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How Much Food Do We Need for Event Catering?


If you are organizing any event or throwing a party, remember the essential part of any event is always food!

After sending invitation cards and selecting decor stuff, the most stressful part of planning is how much food will be enough for the event. Of course, no host wants to run out of food during any event. Also, no one of them would want to have so much leftover food by the end of the event.

If you are catering any event, here are three important key points to help you in your calculations to get an estimate of how much food is enough for your guests. 

  1. Number of guests attending your event
  2. Type of event, sit-down or buffet
  3. Time and duration of your event

Firstly, to know how many people are attending the event. Secondly, the type of event, sit-down meal system, or buffet system. Because in sit-down meals, each guest will have one portion of the meal, and you don’t need extra food. So, you can depend on the number of guests to calculate how much food you need to cater an event.

But the buffet system requires a little more food because guests serve food themselves. So, you can not depend on the number of guests attending your event. Thirdly, the length of the event so that you do not run out of food.

Besides, hiring an experienced company for event catering in Melbourne is always a better decision to reduce the stress of calculating the food quantity for guests. Their years of experience will help you plan and cater your next event so you can enjoy it with your guests.

Food Catering Tips to Get the Right Amount of Food

  1. Ensure the estimation of guests coming

The number of guests coming to the event is the main factor in calculating the right amount of food to serve your guests. Also, to ensure the guest’s arrival, you can send them RSVPs. Their reply will give you the number of guests coming and further helps you to calculate the food quantity for them.

Also, you can not depend only on their replies about their arrival confirmation. Always be ready for last-minute updations in your guest count arrival list, and also, give continuous updates to your caterer if you are hiring catering services for your event. It will help you to avoid any wastage of food or even shortage of food for the guests.

  1. Ensure the type of event, sit down, or buffet

In the buffet system, you need more food than in seat-down meal services. Because in sit-down options, guests are served at their tables with the food. Whereas in buffet options, guests go to the food stations and have their own choices of food and quantity. Also, the right amount of food depends on the kind of event, whether it’s a formal gathering or any informal gathering. For example, you can serve only appetizers and snacks at birthday parties, whereas wedding receptions require a dinner party with sit-down or buffet meal options.

Also, in formal gatherings guests, sitting at a table are likely to have one portion of each food on the menu. That results in calculating the food as per the number of guests. On the other hand, in informal gatherings, they can have as much as they want. And also have chances to revisit the food station. That’s why you can not rely on the count of guests because guests can serve themself as much as they want. So, order a little more than the count of guests.

  1. Ensure the timings and length of the event

The timings of the event are also important. If the event is during meal time, like breakfast, lunch, or dinner, guests expect a full-worthy meal. This mealtime event includes food options from a starter, and main course, to desserts with appetizers and drinks. On the other hand, during off-time events, such as in the middle of the afternoon or late at night, you likely require less food. For example, you need snacks and beverages to feed every guest at brunch events. On the other hand, you need one or two main and side dishes and two drinks for every guest.

Also, the length of the event plays a vital role in calculating the food requirement for guests. For example, if you are hosting a cocktail party, it will last for only 2 to 3 hours, and a dinner party will surely need not less than 3 hours of food served among guests.

  1. Estimation of food per person

Along with these three key points, Here are some more ideas to get an estimate to calculate the food per person.

  • Estimation of drinks per person

Generally, guests consume 3 drinks per person at any event. If you are catering a mocktail party, you need 3 non-alcoholic drinks per person. But in a cocktail event, you need 3 drinks per person with 1 non-alcoholic drink.

  • Estimation of appetizers per person

Generally, in formal gatherings, you need 3 to 4 appetizers per person in mealtime events with the main course. But, if you are not serving mains at your event, you need 10 to 15 appetizers per person. In casual gatherings, you need 4 to 6 appetizers per person in a buffet system. Also, if you are serving appetizers after a meal, go for 1 to 3 appetizers per person.

  • Estimation of the main course per person

Estimation of food quantity per person for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  • Breakfast

You can generally serve 1 main dish, 2 side dishes, and 2 beverages per person. Also, if you are serving pastries, then go for 2 pastries per person.

  • Lunch

You need 2 to 3 appetizers, 1 main dish, 2 to 3 side dishes along with dessert, and 2 beverages per person.

  • Dinner

Serve 3 to 5 appetizers per person, along with soup and salad. You need 1 main dish along with 2 to 3 side dishes and 2 beverages per person.

  • Estimation of desserts per person

Generally, you can serve 1 to 2 dessert pieces per person in mealtime events like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And if you are hosting a dessert party, 4 to 6 pieces of dessert per person during the whole event.

You can multiply the number of food items per person by the number of guests arriving at the event. It will further provide an estimate of the right amount of food required to host an event.

Final words

Food estimation for any event is the most stressful task because you don’t want to run out of food. Also, you would not want to have leftover food after the event. But, if you know the number of guests arriving, the type of event, and the length of an event, it’s easy to estimate the food quantity for the event.

Also, provide the guest with several varieties of food because your calculation per person will be lesser if you provide more food choices. At last, multiply the quantity of food per person by the number of guests and get the estimation of food for your next event.

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