The amount of food you will need per person may vary depending on the type of event and number of guests you have. Having too many leftovers is a waste of money and on the other hand, you do not want your guests to go home hungry. There are general principles you need to follow when making plans for your catered event. You need to look at the bigger picture in order to make adjustments to your plan. Here are seven tips on how to decide how much food you will need per person at your catered event.
- Have an Estimated Headcount
An event planner or caterer needs to have an estimated head count to get started on the amount of food in menu options. Instead of rounding down your estimates, always round them up to cater for the last minute attendees. As your catered event draws near, you need to give continuous updates of the number of people expected to attend. In doing so, it helps to avoid any wastages or shortages of food during the occasion.
- Set a Budget
It is important to highlight and clarify what needs to be included in your budget to avoid embarrassments during the event. You need to review the budget closely with the management before it can be presented to an event planner or caterer. For instance, you cannot include steak and lobster in your menu if your budget was meant for hot dogs and hamburgers. It is also important to account for table flowers, linens and other things that will make the event a success.
- Offer a Variety of Foods
Your calculation of individual portion size will be smaller if you offer more food choices to your guests. As long as you calculate the portions properly, you can prepare a wide range of different platters. Try to offer different food options or something that will appeal to everyone. A few suggestions include a fruit platter, meat and cheese platters, veggie platter, cheese and crackers platter, and Mediterranean platter. The main idea is that if you have fewer choices, then the overall consumption of food per person will be greater.
- Have Popular Food Selections
However much you provide a wide variety of food options for your guests, it is important to consider the food selections that will be most popular. This means that you need to prepare and serve them in large quantities than following the general portion guidelines. For instance, if shellfish appetizers are popular in your area, they need to be served as much as your budget allows since they will have a high demand.
- Wait Staff Service or Buffet?
You will have to make a decision on whether you want to have a full-service waiting staff or a buffet. This will depend on how busy your event schedule will be and your food budget. A full-service waiting staff may regulate the amount of food being served but will keep attendees waiting longer in their chairs. A buffet, on the other hand, works on the idea that people will be serving little amounts of different types of food prepared for the event. However, a buffet lunch is a great way to break up the day as it allows attendees to mingle as they serve their food.
- Stick to a Schedule
It is a good idea to plan your food service around the day’s schedule if your catered event is going to have many presentations or multiple speakers. Work with both the caterer and event planner to build in time for preparing meals and serving food. In doing so, it prevents you from going out of schedule when the attendees are allowed to serve food at any time. It also helps you fulfill everyone’s needs at the same time to avoid any food shortages or unfairness among attendees.
- Consider People with Dietary Restrictions
It is also essential to account for people who have allergies to certain foods, as it helps control the amount of food needed for the event. A guest may have their own preferences or allergies to certain foods. Inform your event planner or caterer to include a few gluten-free and vegan options. Not only will it help you determine the amount of food needed per person but also accounts for people with dietary restrictions.
When working on the amount of food needed for an event, it is also important to consider how you present food to your guests. Since you want to make everything look appealing and attractive, incorporate different color choices. This not only keeps your guests happy but also provides them with a nutritionally varied meal.