After I have a general idea of what I am cooking and when, I than need to figure out how much it is going to cost.
The first thing I do is to take every recipe I am going to be using and putting it in a spreadsheet form. I include what quantities I need of which ingredients and how many it feeds. Once I have the spreadsheet for each of my recipes I then take all the ingredients, put it in a giant list and go shopping.
This is where technology is your friend! I go shopping from the comfort of my own home. I take that handy dandy shopping list and put it straight into peapod or another home grocery shopping site.
I use Sam’s Club and local grocery stores to do the actual shopping, but this gives me a pretty accurate breakdown of how much things are going to cost. Yes, Peapod is technically more expensive per unit, however I have found that in the end it comes out pretty even. Why is that? Well when I price my recipes out, I do it down to the ounce ( or cup, ext. ) You can go in and buy a cup of almond milk, so you do end up with a little waist. This also gives me a tiniest bit of a cushion in case I need to get additional items or something goes wrong.
Once I have the current price of the item, it goes back into a spreadsheet that breaks down exactly how much it costs per piece, per tb, per cup, per lbs, ext… Currently did you know that a clove ( not a head, but a clove) of garlic is about .10?
I do keep these so I can track the cost of items over time. Sometimes I will use a previous spreadsheet, but I always get new prices at least once per year.
I put them all together in yet another tab, so I can see how much the meals in total are costing.
Don’t forget the propane.
Propane contains roughly 20,000 btu’s per pound, that means a burner of 20,000 btu’s will last 1 hour on a 1lb bottle. If your burner is 12,000 btu’s you’ve got a little less than 2 hours of fuel in a 1lb bottle.
Because I run 2 ovens and a stove I go through anywhere between 3-6 lbs of propane per day. Each bottle runs aprox $2.50, so I need to make sure to add in $11.25 per day in fuel. If I am feeding 25 people, 2 meals a day that’s an additional .25 per person per meal.
But Gulf if so cold, do you really need ice?
Yes. It might be cold out, but you still need to get ice in the ice chests. I have 3 ice chests and each one gets a bag per day. At $7.50 per day that’s .15 per person per meal.
Don’t forget to clean up.
You also need to include sponges, soap, bleach, paper towels, garbage bags, foil, gallon bags ( trust me),ext. Using out handy dandy online shopping tool, that comes to $30 (.60 per person per day)
You guessed it, all this goes into one more spreadsheet
I now know how much each meal will cost as well as the average cost over the course of the week. This year, the meal plan will cost aprox $5.08 per person per breakfast and $12.63 per person per day for dinner.
Using this information I can judge how much to charge. I normally like to charge $10 per day, but I knew prices were going to need to go up this year. The Gulf Wars ticket meal plan in the lodge runs $13 per day, so I did not feel bad raising my prices to $12 per day. Of course if anyone asks why I raised prices, I now have all the spreadsheets to backup my pricing.