Thanks for the great responses! Wow $1250 for 40 people, that's about double what I figured you'd get, but hey, more power to you!!
I read a catering book that said that the most common mistake for new start ups is not charging enough. $1250 is definitely fair for all the effort and equipment (like that $5000 mixer) that are essential to running your business. I love the Domino's Pizza referral, too! When you go to a street fair or a farmer's market, John, do you serve 12" pies? And what do you charge per pie at these type of events?
Scott, you are correct about Stockton, it's a big ghetto. However, we live 30 miles away and there are many people and wineries within 50 miles that have plenty of big houses and money. I believe we have one guy in our county doing Mobile WFO. He was at our local airport appreciation day making 8" pies and sold out at 250. For some reason though, I think he only charged six bucks.
My spouse, who is a gourmet chef, and I are going to attend a three hour quickie seminar this Friday put on by Mugnaini. We own a couple of non-food Internet retail businesses with our three grown sons but we need to branch out and get into a business that has a few more barriers to entry. We have MBAs so we know the risks versus reward stuff. I like the numbers that some are reporting, as well as, the fact that I LOVE pizza. I think I would most enjoy the challenge of setting up a commissary and dialing-in the precision necessary for the recipe to succeed. Our ranch currently has an unused 1200 sq ft metal building which would make one hell of a kitchen. All it takes is money. However, we are still in the early information gathering stage and are having fun learning. We recently took a "field trip" to Pizzaiolo's in Oakland and watched them do their thing along with asking a lot of questions.
The biggest challenge I can see so far is getting all the permits and trying to get someone to tell us what will be required as far as facilities, equipment and inspections. I know for certain that a mobile sink and a screen enclosed work station at the events are mandatory here. I believe a professional kitchen outside the home is also the law. I'm not certain how the WFO could be affected by our frequent "No Burn Days" antipollution laws, either.
Thanks again for sharing.