What: ezCater connects caterers with individuals and companies hosting events, from in-house lunches and team-building meetings to weddings

Expected pay: set by you

Husl$core: $$$

Commissions & fees: 15% of sales, plus 2.75% credit card processing fee

Requirements: Be over the age of 18; and have a catering menu and the ability to take jobs on relatively short notice.

Review:

ezCater is an online marketplace aimed at businesses that need caterers. The site partners with more than 60,000 restaurants and caterers that use the site to market their services.

The terms of the deal are straightforward. You set up your catering page, showing what menus you offer, where (your geographic delivery area), the price, delivery fees and any other restrictions, such as whether or not you impose cancellation fees. ezCater pings you via email, text or fax when a customer wants to order from your menu.

However, the site expects a response within 15 minutes, or they’ll phone. If they can’t reach you after that 15 minute window, they may send the order to another caterer. They’ll send a reminder message the night before the delivery, again expecting that you’ll answer within 15 minutes.

If you accept a job, ezCater will collect payment and remit your portion by check or direct deposit twice monthly. Your payment will be the amount charged, minus ezCater’s 15% platform fee, plus a 2.75% credit card processing fee. In other words, you’ll get about 82% of the listed price.

The site’s suggestions for success: Set a delivery area within 10 to 15 miles of you.  Charge a reasonable delivery fee of $10 to $20. Allow relatively low minimum orders. (Eighty-seven percent of orders are for $150 or less.) And know that three-quarters of the site’s orders are made within 12 hours of the event. So you won’t have tons of lead time.

The marketing fee seems reasonable, as do the other terms. However, this appears to be a low-margin business. After all, you need to buy the food; make it and deliver it. That’s a lot of work and expense for a $150 catering job. If you’re already running a restaurant or very active catering business, this might be a good way to fill empty spots in your calendar. But, for home chefs, we think EatWith, CozyMeal and DishDivvy are likely to be better options.

 

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