Determining How Much Food to Order from a Caterer

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When hosting a catered food event, there are 4 factors that we recommend you consider when determining the amount of food to order.

  • The number of people—the more people, the more food you will need.
  • The length of the event—the longer the event lasts, the more food you will need, as guests tend to go back for seconds if they hang around longer.
  • The type of event—the timing of the event will impact food amounts as well. For example, a cocktail party will need considerably less food than a full dinner party.
  • The type of food you want—the more popular the food choices, the faster your guests will eat them and the more you will end up needing.

A few rules of thumb:

  • An evening party with no main course requires approximately 10 appetizer servings per person, but if you are planning on having dinner afterwards, you will only need around 4 servings per person.
  • A dinner party should include about 4 servings of hors d’oervres per person, a main entrée choice, and a couple of sides, plus salad and bread.
  • A dessert function should include 1 to 2 servings per person and plenty of coffee.
  • You should anticipate approximately 3 beverages per person.
  • It is always best to round up when estimating total food amounts so that you ensure you have enough.

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