Bill for work upfront
  • Send invoices right away
  • Be persistent with late customers
  • Charge late fees
  • Set up a payment plan
  • Hire an attorney
  • Take clients to small claims court