For many people, one of the toughest challenges when planning a party is trying to decide how much food they will need to serve, discussing catering portions with your caterer is an important part of the planning. There is no fool-proof formula to solve this dilemma but, in the end, the answer to this question involves more art than science.As with all art it requires lots of practice and experience.

Budget is always important. You want to make sure that your catering portions do not appear to be stingy but at the same time you don’t want to over cater and see all that wasted food (money!).

1. What Type of Event Are You Hosting?
2. How Long Is the Event?
3. What Type of Cuisine Do You want to Serve?

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General Catering Portions Tips and Guidelines

Fortunately, there are a number of general principles you can follow when planning your menu and recipes. Begin by following these “rules of thumb” and write down your initial thoughts. Then look at the big picture several times over a period of a few days to make adjustments to your plan.

  • Always round up your estimates, don’t round them down.
  • Anticipate which food selections will be most popular and serve more of them than the general portion guidelines suggest. For example, shellfish appetizers are always popular, so serve as much as your budget allows.
  • The more choices you offer, the smaller your calculation of individual portion size should be.
  • That said, you can assume your guests will taste everything on a buffet, but the tastes will be small. However, overall consumption per individual will be greater than if there were fewer choices.
  • Add “bulk” items to your menu. For a sit-down dinner have plenty of bread to fill in any hungry spots. When hosting a cocktail party, nuts, olives, pretzels, etc. provide a little extra security that you’ll have enough for all but requires no extra work.

And here are a few more guidelines on a per person basis:-

  • Pulled pork or brisket: 4-5 ounces per person
  • Fried chicken: 3 pieces per person
  • Skewers and kebabs: 2 per person
  • Burritos: 1 per person
  • Tacos: 2 per person
  • Sushi: 8-10 pieces per person
  • Side dishes: 4 ounces per person

So as you can see there are no hard and fast rules and many variables. This is why you should choose a caterer who has been in the business for nearly 30 years and who can help you make sure that your event is a success. Holiday season is upon us don’t delay while we still have space on our calendar,

Looking forward to hearing from you.


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