How Much Food Is Enough?

Catering foodWhen planning a party, most of us have an easy time planning the venue and seating based on the amount of people who are attending. Decor and other finishing touches are simple; it is just a matter of deciding what theme you want. However, there is a science and some guessing work involved in another part of the planning process: ordering food.

While catering companies can handle the cooking and provide fresh, high-quality, great-tasting food, and while catering services take a load off of you so that you can actually enjoy a wedding, conference, or other important event, it is up to you to decide how much food to order.

Therein lies the tough part. How much food is enough? Serving tiny portions or leaving some guests un-fed can be a huge embarrassment. Ordering far too much food can be a waste of money and stick you with enough leftovers for a second party! Also, be aware that you have to let the caterers know how much food to make several days in advance–4 on average–so that they can purchase ingredients and prepare any food items that can be made in advance. While the caterer will help you decide based on the amount of people who have RSVP’d, you should have an idea of how to calculate food and drink orders based on the guest list. We have some tips for you to keep in mind:

  • Plan on each guest having about 1 drink per hour. Know who drinks alcohol and who does not or cannot. Order wine, beer, and liquor based on the amount of alcohol-drinkers: 1/3 of a wine bottle–an even mix of red and white–2 beers, and 1/6 of a bottle of liquor per alcohol-drinking adult.
  • Order 1/6 each of a soft drink bottle and water pitcher per person, no matter their age.
  • When your calculations have a fraction remainder–for example, 2 1/6 liquor bottles–always round up to another full bottle–in this case, 3 total.cat_01
  • Allow each person to have 2 or 3 pieces of all available hors d’oeuvres if a full meal follows. If not, allow everyone to have 5 or 6 pieces of each offering.
  • Plan for a single salad serving–about 4 ounces–and 2 bread rolls per person.
  • Allow each person about 4 ounces of each side dish and hot appetizer.
  • Every individual should have 8 ounces of soup.
  • Allow each person about 8 ounces of each entree.
  • Do not forget dessert! Everyone should have 4 ounces of dessert.

With the above measurements, you should be able to provide a satisfying and filling meal for all of your guests without excess leftovers. Even if all this math seems complicated to you, we want to remind you that hiring professional catering in Atlanta is always less stressful and more satisfying than trying to cook for a large event yourself.


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