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How to Plan Catering for Certain Number of Guests

Catering for an event

When you’re organizing a party or a gathering, feeding your guests is your first concern. No one wants to be in a position where they run out of food. However, no one wants to overspend either. Getting the right amount of catering can be tricky, but with some careful planning, you can find the right balance.

There are certain key elements involved in organizing catering for your event. When you sit down to plan, it helps to have this information in hand. Consider the following points when planning catering for a certain number of guests.

Catering for Certain Number of Guests

When you send out invitations, you have an estimate about how many would come. When there are a large number of guests, you can afford to order food for fewer people. For example, if you know that around 40 people are going to attend, you can order for 34 people. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s never just numbers that decide how much food you will have to order for. There are various other factors that work in tandem with it; let’s take a look at what these are.

#1 Time and Duration of the Event

When the event is planned, its duration influences the quantity of food consumed.

  • An all day event that lasts for several hours would require more food. Guests would eat multiple times during such events.
  • A breakfast or brunch event actually requires a lot of food. People are breaking their night long fast after all. You need to make sure that the food is balanced. It should include baked goods like bread, fresh fruits, and healthy proteins.
  • Lunch needs the least amount of food. Very few people like to eat heavy lunches. Something light and refreshing would do.
  • Dinner is the most complicated event and your guests will want volume as well as variety. The highest amount of food is consumed during this event.
  • Conversely, a small cocktail party would simply require appetizers and drinks.

#2 Type of Guests

Different people have different appetites, some eat less and some eat more. You need to keep this in mind before you order.

  • Children generally eat smaller portions than adults. You can order less if the party you’re organizing would have a large number of children as guests.
  • Teenagers, on the other hand, have large appetites so they need to have enough food.
  • Adults have healthy appetites and a wide variety of tastes. Bear in mind that men eat more than women do. If your party will have mostly women as guests, you need to plan accordingly.
  • Senior citizens also have small appetites and would require healthier food in general.

#3 The Numbers

If you’re planning to serve a variety of dishes, you should keep the portions small. People would want to taste a little bit of everything. We’re listing servings per person so that you have an easier time just multiplying by the number of guests.

#4 Appetizers

  • 10 to 15 servings per person if you’re not serving dinner afterwards. If you’re serving in the buffet style, be sure to order more as people are likely to eat more.
  • 3 to 5 servings of light appetizers if you’re serving before dinner.
  • About 1 to 3 pieces if you’re serving it before a mid-day meal like lunch.

#5 Drinks

It’s very likely that coffee drinkers would consume one cup of coffee every 1.3 to 1.5 hours. If you’re holding a long event, make sure you have plenty of coffee on hand. As for other drinks, you need to plan for about 3 servings per person.

#6 Lunch

  • About 2 to 4 hors d’oeuvres per person.
  • The main entree should be about 140gms per person along with about 2 or 3 side dishes with a starch and also a desert.

#7 Dinner

  • About 3 to 5 hors d’oeuvres per person.
  • The main entree should be around 140 to 200gms per person along with sides.
  • Some bread, soup or salad.

#8 Desert

You need to plan for about 1 to 3 servings of desert. Some people would ask for seconds while others would forgo desert.


So if you’re having a dinner party for 50 guests, your catering order should look something like this.

  • About 150 hors d’oeuvres
  • About 7.5kgs of main entree with sides
  • You’ll need 150 servings of drinks
  • You might also end up needing 11ltrs of coffee

If you have the right infbrmation, planning catering for your party isn’t that difficult. Regardless of the number of people you are catering for – 10, 30, 50 or 100, with a proper plan in place, you won’t overspend or face any shortage in food supply.

Thanks for reading,
Ganache Patisserie
(02) 9967 2882