Catering 101: How Much Food is Enough for Your Event

Running out of food is definitely an embarrassing situation for any event host. Hence, it is important for hosts to know the expected number of guests beforehand. When invited people don’t respond to RSVPs, event hosts or organizers are usually forced to make estimation of how many guests could be coming without notice. This results to overpaying and throwing out of leftovers.  And the hosts are just left to remark “What a waste of food and money!”

If you’re a party host or organizer, check out these tips that can help you identify how much food is enough for your event. That is without starving or stuffing your guests. 😀

catering tips

Preparation is Key

The number of guests is not the only factor that you should care about when it comes to having your food catered for an event. You should also consider the event’s length, the event’s type and the kind of food to be served. A cocktail party, for example, will require less entrees and desserts compared to a lunch or dinner party. A variation of  food in ample amount is needed if your guests will be staying for hours in your party – like it involves a program. People eventually get hungry in an event which lasts more than a couple of hours.

Use a Guideline

The kind and time of the event you will be hosting primarily dictate whether there’s a need for you to serve appetizers, beverages breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or desserts. Use the following guideline to get things right.

– evening function with no dinner
– at least 10 – 15 pieces per person.
– if to be served buffet style, add more pieces
– pre-dinner appetizers must be 3 – 5 pieces per person
– pre-dinner appetizers should be lighter food options
– pre-lunch appetizers must be 1 – 3 pieces per person

– at least 3 beverages per person
– coffee drinkers consume at least 1 – 3 cups of coffee

– 2 beverages on average – either juice, coffee, tea, etc.
– main entrée (about 5 oz.) per person
– two side dishes, including bread
– 3 – 5 pieces of cut fruit per person
– 2 pieces of pastries only

– hors d’oeuvres 2 – 4 per person
– main entrée (about 5 oz.) with 2 – 3 sides, including a starch and a dessert
– pop, beer, lemon water, etc.
– sandwiches 1 -2 per person

– 3 – 5 hors d’oeuvres per person
– main entrée (5 – 7 oz.) and 2 – 3 sides, either veggies, beans, pasta, etc.
– small portions of bread, salad, or soup
– Always have water, along with other beverages.

– 1 – 3 servings per person
– one slice of cake, tart or pastry, or 4 oz. of a creamy dessert, i.e. mousse.
– for a large variety of cakes, serve smaller portions
– serve flowing coffee