Food budgets for private and charter yachts
Chef: Brennan Dates
Budget: $156,000 (20 per day per crew member)
We have a budget of just under 13,000 a month to spend on food for 20 to 25 crew members (about 20/day) that includes lunch and dinner seven days a week, with dessert and hot breakfasts offered every other day.
The budget is fair, considering how expensive all the goods are where we are tied up. We are able to get decent cuts of meats and seafood and stay within the budget.
Our management company provides a spreadsheet that we submit purchase orders through. The captain also has us fill out a daily budgeting spreadsheet for all galley expenses. This adds up all transactions and gives us an updated percentage of the surplus budget for the month.
Organising the food
We order fruit, vegetables, dairy and proteins about every ten days. There is very little carry-over product from one week to the next. This helps keep us on track for each month rather than doing huge orders that would need to be estimated and divided over a couple of months.
Find the right source
Location plays a huge role in what you can buy. We are wintering in Italy, and buy locally rather than paying shipping costs from the UK. The meat in Italy isnt great, so most of our meat is from France, a slightly better option.
We serve at least one meat and a seafood option for lunch and dinner. The seafood locally is expensive. The quality is amazing, but its hard to fork over money to support an industry with dwindling stocks. We need to stop buying local unsustainable seafood so it can recover.
Serving what people want
Leftover owner and charter stock can pad your budget with the finer things in life. I get the best quality ingredients I can find locally. Sometimes this isnt enough to impress our well-read and food-oriented clientele. This means you must have a varied, well stocked freezer to get through a season.
The crew can help out
When the summer winds down and you still have freezer stock left, the crew get the spoils during the crossing/yard period. Its absolutely transparent, with owners knowing the crew help them make room for a fresh freezer restock.
Charters are different, as you walk a line between having everything to please your guests, but not using all the advance provisioning allowance (APA) for truffles and caviar. I have worked for an owner who would take an inventory of our freezer at the end of each charter so he could save a few dollars on his next trip.