How to Calculate the Amount of Catered Food Per Guest


Party planning is tricky. On top of managing RSVPs, handling the décor, and planning the menu, you have to estimate just how much food should be ordered. Whether you’re planning a large corporate event or a wedding reception, you don’t want to over-order or under-order your appetizers, desserts, and main course. To help make your party planning easier, here are a few things to remember when trying to decide how much food is just right.

Keep the Time of the Party in Mind

The time of day and type of party you’re throwing is key in considering how much food each of your guests will eat. Typically, experts recommend planning on a pound and a half of food per guest. However, this will change depending on the type of event being planned. Breakfasts and dinners tend to require a bit more food, while lunches are lighter. Cocktail parties require much less food than other types of parties as they typically only serve light appetizers to their guests.

The Guest List

What type of event is this? If this is a corporate event, people will eat much less. Typically, party goers tend to eat more around those they are comfortable with. Weddings, backyard parties, celebrations, and close get-togethers should be equipped with more food. Business lunches, corporate events, and conferences may not need nearly the same amount simply because attendees are less likely to go back for seconds.


Kick off your party with a few different appetizer options. Count on each of your guests eating at least two of each of your appetizers. If you’re serving more than two or three options, you may be able to limit the amount to one per guest. In the event that you’re only serving two different appetizer options, count on your guests eating more than two.

There’s a lot to consider when estimating how much food will be needed for your next event. If you’re struggling to calculate the right amount, enlist the help of your caterer. They’ll know exactly what to do to help you prepare properly for your next party.

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