Industry sector:

Outside caterer: Estimating income


When you estimate the income from your business, you may find it easiest to calculate it on a month by month basis rather than trying to predict it for the whole year. You should first decide the maximum number of bookings you feel your business can cater for. Once you have arrived at that figure, you should adjust it for:

  • seasonality. If you particularly target the weddings market, for example, you are likely to find that your busiest months are spring and summer
  • the period after setting up when your business is becoming known to customers and has not yet reached its full potential
  • the fact that you may not be fully booked all year round

This will give you your estimated number of bookings.

You will then have to estimate what the nature of the bookings will be, taking into account:

  • the number of guests at each booking
  • the average 'per head' spend on food and drink for each guest

You could use a similar method as shown in the example below (the figures used here are included for illustrative purposes only).

Week 1

Booking: Dinner party

  • Numbers - 15
  • Average food spend per head - £20
  • Average drink spend per head - £7
  • Amount spent on staff at £15 per hour - £45
  • Total spent - £450

Week 2

Booking: Wedding

  • Numbers - 100
  • Average food spend per head - £12
  • Average drink spend per head - £9
  • Amount spent on staff at £15 per hour - £135
  • Total spent - £2,235

Week 3

Booking: Corporate event

  • Numbers - 10
  • Average food spend per head - £15
  • Average drink spend per head - £6
  • Amount spent on staff at £15 per hour - £30
  • Total spent - £240

Booking: Dinner party

  • Numbers - 25
  • Average food spend per head - £20
  • Average drink spend per head - £10
  • Amount spent on staff at £15 per hour - £45
  • Total spent - £795

Week 4

Booking: Wedding

  • Numbers - 125
  • Average food spend per head - £15
  • Average drink spend per head - £10
  • Amount spent on staff at £15 per hour - £180
  • Total spent - £3,305

Booking: Anniversary party

  • Numbers - 40
  • Average food spend per head - £12
  • Average drink spend per head - £7
  • Amount spent on staff at £15 per hour - £30
  • Total spent - £790

Total Monthly Income - £7,815