That is one of the most often asked question in catering.
Well, how much do I need?
For starters, if you order from us you don't have to worry about that. But if you are planning on doing some cooking for your family or a party or maybe a combination of catering and cooking; that is an important question.
What I will do here is give you what we use as guidelines for a few situations. Remember there are many variables in this type of calculation and you have be aware of them all.
First Variations that you need to account for
Time of day
Type of Crowd
What Kind Of Party
General rules for a cocktail party when people are drinking and mingling and there is no meal being served is:
If Hors d' oeuvres are passed:
Make sure to have a few filling items like
mini muffalatas or
mini croissant sandwiches
If budget permits, you could have a carving station with rolls and condiments
If buffet style:
7 to 9 portions per person per hour for 2 hours
4 to 5 per person per hour after that.
People think you save money on the buffet because of less staff, but you need more food because people can grab at their leisure. With passed Hors d' oeuvres people eat less, because they feel like they have to leave something for the other people on the tray.
Passed Hors de ourvers with a meal to follow
General rules are:
Usually this is only for 1 hour
You should make some of these filling so people don't over serve themselves on the buffet. Again, if the appetizers/hor de ourvers are on a buffet you have to up that to:
Also by filling them up on the passed hors de ourvers before you open the buffet you will need little less on the buffet.
Hors d' oeuvres Calculator
Two tabs one for cocktail only party and one for a hour of cocktails then buffet.
General rules are, you want to set up your buffet to lead people through it quickly and to guide them to the filling less expensive items first.
For a full buffet you want to have things at the beginning of the line that are inexpensive yet filling. So, you want to start the buffet with salad, bite size sandwiches, deviled eggs, fruit, cheese and veggie displays. Then you go with a pasta because everyone loves pasta and it is filling. Next go to the sides like mash potatoes, corn grits or rice then the entree that goes with that side like smothered pork, or red beans.
There are some caveats to these rules and you have to adjust to the needs of your c