How Much Does Professional Catering Cost?

Catering for your next corporate event or private celebration can be supplied by professional catering businesses, local cafes and restaurants, or home-based freelancers.

As a professional catering service, with a 100% focus on providing sensational catering to corporate clients and private customers, we are well placed to discuss the cost of engaging a professional catering service; one that will ensure your guests have the best experience possible and relieve you of the pressures associated with catering for a crowd.

Professional caterers must factor in input costs, provisioning costs, fixed and variable costs, and a margin cost when pricing catering services.

This blog explains the nature of these costs and it will help you understand why professional catering costs a deal more than the do it yourself option and why, despite the larger investment, there is a high demand for the services of professional caterers.

Input Costs

As with any professional service, a catering business has a wide range of input costs in producing the food for your event or celebration. Input costs include;

  • Raw materials
  • Labour
  • Packaging
  • Gas & Electricity

Provisioning Costs

In addition to input costs, there are costs associated with provisioning the required catering to your guests. Provisioning costs include;

  • Food Transport
  • Food Service Labour
  • Beverage Service Labour
  • Bowls, Napkins, Disposable Cutlery and Disposable Glasses/Cups
  • Road Tolls
  • Parking Fees

Fixed and Variable Costs

All professional catering firms incur fixed costs that must be covered off over the course of every trading period. These fixed and variable costs include;

  • Rent
  • Equipment Leases
  • IT Support
  • Licences
  • Registrations
  • Insurances
  • Cleaning
  • Staff Training

Margin Cost

To remain in business, a professional catering business needs to operate at a profit. 

A business profit is derived by adding a margin cost over and above the total of the Input, Provisioning and Proportional Fixed and Variable costs that are incurred in providing catering for a specific event or celebration.

End Result

Because of the costs listed above, engaging the services of a professional catering business, to cater for your next event or celebration, will always cost more than you might expect, and certainly much more than the do it yourself option.

If you are a regular user of professional catering services, you are obviously happy with the trade off between higher cost versus doing it all yourself and assuming the responsibility for the risks involved.

If you are not a frequent user of professional catering services, the reasons why regular users are more than happy to engage the services of professional caterers and pay the associated higher costs, include the following;

  • Quality & Quantity Control
  • Ingrained Food Safety Practices
  • Professional Packaging & Presentation
  • Dependability of Delivery and Reliability of Service
  • Wide Variety of Packaged Menu Options
  • Reputational Enhancement
  • Event Planning Assistance
  • Significant Time Savings
  • Reduced Food Wastage
  • Ability to Satisfy all Dietary Requirements
  • Insurance Coverage in the Event of Adverse Outcomes
  • More Time for Guest Interaction


To be able to quickly obtain a quote, have quality food prepared and delivered to your event or celebration, have satisfied guests thanking you for the great catering, and to leave all of the worry to someone else, is why so many professional catering businesses exist today.

The plethora of professional catering businesses makes for a highly competitive industry, which in turn keeps the costs of engaging a professional catering business much lower than they would otherwise be, thereby creating great value for clients and customers who see the clear benefits.