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  • #983091
    Inkan
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    Hi Folks

    We branched our cafe operations into catering, in particular, wedding catering about a year ago. We’e had to a number of break even jobs to get our foot in the door but now have started to establish ourselves. We have marketed ourself as willing to tailor a menu to to what you want, even your budget however I’ve just had a perspective client who has taken it a bit to far.

    When he met with my husband (head chef), he said he had a budget of 3.5K (for 90 PAX!!) but then proceeded to list a myriad of different types of food the he wanted. I put a quote together for a discounted about $4100 (if they paid a deposit now). The client has emailed me back saying that they said their budget was $3500 and marked up the quote with his selections (of which nothing is affecting the price), the crossed out the final figure and put $3500.

    He was already getting a great deal at $4100 for 90 people. I really feel like telling him to get f****ed but obviously that would not make great business sense. We don’t really need this job and the clients are already showing themselves to be high maintenance (but on the other hand, work is work) so any ideas on how to respond with out damaging our reputation?

    Thanking you all in advance.

    #1140586
    Greg_M
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    I think your initial reaction was the one you need to follow, sounds like they’re going to make life tough all the way through. Why bother, on a low margin job?

    If they’re a pain now, what issues are you going to have when it’s time to collect money?

    I’d walk away now.

    #1140587
    Past-Member
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    It’s bullying and indicates that they have no respect for what you do. If this means that you lose money and puts extra stress on both of you, don’t do it. Someone tried to pressure me the same way recently, and I had to say no because it would not have even met a quarter of my expenses in creating it. (They kept saying someone in India offered to do it for next to nothing but that I was better and would I do it for the same?)

    There’s a fantastic YouTube video about this scenario. Maybe someone can remember. It begins with a person getting the whole hair treatment and not paying but saying that they only have ‘x’ which is just for a tiny bit of the treatment. Then it goes to a restaurant and other scenarios. It’s funny but so true.

    You have said that the prospect has crossed the line and you just can’t afford it. Just say politely that the price is $x and you are sorry that you can’t help at this time. Be polite but firm. You know your worth.

    All the best.

    PS by the way, the figure you quote seems far too low for a function like that.

    #1140588
    Inkan
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    Thanks for everyone’s replies so far. And yes, KarenC, it is ALREADY a very reasonable price.

    ANy ideas how I let them down gently? We live in a pretty small community and don’t want our name to be now slammed.

    Thanks!

    #1140589
    Greg_M
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    I simply say to clients, “sorry, I can’t do it at that price” … they either come my way on price, change the scope (reduce their requirement), or walk. That’s what quoting work is all about.

    I never reduce a price without a reduction in scope or conditions (payment terms-say, cash up front). If you do, you’re admitting you didn’t submit your best price initially.

    I live in a small town and know how they work, if you back of now, they’ll all be saying why can’t I get it as cheap as “so and so”.

    Stick to your guns and the comment will be “so and so” is a chiseller anyway … even if you get badmouthed. If their doing it to you they’ll be doing it in every transaction they make.

    #1140590
    The Copy Chick
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    Show him the options he can get for $3,500 and the options he can get for $4,100 then tell him the choice is his. He can stick to his budget, or he can have everything he would like.

    Less than $46 a head is NOT unreasonable (in fact, it’s damn good! Show me where you can dine out and have a 3 course meal for that) and if he can’t afford that, then perhaps he needs to reconsider his guest list or his menu options (maybe Maccas is more his style).

    Or perhaps the portion sizes need to be drastically reduced to meet his food requirements AND his budget..!

    Good luck :)

    #1140591
    Sam Hope
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    It essentially comes down to the simple fact that you are a business, not a charity.

    At $40 a head, for what I assume is multiple courses, you’re coming in insanely cheap.

    I currently work for a large resort, On our wedding menu, we charge just less for a single course. And I feel assured your food quality is higher and your profit margin lower.

    If it were me, my response would simply be. “I cannot afford to cater your wedding at that cost, I’d simply be losing money, if you can raise your budget, I’m happy to do it at the heavily discounted price I have stated, otherwise I’m afraid all I can do is refer you to another caterer.”

    #1140592
    Rachel@TheKidsAreAllRight
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    In my experience, those clients are NEVER worth it. They will never value what you do, they will never say a good word, they will never recommend you.

    Especially in a small town, I am sure his reputation precedes him. If he says something bad about you, people will take it with a grain of salt.

    PLUS, far worse for him to say something bad about you AFTER you have catered his wedding. There is not much he can say if you actually don’t do business with him. I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole.

    #1140593
    MH08
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    Some people out there just don’t have the common sense that businesses need to make money, I get this all the time, and at times I tell them straight.

    Best thing, you’ve shown them what they get at $4,100 now send them the quote details for $3,500.

    Never prostitue yourself to a customer that is bullying you and when possible be thorough and to the point when always speaking to prospects from the start and always charge what you deserve.

    #1140594
    Steve_Minshall
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    Hi,

    We get people trying to negotiate a ‘bargain’ in the shop every day of the week. Its not hard to deal with.

    “Sorry that’s our best price”

    That’s it, no more negotiation, good bye.

    If people are just trying it on then they will make the move to accept your offer otherwise let them go and be glad they are not part of your future. No one has ever got upset with us. Some walk, many accept that they have your best price and do the deal.

    One way to look at it if you are worried about upsetting someone is think of the customer who was polite and accepted your ‘fair’ offer. Wouldn’t they be upset knowing that someone got a better deal just because they were tough and they were the one you didn’t want to upset.

    #1140595
    LucasArthur
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    Oh Boy

    What an interesting topic.. and a hard one, although is it? if business is not worth doing, you dont do it! if a client is being unreasonable, who wants to work with them?

    Anyway, business is business and being polite is still required.. Even if you do ‘reject’ the work its important to be polite just in case they are not satisfied with who they went with on this job and may want to come back to you regardless of price..

    In saying that, to kindly decline you could opt for: i understand your budget requirements and we can certainly meet that criteria which will provide you with xxxx (and provide a list of options) although as you stated in your initial consult that you require a specific level of service which, unfortunately, we can not meet your requirements for your set budget.. If you are willing to move on this budget, we can do everything you have requested… You appear to be wanting 50% more value on the quote, although we are only asking for a 17% increase in fee as we value your business. Thanks for considering us, maybe we can work together in the future when budgets are not so tight.

    or

    Thanks for considering us, although we currently have a scheduling dilemma and can not service you on your required date.

    We have people shopping on price, although we have the little advantage that those that come compare our products to some of our ‘cheaper’ competitors see ours are much better value for money and more durable. Our industry is full of those that bring in significantly cheaper options in finishes and quality although prey on internet shoppers… I also have a firm belief that i am here to make a certain margin (% based) and if i can not do that, i might as well shut my door.. There are certain situations that we do ‘work’ with clients on price, although that only occurs with referrals, FlyingSolo’ist ;) and some of our larger corporate clients who buy large amounts.

    Good luck, look forward to seeing how you go..

    Cheers
    Jason ;)

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1140596
    TheGoldenGoose
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    Write back “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” haha. No don’t do that ;)

    Go with your gut.

    They definitely sound like trouble clients. Tell them you don’t discount your already great prices as you pride yourself on a quality service or similar.

    Good luck!

    #1140597
    LucasArthur
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    TheGoldenGoose, post: 161855 wrote:
    Write back “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” haha. No don’t do that ;)

    Yeah that is a word to avoid at present.. maybe substitute terrorist with extortionist… LOL

    Cheers
    Jason ;)

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
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